Six people killed in Al-Atareb hospital attack, Northwest Syria

 Medical professionals working Medical professionals working Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

22 March 2021

The Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital was destroyed during a rocket attack in which six people were killed and 16 others were wounded.

At 8:20 AM local time on Sunday 21 March, six artillery strikes targeted the Al-Atareb Surgical Hospital in western Aleppo, a major hospital in northwest Syria. The death toll has risen to six people among patients, including a child, and an additional 16 people were injured, including five medical staff. Four of the injured are in critical conditions.

The hospital, run by the Syrian American Medical Society, sustained extensive damage and was forced to close leaving many people without medical assistance since it was used to serve 100,000 people in the area. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), it is not certain who is responsible for the attack, it could be the Syrian government forces or “Al-Fath Al-Mubin” factions that were stationed in the 46th Regiment in west Aleppo countryside and which fired over six rockets on the hospital which is located in a bunker in Al-Atareb in the same countryside.

Besides, the attack came despite a Russian-Turkish ceasefire in force since March 2020 and, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), it is the fifth attack on health care that has been recorded so far this year, bringing the total number of attacks on health care since January 2019 to 118. Furthermore, these attacks are war crimes since health facilities are civilian objects and are protected under international law because only those objects that qualify as military objectives may be attacked. Nevertheless, this is not the case in Syria because, since the start of the conflict ten years ago, Physicians for Human Rights have documented 598 attacks on health facilities as well as the killing of 930 medical personnel. As a result, the United Nation Security Council should better enforce its resolutions and the actors who commit these attacks should be held accountable. 


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Author: Eleonora Gonnelli; Editor: Benedetta Spizzichino

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