Syria: clinics requested by berlin hit in idlib

syria: clinics requested by berlin hit in idlib

During the government offensive on syria’s last major rebel stronghold of idlib, several clinics and aid workers requested by germany have also become targets of attacks.

A total of six supported health facilities have been hit since april, the foreign office and the development ministry (BMZ) said in response to a request from the german press agency. They were damaged or destroyed.

According to the foreign office, four ambulances and twelve centers of the rescue organization weibhelme, which is also demanded by germany, were bombed. It had been "targeted air raids". Several people were killed, including employees of partner organizations and other civilians. A school formerly supported by the BMZ was completely destroyed.

After more than eight years of civil war, the region around the city of idlib in northwestern syria is the last rough area under rebel control. Dominated by the al-qaeda-linked militia haiat tahrir al-sham (HTS). Russia, as an ally of the government, and turkey, as a supporter of the rebels, had declared idlib a so-called de-escalation zone. Syria’s government, however, began an offensive in april and has since been able to advance. This week they captured the strategically important city of chan shaichun.

The advance on the ground is accompanied by fierce air strikes by syrian and russian jets. Clinics are hit again and again. UN secretary general antonio guterres ordered an investigation into the destruction of hospitals and similar facilities in idlib in early august at the request of the security council.

Opponents of the government accuse syria and russia of targeting clinics and other vital infrastructure in order to force people to surrender. Concerns grew at the UN that its geographic coordinates were being used to target attacks – even though this information is actually shared by the UN with the warring parties to protect civilian infrastructure.

According to the aid organization malteser international, a hollow hospital supported by germany in the village of kafr nubl has been hit twice in the past months. This is the only surgical hospital within a radius of 50 kilometers. It had been in operation for up to two weeks at a time and was now still being used for emergency supplies.

The federal government is calling for emergency humanitarian aid in the idlib region, as well as further measures to ensure the health and survival of the people. The foreign office has allocated 36 million euros for interventions in northwestern syria so far this year. The development ministry had planned to allocate 17.4 million euros to the region this year, about one-third of which will be co-funded by other countries.

The need in the area is huge. According to UN figures, more than 570,000 people have been displaced by fighting and attacks since the offensive began in april alone. According to estimates, a total of around three million people live in the rebel area. Many displaced people are forced to live in tents in the fields and in crude buildings. Neighboring turkey has closed its borders to refugees.

The BMZ explained that due to the military escalation, support in combat zones has had to be suspended time and again. Germany, however, will continue to provide assistance as long as the security situation permits. The raids were only stopped in areas that the syrian regime had brought under control.


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