War hurts medical service

ATTACKS on hospitals since war broke out in Syria (敘利) five years ago have killed more than 700 doctors and medical workers, many of them in air strikes, United Nations (聯合) investigators said on 21 June.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (聯合國敘利亞調查委員) also condemned horrific violations by jihadists and voiced concern that militants affiliated to Al-Qaeda (亞爾蓋達組)- may have recruited hundreds of children into their ranks.

Commission chief Paulo Pinheiro (賓涅) told the UN Human Rights Council (聯合國人權理事) that widespread, targeted aerial attacks on hospitals and clinics across Syria “have resulted in scores of civilian deaths, including much-needed medical workers.”

“More than 700 doctors and medical personnel have been killed in attacks on hospitals since the beginning of the conflict,” he said.

Pinheiro, who was presenting the commission’s latest report to the council, said attacks on medical facilities and the deaths of so many medical professionals had made access to health care in the violence-wracked country extremely difficult - and in some areas completely impossible.

“As civilian casualties mount, the number of medical facilities and staff decreases, limiting even further access to medical care,” he said.

Pinheiro also denounced frequent attacks on other infrastructure essential to civilian life, such as markets, schools and bakeries.

“With each attack, terrorised survivors are left more vulnerable,” he said, adding that “schools, hospitals, mosques, water stations ... are all being turned into rubble.”

Since March 2011, Syria’s brutal conflict has left more than 280,000 people dead and forced half the population to flee their homes.

Pinheiro also condemned violations committed by the Islamic State (伊斯蘭)group. 

(This article is published on Sing Tao Daily on 29 June 2016)

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