Skip to content
Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Give Now >

Syrian Hospitals become military targets during war

The #1 Catholic Online School
FREE Catholic Classes

By Courtney Grogan (CNA/EWTN)
4/15/2018 (7 months ago)
Catholic Online (

Pray for the civilians of Syria

Hospitals have become military targets in Syria, making it difficult to provide aid to victims of the country's civil war, according to leaders of NGO and human rights groups working in the region.

Hospitals have become military targets in Syria.

Hospitals have become military targets in Syria.


By Courtney Grogan (CNA/EWTN)
Catholic Online (
4/15/2018 (7 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Syria, Syrian Civil War, Hospitals, Syrian Hospitals

Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - More than 300 healthcare facilities in Syria have been attacked and at least 768 medical professionals killed in the conflict, according to Physicians for Human Rights.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and its ally Russia have been responsible for the vast majority of aerial attacks on Syria's medical infrastructure, while opposition forces and the Islamic State have also been linked to attacks on healthcare workers, according to a documentary produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The documentary, entitled "The New Barbarianism," depicts a "crisis facing the norms of international humanitarian law contained in the Geneva Conventions" in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

"Hospitals have become part of the battlefield. It has become, in the eyes of some combatants, a legitimate target," said Jason Cone of Doctors Without Borders in the documentary, "an incredibly important facet of where we define some sense of humanity amidst all this chaos is really getting eroded away."

On April 7, more than 70 people were killed in Syria in a chemical attack by the Assad regime just outside of Damascus, according to medics and rescue workers. "Attacking innocent civilians in Syria with chemical weapons is a gross violation of humanity and utterly immoral," responded Philippe Nassif, the executive director of In Defence of Christians in a press release on April 12. Following the chemical attack, Catholic Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Lebanon called on the international community to "work to end the war and to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace through political and diplomatic means."

"No one has behaved in the way that the Russians/Syrians have in intentional infliction of human rights violations, killing, manslaughter, gas, in the case of Bashar al Assad," said Senator John McCain in the CSIS documentary, calling the Assad regime's actions unprecedented in the post-Cold War era. The Geneva Conventions declared that medical establishments, including mobile medical units, may in no circumstance be attacked, but must be protected by all involved in armed conflict.

The United Nations Security Council passed a 2016 resolution condemning attacks on medical facilities and personnel in conflict zones, however, the attacks on hospitals in Syria have persisted.

"The NGO logo that used to be a protection has became a target. It attracts attacks," said Rabih Torbay, the president of Project Hope.

Doctors have started to operate underground in Syria and surgeons have made covert trips into the country to treat those in need of medical aid. "Doctors started to establish their hospitals in secret places, in chicken farms, in factories, deserted buildings,  in the basements of churches and mosques," remembered Dr. Zaher Salhoul in a documentary interview. Salhoul is founder and executive director of American Relief Coalition for Syria.

At an April 13 screening of the documentary at the Embassy of Sweden to the United States, retired General John Allen explained that the U.S. military seeks to act in accordance with international law in these types of conflicts.

"All of us in the U.S. military, and I can say by extension in NATO and NATO-led coalitions, go through extensive training with respect to the use of force and combat," said Allen.

The retired general explained the three decisions required in U.S. military use-of-force decision-making. First, a judgment must be made regarding whether it is necessary to employ force at that particular moment against that particular target. Second, it is required to prove a capacity to discriminate between combatants and noncombatants. And, finally, "when you decide that you must employ force, do it with a proportionality that applies the least amount of force necessary to accomplish the necessity for which you have chosen to apply force at that moment."

Since the onset of the Syrian conflict in 2011, 400,000 people have been killed and many more wounded. According to the UN more than 11 million Syrians have fled their homes.

Dioceses and Catholic aid agencies, have contributed over $100 million in humanitarian aid to Syria, according to the Secretary for the Holy See's Relations with States.

The Knights of Columbus sent $300,000 to the Syriac Catholic Patriarchate to support families from Syria and Iraq with food, clothing, shelter, and medical care as part of $1 million in aid given by the Knights of Columbus for persecuted Christians in the Middle East during Holy Week this year.


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'

Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2018
Priests and their Pastoral Ministry.
That priests, who experience fatigue and loneliness in their pastoral work, may find help and comfort in their intimacy with the Lord and in their friendship with their brother priests.


More Middle East

Venezuelan archbishop condemns sex abuse committed by religious priest Watch

Image of

Archbishop Jose Luis Azuaje Ayala of Maracaibo on Wednesday condemned the abuse of a female minor by Fr. Iván Marino Padial, for which ... continue reading

At least seven Christians killed in attack on bus in Egypt Watch

Image of

At least seven Coptic Christians were killed and 12 more injured in Egypt when a bus traveling to a desert monastery south of Cairo was ... continue reading

Without Yemen ceasefire mass starvation looms, critics say Watch

Image of

The possibility of mass starvation in Yemen continues as a military engagement over a major port city could block food and other aid for ... continue reading

Pakistani scrutiny for multiple NGOs could close Catholic Relief Services Watch

Image of

Catholic Relief Services is among the 18 international organizations ordered closed by Pakistan's new government without explanation. The ... continue reading

Preparations for independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church cause tensions Watch

Image of

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church seems on the verge of achieving independent status, a development straining ties between the Patriarchs of ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.