News / Middle East

Syrian Government Accused of Targeting Protesters in Hospitals

Henry Ridgwell

The Syrian government has turned hospitals into instruments of repression in its efforts to crush opposition, according to a new report by the London-based human rights group Amnesty International. Amnesty says wounded patients in at least four government-run hospitals have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including by medical workers.

This is one of the videos Amnesty International says backs its accusation that hospital patients are being targeted. Aired on Syrian state television and posted on YouTube in April, the video appears to show a medic hitting an injured protestor.

Videos like this are impossible to verify independently, because Syria won’t allow Western journalists into the country.

But Cilina Nasser of Amnesty says the evidence she has gathered is overwhelming. “Even before I came across this video, we received consistent testimonies from wounded persons who were subjected to physical abuse at the hands of health professionals. And also testimonies from health professionals who are outraged by the conduct of their colleagues," she said.

This video purports to show dead and injured protestors at a private clinic in the coastal city of Banias.  Amnesty says the day after it was posted on YouTube in May, government forces raided the hospital looking for an alleged armed field commander opposed to the government.

“We have documented two cases, one in Banias where they removed at least 11 wounded persons on 8th May.  And another one that was more recent on September 7th, in Homs, they raided al-Birr wa al-Khadamat Hospital and removed 18 wounded persons.  One of them was on a ventilator, they removed the ventilator and took him along with the others," she said.

The UN says more than 2,900 people have been killed in the crackdown on anti-government protests since they began in March.

Activists say 10 people were killed in a crackdown on protests following the capture of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya last week.

This footage, posted on a social media website, purports to show a man trying to retrieve a protestor’s body from a street in the city of Homs. What happens next is too graphic to broadcast. The rescuer is apparently shot by a sniper. Activists say both men died.

Cilina Nasser says doctors in hospitals face a tough choice. “They either treat the wounded but they have to report these wounded people to the authorities as instructed by the Ministry of Health and therefore putting the wounded patients at risk of arrest or torture, or they disobey the Ministry of Health and protect the wounded persons, not report them to the authorities, and therefore the health professionals themselves become a target of arrest and torture," she said.

Nasser says this YouTube video shows a family who tried to care for the father’s gunshot wounds at home. He died after two days. The family tried to preserve the body with ice to avoid having to take it to the morgue.

According to Amnesty, doctors outside Syria are posting videos on the internet to show Syrians too scared to go to the hospital, how to treat wounds at home.

Amnesty says it sent numerous letters to the Syrian government asking for a response to the allegations but so far has redeived no answer.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs