People's Domain

Horrific day in Syria as civilian areas hit by indiscriminate attacks – MSF

Indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas had predictably horrific consequences yesterday in Idlib governorate, Syria as reported by medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
who received 185 wounded and 18 dead-on-arrival patients at three separate hospitals near the frontlines. 

“The horrific indiscriminate campaign of bombing and shelling yesterday can only conceivably have
been conducted by the Government of Syria and its allies,” said MSF General Director, Meinie
Nicolai.

“We do not know how to make them stop indiscriminate attacks, and we do not know how
to make them abide by International Humanitarian Law – the ‘Rules Of War’. We have called many
times on the parties to the Syrian war, their allies, and the UN Security Council to do everything
possible to bring an end to these violations,: emphasized Nicolai.

We make that call again, with the highest degree of urgency. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected, and our call to respect the rules of war applies as much to opposition groups and the Turkish forces as to the Syrian government and its allies, including Russia, the main military ally of the Syrian government,” Nicolai appealed.

According to MSF, through the afternoon and evening of February 25, bombs and shells struck areas with dense populations of displaced people in and around Idlib City and Mareet Misirin town. At least two schools and two kindergartens hosting displaced families were hit.

Qadimoon camp (Northwest Syria) on February 17, 2020.

In an extraordinary evening and night of medical emergency, three MSF-supported hospitals in the
area were inundated with urgent influxes of patients. One of the surgeons in Idlib Surgical Hospital
told the MSF support team: “Some of the injuries were amputations, neurological injuries, and many
other injuries. It was a hysterical situation in the city. Along with the sound of bombings and the
sound of sirens, people had panic attacks. It was a difficult, bloody day.”

Two of the hospitals – Idlib Central and Mareet Misirin – have been able to provide initial breakdowns
of the patient registers, revealing 66 patients with severe or critical wounds requiring major surgical
operations. At least 14 of the severely wounded patients were children.

On February 17, 2020, a displaced Syrian man is talking with a doctor during a consultation at the MSF mobile clinic in Qadimoon camp (Northwest Syria).

Both Idlib Central and Mareet Misirin hospitals also experienced near-miss bombing or shelling, with
projectiles landing within 100 metres. Four medics working for Idlib Central Hospital sustained minor
wounds from the blast.

“How many mothers need to hold their baby in their arms while bombs are falling everywhere? How
many fathers need to reassure their children and make them laugh, while fire breaks out all around?”
said Cristian Reynders, MSF Project Coordinator for northwestern Syria. “There is one thing people in
Idlib keep hoping for – to preserve human life. And their hopes are lowering by the minute, by the
day.”

Indiscriminate bombing and shelling on civilian areas has become a hallmark of the Syrian war, and
the Syrian government must undertake to abide by International Humanitarian Law and respect the
rules of war.

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