Hospitals & Polyclinics
Healthcare facilities for civilians inside opposition-held Syria are under constant attack by the Assad regime and its allies. This is regardless of whether the hospital or clinic is sponsored by an internationally respected organization such as Médecins sans Frontières. The aim of the regime is to prevent medical treatment reaching those in who oppose the Syrian government and anyone living in an opposition-held or 'Free' area is considered to do just that. This policy and practice is well documented by the UN Human Rights Council and the Physicians for Human Rights (PRH) organization have produced an interactive map of attacks on medical facilities in Syria and the number of healthcare personnel killed.
In order to provide treatment in these areas, directors of medical services have sought to conceal their location – in basements, caves, purpose-built facilities underground and other unlikely sites inside Syria. Alternatively, civilians with complex medical needs who are able to reach the border-zone may receive treatment over the border in Turkey, Lebanon or Jordan. These services may be funded by the host country or donated from external sources when they are free at the point of delivery. I met with Dr M. Ammar Martini has dedicated his life to providing medical care to his fellow countrymen, women and children in open defiance of threats from both the Assad regime and ISIS. He describes in detail the history of events culminating in the service he champions – The Orient for Human Relief and the current challenges he encounters delivering medical care to civilians inside Syria.