WHO: More than 500 medical sites have been attacked in Syria since 2016

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The World Health Organization has said it has documented more than 500 military attacks on medical facilities in Syria since it began its census in 2016 and nearly the same number of deaths among staff and patients.

About two thirds of these sites are in northwestern Syria, where fighting has escalated in recent months as Damascus seeks to recover the last piece of its territory still outside its control.
A report published by the organization showed that the data documented 494 attacks on medical facilities between 2016 and 2019 in what the World Health Organization describes as the first time that it has issued comprehensive data on hitting medical sites.

Since the beginning of this year, the organization has confirmed nine attacks, all in northwestern Syria, and resulted in ten deaths, without specifying who was responsible.

She added that the total number of deaths among medical workers and patients has reached 480 from January 2016 to date.

“What is disturbing is that we have reached a stage where the attack on the health sector, which the international community must not tolerate, has become a matter of course and has become accustomed to,” said Richard Brennan, Director of Regional Emergency Operations for the Eastern Mediterranean at the World Health Organization.

He added that only half of the medical facilities are still operating in northwestern Syria, where recent violence has displaced about one million people.

Such data may help the United Nations Investigation Board, which began last year to investigate a series of facts in northwestern Syria, including attacks on medical facilities.

United Nations officials have previously condemned the “deliberate” attacks on civilian sites, including hospitals and schools, that are protected.

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