Syria has long been under stress and the conflicts there have raged on for many years. Syrian regime forces are battling rebel groups in an attempt to gain back control on the country and its citizens. While there has been good news this week, suggesting the end of the conflict may be near, it is soon set aside due to sudden, and rather shocking intelligence. It appears as if Syrian regime forces may be committing war crimes by bombarding hospitals with cluster bombs. Not only are cluster bombs a banned type of explosive, but under international law, deliberately attacking medical facilities of civilian areas is considered to be a war crime.
As regime forces ramp up their efforts in an attempt to gain control of the final rebel stronghold, they appear to be systematically attacking hospitals and other medical facilities in the city of Idlib. Hospitals are meant to be a place where people can feel safe and rest easy, however, in this part of Syria, hospitals are the most dangerous place to be. In every hospital in Idlib, there is fear and nervousness. Not just from patients, but doctors alike, who bravely continue to do their job even though they are risking their lives to do so.
There have been a number of confirmed attacks on hospitals and other medical facilities. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there have been 20 confirmed attacks on 18 different facilities in Idlib, which is equal to about one a day in the past three weeks, which is absolutely shocking! One attack every single day on a medical facility is just mind blowing. The worst part is, is that sometimes the facilities being attack are the only ones around for miles, which service thousands of people each day.
In the last year alone, there have been hundreds of bombings. One hospital in particular had been shelled 15 to 20 times with the most recent attack being just 14 days ago. A lot of the time, they are completely random and unexpected. However, occasionally, the doctors receive advance warning through their intelligence networks of an impending attack. Once they receive that warning, they have to act fast as the bombings usually happen within half an hour of the warning. They have to evacuate all the patients and take some emergency medical supplies that they can carry, and then still have to evacuate themselves to safety, all within such a small space of time.
To make matters worse, there have been silver fuses shaped like cones discovered from bomb sites, which resemble that of cluster bombs – lots and lots of bomblets spread over a larger area. Two independent British military experts have confirmed that they could indeed be used to drop cluster bombs on areas. Cluster bombs, which are banned by most countries, are also illegal under international law and are similarly viewed as a war crime by many nations. Alongside these illegal bombs, there have been claims that regime forces are also using barrel bombs – a barrel filled with explosive that is dropped from a moving aircraft.
Whatever way you look at it, things are extremely out of control in Syria. Cluster bombs, barrel bombs, bombing medical facilities, are all completely inhumane and should never be used by anyone, not even criminals. In fact, they never should have even been invented. Something needs to change in Syria because it’s becoming worse and worse. How many lives need to be lost before everyone wakes up and realises what’s happening.