Medical care in Syria used as 'tactic of war' says UN Commission of Inquiry

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Paulo Pinheiro

Hospitals and medical clinics in Syria are being targeted and destroyed, and medical staff are being captured, as health care in the country is used as a 'tactic of war', says the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria. Giving an update on the situation in the country to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Paulo Pinheiro, Chair of the Commission, said that injured civilians are often left to languish in desperate need of treatment while medical staff in government hospitals fear they'll be abducted by armed groups who see them as loyal to the state.

Mr Pinheiro said that both sides in the conflict continue to show a reckless disregard for human life and that, over the past two months, as the fighting has intensified, it's become increasingly more difficult for civilians to live unaffected by violence and destruction.

"Government forces have targeted civilians and have conducted indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Although we have some evidence that the situation amongst anti-Government armed groups is improving, they also do not take the necessary precautions, particularly when detonating bombs where high numbers of civilian casualties are likely to result."

Last month the Commission of Inquiry released a report showing that massacres have been committed by both government and anti-government forces across the country. The report said that murder, torture, rape, enforced disappearance and other inhumane acts have been committed by government forces and affiliated militia, and that anti-government armed groups have committed murder, torture, arbitrary arrest and taken hostages.

Syrian Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, said that the report, more than any other in the past, is based on wrongful information, from untrustworthy sources.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva.

Duration: 1’46″

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