Friday U.N. investigators reported that government forces were targeting and attacking hospitals. Some of these targets are being used as centers for torture and detainment of anyone who is seen as being in league with the opposition. Several hospitals have been shelled by artillery or bombed by jets, often after being scouted by helicopters. These attacks are targeting medical personnel and civilians. “In exploiting medical care to further strategic and military aims, government forces have engaged in agonizing cruelty against the sick and wounded,” the report said as it also listed a number of government agencies that have used hopsitals as torture centers. In Damascus Military Hospital no. 601 is one of these, where civilians including children have been beaten and burned. Many of the patients have been tortured to death.
The rebels themselves have not escaped unsullied by such grim acts either, as several attacks on hospitals can be attributed to them as well. Both sides are strategically targeting medical workers. Syria passed several laws in 2011 effectively making it a crime to offer medical aid to anyone seen as a rebel sympathizer or with affiliations to the opposition.
These targeted military strikes against civilian hospitals is an act of terrible war and crimes against humanity that both sides are guilty of. The deprivation of medical care and the mistreatment, and the torture of, medical workers is a strategic and coordinated plan on the part of both the Syrian Government and the rebels. These attacks are specifically created with the goal to murder, torture, or remove medical personnel that could be seen as a potential asset to the opposing forces. By reducing the hospital's capacity to treat the injured and the sick, by bombing or shelling, they hope to reduce the likelihood that enemy combatants are using these civilian centers for treatment. However, with these acts of inhumanity and aggression coming from both sides the civilians and the workers are left with nowhere to run and no one to run to. The civil war has escalated to such heights that every facet of life in the country is now punctuated by violence. Anyone unfortunate enough to come across either side is likely to be met with suspicion or even torture.