Syria: MSF Evacuates Hospital as Front Line Approaches

Mahmoud Abdel-rahman

BARCELONA/NEW YORK, MAY 27, 2016  — Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is evacuating most of its staff and patients from Al Salamah hospital in northern Syria after an Islamic State offensive in Azaz, in Aleppo governorate, approached the area.

“We are terribly concerned about the fate of our hospital and our patients, and about the estimated 100,000 people trapped between the Turkish border and active front lines,” said Pablo Marco, MSF operations manager for the Middle East. “For some months, the front line has been around seven kilometers away from the hospital. Now it is only three kilometers from Al Salamah town. There is nowhere for people to flee to as the fighting gets closer.” 

Al Salamah Hospital is the largest of six medical facilities run by MSF in Syria. Its services include an operating theater, emergency room, pediatric care, in- and outpatient departments, and maternal care. 

In addition, MSF provides support to more than 150 Syrian medical facilities, with a particular focus on besieged areas.

In this photo taken on March 17th, staff from MSF’s hospital in Azaz district Aleppo governorate bring a patient into the inpatient department. On April 18th MSF warned that the situation was critical for more than 100,000 people who were trapped by renewed fighting in the area, and called on all warring parties to respect civilians and health structures.
Mahmoud Abdel-rahman