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WHO condemns attacks on health facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic

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Cairo, 15 October 2012 - WHO strongly condemns attacks on health facilities in the Syrian Arab Republic and expresses deep concern about the serious implications of such attacks on medical personnel, patients and health infrastructure.

The recent escalation of the conflict has resulted in substantial damage to health facilities across the country, limiting access and the provision of essential health services.

WHO reinforces the obligation of all parties in a conflict under international humanitarian law to protect civilians, health facilities and health professionals during conflict. Health facilities must be treated as neutral premises and never be exploited for military purposes.

Almost 67% of public hospitals have been affected as a result of the conflict and 29% of those affected are out of service.

Damages to ambulances and their misuse are hindering the safe transportation of patients requiring urgent medical, surgical and obstetric care. Almost 271 out of 520 ambulances have been damaged or affected, of which 177 are out of service.

At a time when hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, it is vital that these facilities be protected and medical staff allowed to safely provide medical care to patients without any risk.

WHO calls for a halt to the violence to ensure safe access of patients to the health facilities, protection for all health personnel and for the supply of medicines, vaccines and medical equipment.

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