The Weaponization of Healthcare: From the Lancet/AUB Commission on Syria

Courtesy of the Lancet/AUB Commission on Syria,

On March 14, the Lancet-American University of Beirut (AUB) Commission on Syria, which FXB director Dr. Jennifer Leaning co-chairs, published its first health policy paper, “Health workers and the weaponisation of health care in Syria: a preliminary inquiry” by Fouad M. Fouad, Annie Sparrow, Ahmad Tarakji, Mohamad Alameddine, Fadi El-Jardali, Adam P. Coutts, Nour El Arnaout, Lama Bou Karroum, Mohammed Jawad, Sophie Roborgh, Aula Abbara, Fadi Alhalabi, Ibrahim AlMasri, and Samer Jabbour. The opening sentences follow:

The conflict in Syria presents new and unprecedented challenges that undermine the principles and practice of medical neutrality in armed conflict. With direct and repeated targeting of health workers, health facilities, and ambulances, Syria has become the most dangerous place on earth for health-care providers. The weaponisation of health care—a strategy of using people’s need for health care as a weapon against them by violently depriving them of it—has translated into hundreds of health workers killed, hundreds more incarcerated or tortured, and hundreds of health facilities deliberately and systematically attacked.

Read more.

Go to the Commission’s web page.

Read about a recent FXB/SAMS panel: Stories from Aleppo: Medical Workers under Siege.

Read the FXB statement on the founding of the Commission.


For some of the press coverage which discusses this report, see

Guardian, March 14: “Syria ‘the most dangerous place on earth for healthcare providers’ – study”

New York Times, March 14: “Syrian Military, Not Rebels, Severed Damascus Water Supply, U.N. Finds”

Reuters, March 14: “Study shows healthcare in Syria now a target of war”

Agence France Press, in the South China Morning News, March 15: “Over 800 health workers killed in Syrian ‘war crimes’”