Doctors in Aleppo took to the streets today after calling for a general strike in all of Aleppo city’s hospitals to protest against the unlawful detention and killing of an employee of Al Dakak hospital yesterday. The employee was taken by an armed group in front of IDA’s Children’s Hospital and later died from his wounds.
Demonstrating today in front of IDA’s blood bank in Al-Sha’ar neighborhood, doctors and residents held up signs declaring ‘’Medical staff are humanitarian workers’’, ‘’I am a child, it is my right to have a safe hospital’’ with many containing the hashtag ‘’I am a fighter not a killer’’ referring to an Aleppo-wide campaign encouraging respect for international humanitarian law.
In written statements released today, the doctors have demanded swift accountability for the perpetrators, the carrying-out of a just court process, the safeguarding of hospitals and a ban on unauthorized weapons in their facilities.
The following IDA-run facilities in Aleppo city are taking part in the strike, and will only be providing emergency services: the Children’s Hospital; Al Zahraa Gynecology Hospital; the Blood Bank; Al Ikhlas, Saad Bin Mouaz and Assadiyeh Primary Health Care centers.
‘’We will continue striking until the perpetrator faces accountability’’, says Dr. Hatem, the Director of the Children’s Hospital. ‘’We are demanding the protection of our medical staff and facilities.’’
Independent Doctors Association’s Director Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa presents a letter of gratitude to the Turkish Red Crescent team leader Kadir Kemaloğlu in Kilis in recognition of their long-lasting efforts in facilitating IDA’s cross-border work. The collaborative ties between the two organisations were particularly valuable and rewarding over the past two months in ensuring humanitarian assistance reached Northern Aleppo after the latest large wave of displacement.
President of the Russian Federation 4 Staraya Square
24 February 2016
This letter is written on behalf of more than 200 Syrian civil society organisations and relief groups, who together provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and services to millions of Syrians. Our organizations have watched your forces brutalize our nation and terrorize our people. Today, and every day, we demand that you remove your murderous foreign forces from Syria – our country.
For four long months, your country has bombed ours. Following your orders, your air forces have killed more than 1,500 of our civilians. They have deliberately destroyed our schools and hospitals. They have committed war crimes and violated the very same Security Council resolutions that your country adopted. Our people will never accept your intervention. Russian forces must leave Syria.
Through your actions and your alliances, you have made your country complicit in Assad’s war on civilians. You have repeatedly violated the most fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, including Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Security Council resolutions 2258 (2015), 2254 (2015), 2209 (2014), 2165 (2014) and 2139 (2014). Across Syria, Russian forces have deliberately targeted and attacked hospitals, medical units and healthcare personnel, despite their explicit protection under international humanitarian law. In Aleppo, your forces bombed a water treatment facility, and your cluster bombs have targeted our schools.
Mr. President, you have said you are in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian regime and with the goal of defeating terrorism. But your invitation to Syria came from a brutal war criminal who barrel bombs children, gasses civilians, and drives millions into refuge. Since your forces arrived in Syria, they have killed anyone and anything but ISIS. Independent monitors report 97 percent of your victims are civilians—not terrorists. In fact, ISIS has only grown stronger since your forces came to Syria.
If you were serious about defeating ISIS, you would order your forces to stop killing the moderate Syrians who are best placed to defeat terror. You would disavow your alliance with a war criminal. And you would withdraw from Syria, because you are not and will never be welcome.
We are urging Member States to take action to deter your bombing and to protect Syrian civilians. We are also urging the establishment of accountability mechanisms for all war crimes perpetrated in Syria, including by foreign forces. Those mechanisms should, among others, target those responsible for command and control at the highest levels of decision-making.
To achieve this, we have sent a copy of this letter to the President of the Security Council to be circulated as an official document.
Union of Syrian Civil Society Organisations – representing 92 Syrian civil society organisations in Daraa, Al-Quneitera, Al-Sweida and the Damascus countryside
Syrian General Union of Relief Organisations – representing 120 Syrian charities and relief organisations
Independent Doctors Association – a non-governmental organization of Syrian doctors who provide emergency health assistance for the most vulnerable population in Aleppo governorate
Syrian Women’s Network
Syrian Nonviolence Movement
Rethink Rebuild Society
Palestinian League for Human Rights – Syria
Rami Jarrah, ANA Press
Aref Alkrez, Supporting Abilities and Motivate Awareness (SAMA) Mazen Ejbaei, Help4Syria
Amjad Selo, Syrian Society in Nottinghamshire
Mohammad Alhadj Ali, Syrian Welsh Society
Reem Assil, Syrian Platform for Peace
Dr. Sharif Kaf Al-Ghazal, Syrian Association of Yorkshire
Dr. Fadel Moghrabi, Peace and Justice for Syria
Amer Masri, Scotland4Syria
Clara Connolly, Syria Solidarity UK
Dr. Mohammad Tammo, Kurds House
Free Syrian Lawyers Association
Read the statement on Save Our Syria.
Attacks on Azaz and a neighboring town in northern Aleppo, Syria, hit two hospitals and a school used by displaced Syrians, killing at least 20 civilians. Witness statements and evidence of the aftermath indicates that the attacks on February 15, which also wounded 38, were part of the joint Russian-Syrian offensive in the area.
According to the United Nations, between February 1 and 16, at least 70,000 civilians fled the offensive to cut access between Aleppo city and the Turkish border. The area around Azaz has become the center of a multisided battle between various local, regional, and international a
A representative of the Independent Doctors Association, which runs a field hospital on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkey border, told Human Rights Watch the hospital received 49 injured people on February 15, after attacks on Azaz, Kaljabrin, and Tel Refaat, another town nearby.
Full Human Rights Watch report here: https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/02/18/syria-great-danger-civilians-azaz
Drone footage shows the Bab al-Salama refugee camp on the Syrian border with Turkey. Turkish humanitarian groups IHH and the Independent Doctors Association established the camp over a matter of days to accommodate thousands of Syrian refugees. Turkey’s crossing remains closed, despite pressure from the UN to re-open its border to the increasing number of displaced people.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
A week into the Russian airstrike offensive on Northern Aleppo, border hospitals like the Bab al Salama Hospital run by Independent Doctors Association are completely overwhelmed. Director Dr. Mahmoud Mustafa talked to Reuters about the new medical emergency unfolding in Aleppo:
“We are seeing new types of injuries due to Russian air strikes,” said Mahmoud Mustafa, director of the Independent Doctors Association, a Turkish-based Syrian group that runs a field hospital in Bab al-Salama on the Syrian side of the main border crossing north of the Aleppo, near the town of Azaz.”We are increasingly seeing what we call multiple-trauma injuries because of the bombs and the heavy weapons they are using. There are large burn cases, lots of amputations, and internal traumas,” he told Reuters in Gaziantep, Turkey.