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Who is protecting medical staff in Syria?

Report says government forces are behind most attacks on hospitals, doctors and nurses.

Last updated: 14 May 2014 22:24
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Shocking new information shows the extent of attacks on medical facilities in Syria, and government forces have been accused of carrying out most of them.

Physicians for Human Rights says more than 460 health professionals have been killed during the three-year conflict.

It says around 41 percent of the deaths occurred during shelling and bombings, 31 percent were the result of shootings, and 13 percent were due to torture.

The group says it’s creating a health crisis that will haunt Syria for years.


RELATED: Report: Healthcare under fire in Syria


Erin Gallagher, from Physicians for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera: “The medical personnel are certainly in incredibly difficult circumstances. I have spoken with doctors in different field hospitals. There may be only one doctor in an area that's treating hundreds of people. We know there are three doctors working in Homs. Before the war, there were 800.”

And a doctor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “From day one of the revolution, Syrian doctors were targeted by every means, being killed, being arrested, tortured. They were struggling every day to be committed to their patients.”

So why are medical staff at risk, under fire and perceived as the enemy? And what should be done to protect them?

Presenter: Mike Hanna

Guests:

Susannah Sirkin - director of International Policy and Partnerships, and a senior adviser for Physicians for Human Rights

Dr Zaher Sahloul - president of the Syrian American Medical Society

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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