Staff treat aa patient in Idlib Province in northwest Syria (Yusuf Sayman/The Times)
Physicians for Human Rights documents the mass detention of Syria’s health care workers by the Assad regime in 2011-2012.
PHR analyzes 1,685 detentions of 1,644 personnel. They include members of a medical team, several of whom died in prison, that operated in Aleppo in 2012.
The report assesses that doctors and nurses were targeted for their expertise: “health care workers detained for providing medical care experienced worse outcomes than health care workers detained for their political activities”.
The cases examined include 614 doctors, 113 nurses, 85 dentists, 111 pharmacists, and 397 medical students.
The chances of release for a medic detained for their expertise were 91% lower. Those of being forcibly disappeared were 550% higher, and the chance of dying in detention 400% higher, compared to personnel detained for political reasons.
However, overall, non-physicians suffered more than physicians in detention. A physician was 143% more likely to be released, 52% less likely to be forcibly disappeared and 48% less likely to die in detention.
The UN estimates that Assad regime has arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared at least 100,000 people, including thousands of health care workers.
Russia and the Assad regime have systemically destroyed health care facilities in opposition areas, bombing almost all hospitals and clinics in Idlib and Aleppo Provinces.