The Idleb Health Directorate warned of a “terrible” health disaster and an increase in morbidity and mortality rates in northwestern Syria if the decision to not introduce humanitarian aid through the Bab al-Hawa crossing is not extended.
Idleb Health Authority said in a statement on Tuesday that the elimination of the mandate mechanism will lead to the suspension of work in 56 health facilities, including 21 hospitals (half of them being women’s and children’s hospitals), 21 primary care centers and 14 specialized centers, as well as the suspension of referral and ambulance systems.
“Medical personnel and residents in northwestern Syria are deeply concerned about serious Russian threats to prevent the extension of the decision to introduce humanitarian aid across the border. Failure to extend that decision will have disastrous effects on people living in the region at various levels of health, living and humanity,” the statement said.
The statement said that medical service has been suspended in around 14 specialized centers, including 5 thalassemia treatment centers, 8 dialysis centers and one tuberculosis treatment center. The centers are serving more than 1,550 patients, including 840 thalassemia patients, 510 dialysis patients, and more than 200 tuberculosis patients.
The Directorate also pointed to the discontinuation of the routine vaccination program, which serves more than 91,000 children annually, through 55 vaccine centers. They provide the necessary vaccines to protect them from serious diseases such as polio, hepatitis, tuberculosis and measles, which have recently begun to spread significantly in northern Syria.
In addition to routine vaccines, “COVID-19 vaccination will stop. This will threaten a resurgence of the epidemic in the region and its spread to neighbouring countries,” the statement said.
“Restricting the entry of aid into northwestern Syria is another threat by the regime that would deprive the region of all life-saving aid. This regime, which has killed and displaced millions of civilians, destroyed cities and towns and struck civilian areas with various types of internationally prohibited weapons, will deprive the population of food and medicine. It will use that aid as a weapon to besiege and starve civilians, as it did in eastern Ghouta, Madaya, and the neighbourhoods of eastern Aleppo and Homs city,” the directorate said in a statement.
“The permanent members of the Security Council and all international organizations that are active must work seriously to prevent Russia from vetoing the decision to extend the introduction of cross-border aid, which will be voted on in the Security Council on July 10th,” it said.
The statement also called for keeping the humanitarian issue away from political bargaining and not allowing any party to use life-saving humanitarian aid as a tool for political blackmail.
“The great human suffering of more than 4 million civilians in north-western Syria requires not only an extension of the decision to introduce cross-border aid but also an increase in the number of crossings and an expansion of humanitarian programmes, in the absence of the real international will to end the tragedy of the century that the Syrian people have been living for more than 11 years,” the directorate said in a statement.
The directorate counted the number of free medical services provided by hospitals and health centers in the Idleb governorate. They amounted to more than 1.2 million services per month, ranging from 6,000 major surgeries to 6,000 natural and C-section births, 556,000 outpatient services, 630,000 medical interventions and more than 19,500 hospital admissions.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.