I am Dr. Saher Arour, vascular surgeon in Germany.
Today I stand alongside my Syrian colleagues who face attacks and death every day. The war in Syria is one of the biggest humanitarian disasters since the Second World War. The medical situation is deteriorating and has reached a point where 70 percent of the health infrastructure has been destroyed to day.
I myself have gone to Syria. I myself have done my utmost to help the people on the ground. I myself opposed all the dangers to my personal safety. My Syrian colleagues face these dangers and threats on a daily basis and yet they do not stop working to save lives.
On behalf of all those who, despite all the dangers on the ground, despite the threats to their own lives and despite the targeted attacks on medical facilities, are still there to continue their work; on behalf of all those who daily risk their lives for the people on the ground; on behalf of all those who do not give up to give back their future to the people of Syria, I call on you to stand up for respect for international law. Protect us in our work, stop the attacks on medical facilities and help us to protect and save the civilian population on the ground.
“The killing of medical professionals for the sole reason of saving human lives is a contempt for humanity itself.”
It is our duty to stand up against the unacceptable events in Syria: Against the killing of doctors, nurses, midwives and other health workers whose only crime is to save lives in the midst of seven years of conflict. Attacks on hospitals and medical personnel are war crimes. Last year, according to the Syrian Hospital Monitoring Report, all 107 hospitals in Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Hama, Deraa, Quneitra and Homs were attacked at least once by direct or indirect air strikes. Some hospitals were targeted 25 times by such attacks. On average, there were three air attacks per hospital.
In the last 7 days alone, six more hospitals, medical and civilian centres and a rehabilitation centre for paraplegics, mainly in northern Syria, have been bombed. These attacks must be stopped immediately. They are a violation of international law and a slander of human dignity and humanity itself.
I would like to tell you about Dr Ali Darwhish who died on 26 March 2017 while operating at the hospital in Latamneh, Northern Syria. “The hospital was the target of a chlorine attack; Dr Darwhish refused to leave the hospital and abandon his patient; he himself was poisoned and died in the attack. The doctor leaves thousands of people without access to medical care in the midst of a war that has made it essential to help the victims of the war. Entire families were forced to flee”.
International law, which defines actions and limits in wars, prohibits attacks on medical facilities and medical personnel. In the name of international law and as a doctor of medicine, I therefore emphatically move:
1. the effective implementation of Resolution 2286 (2016), which strongly condemns attacks against hospitals and medical personnel and urges governments to hold those responsible for such attacks to account.
2. the immediate opening of a safe humanitarian corridor for international aid convoys, so that medical supplies can be delivered to hospitals and local medical personnel to better treat local populations.
Resolution 2286 (2016): http://www.un.org/de/documents/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2286(2016)&TYPE=&referer=/fr/&Lang=E