Opinion: Armed parties in Syrian conflict must respect medical neutrality

In May 2019, Syrian and Russian planes bombed 23 medical facilities in Syria in targeted attacks, killing at least 270 civilians. In a letter to the editor published in The Guardian on June 2, Jennifer Leaning, professor of the practice of health and human rights at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and other physicians and humanitarians called for the United Nations to investigate these attacks and for international governments to put pressure on Russia and Syria to stop them.

At least 890 medical personnel have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

“All armed parties in the Syrian conflict must respect medical neutrality and allow doctors, nurses and paramedics to treat their patients without violence, threatened or actual,” the authors wrote. “Their job is to save lives—they must not lose their own in the process.”

Read the letter in The Guardian: Stop war on Syria’s hospitals

Learn more

Stories from Aleppo: Medical workers under siege (Harvard Chan School news)


Intensive Care (Harvard Public Health)