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U.N.: Syria targeting hospitals, doctors

Feb. 26, 2013 at 2:36 PM   |   Comments

DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Syrian hospitals and health workers have been targeted in clashes between the government and opposition forces, humanitarian officials and medical workers say.

A special U.N. commission reported last week government hospitals have turned away even wounded children if they are thought to be opposition supporters, McClatchy Newspapers reported Monday.

Even field hospitals are targeted, a violation of international law, the commission said.

The commission found multiple incidents where the Syrian government attacked medical facilities and healthcare workers, with snipers targeting staff members or ambulances.

A barrel bomb attack on an Aleppo hospital killed civilians and greatly reduced the facility's ability to treat patients, the commission said. Some 300,000 people in the city's Ashrafiya district have been left without medical care after all five private hospitals in the district stopped functioning.

Medical workers caring for rebel soldiers or civilians also have been targeted. Government forces have killed some 143 medical workers, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said. The group has also documented the arrests of 3,000 medical staff and volunteers since the beginning of the uprising.

No instances of rebels targeting hospitals were found, the commission said, but opposition forces had taken medical supplies and equipment from government hospitals.

The Syrian government says half the 510 hospitals in the country can no longer function.

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