Fighting in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo provinces has caused serious disruption to the provision of medical services, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as nearly a million people flee towards the Turkish border.
In a press release on Friday (February 28), the WHO said that 84 health facilities have had to suspend operations since December of last year, with only 31 able to relocate and return to providing services to displaced populations. Supplies coming through the vital Bab al Hawa and Bab al Sama border crossings are reaching only half of the functioning health facilities in northwestern Syria.
Eleven health centres have been directly attacked, which resulted in a total of ten deaths and 37 injuries.
As a result of the disruption, the WHO said that “133,000 medical outpatient consultations will not take place, nearly 11,000 trauma patients are not catered to, and 1,500 major surgeries will not be performed as they normally would in a cycle of four weeks.”
“This is the bleakest situation we’ve been in since the war started. People don’t have an idea where to go, they only know they need to get away from the bombing,” the WHO press release quoted a surgeon in northwestern Aleppo governorate as saying.
The WHO did report, however, that 55 tons of medicine and medical supplies were brought into the area over the last two days.
Supported by Russia, the Syrian regime is currently on an offensive in an attempt to recapture the last major pocket of rebel-controlled territory in the west of the country from Turkish-backed opposition groups and jihadist militants.
On Wednesday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the fighting has displaced 948,000 people since December 1, including nearly 180,000 families, more than 195,000 women, and 560,000 children.