ICRC delivers medical supplies to Syria’s Qamishli, Hasakah amid escalating conflict

A Kurdish family displaced from Hasakah after ISIS launched a major offensive against the northeastern Syrian province. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

Damascus – Amid growing health-care needs in northeastern Syria as a result of the raging conflict, the ICRC delivered medical supplies to the cities of Qamishli, Hasakah and Ras al-Ain.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in cooperation with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), provided aid to the cities that suffered shortage of basic supplies for years.

Syria’s northeast, where kurds constitute majority, has recently seen a series of terrorist attacks by the radical group of Islamic State (IS/ISIS). Kurdish forces responded to ISIS with counter-attacks and regained areas in Qamishli and Hasakah after battles that have claimed lives of hundreds.

The violence has caused waves of mass displacement among civilians, amid deteriorating living conditions and lack of security.  

“Hasakah recently saw heavy fighting lasting several weeks, in which many people were hurt and required urgent medical care. Multiple frontlines make road access to Hasakah difficult for regular deliveries of supplies. The materials we provided have helped replenish the hospital’s stocks,” said Béatrice Oechsli, the deputy head of the ICRC in Syria, who led the operation.

The ICRC team has visited hospitals in Qamishli, Hasakah and Ras al-Ain, and talked to medical professionals and patients to ascertain for themselves the growing health-care needs. 

“Six tonnes of medical supplies were delivered altogether – enough to treat 300 seriously injured patients,” the organization said in a satement on Thursday. “Each one-tonne medical kit contains items such as dressings, plaster casts, suture materials, IV fluids and drugs. The kits were airlifted from Damascus to Qamishli, where one kit was taken to Qamishli hospital, another two kits to Ras al-Ain hospital and a further three kits to the national hospital in Hasakah.” 

The ongoing conflict has severely affected the Syrian health-care system over the past four years, as dozens of health-care facilities have been destroyed and the crisis of medicine shortage escalated.

“Civilians living in besieged areas or areas heavily affected by fighting have little health care available to them. Access to health care is an inalienable right,” said Ms Oechsli. “All parties involved in the fighting have a duty to safeguard health-care facilities and allow medical professionals to carry out their duties in an impartial manner. We appeal to all parties to ensure that the wounded and sick have access to life-saving care.”

Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi 


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