Attacks on hospitals since Syria’s war broke out five years ago have left more than 700 doctors and medical workers dead, many of them in air strikes, UN investigators said on Tuesday.
The airstrikes on medical facilities across the Arab country ‘’have resulted in scores of civilian deaths, including much-needed medical workers’’ Pinheiro told Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, adding “More than 700 doctors and medical personnel have been killed in attacks on hospitals since the beginning of the conflict.”
“As civilian casualties mount, the number of medical facilities and staff decreases, limiting even further access to medical care,” he said.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also condemned horrific violations by jihadists and voiced concern that al-Qaeda-affiliated militants may have recruited hundreds of children into their ranks.
Pinheiro also denounced frequent attacks on other infrastructure essential to civilian life, such as markets, schools and bakeries.
“With each attack, terrorised survivors are left more vulnerable,” he said, adding that “schools, hospitals, mosques, water stations … are all being turned into rubble.”
Since March 2011, Syria’s brutal conflict has left more than 280,000 people dead and forced half the population to flee their homes.
Elsewhere in his comments, Pinheiro said the UN commission was investigating allegations al-Nusra Front terrorist group “and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have recruited hundreds of children under 15” in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
He also denounced rights violations by the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in the violence-wracked country.
In a report published last week, the commission urged action against crimes committed by Daesh against the Izadi minority in Iraq and Syria, stressing that the Takfiri militants are still committing genocide against the Kurdish-speaking community.
“As we speak, Yazidi women and girls are still sexually enslaved, subjected to brutal rapes and beatings. They are bought and sold in markets, passed from fighter to fighter like chattel, their dignity being ripped from them with each passing day,” Pinheiro said Tuesday.
“Boys are taken from their mother’s care and forced into ISIS training camps once they reach the age of seven,” he said, using another acronym for IS as he called on the international community to act “to stop the genocide.”
Daesh was holding Izadis in conditions “that bring about a slow death,” selling women at slave markets, raping girls as young as nine, and drafting boys to fight for the terrorist group, according to the report.