Washington, DC – November 12, 2023 – The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) expresses profound concern over the recent attacks in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza and strongly condemns any attempts to target medical facilities under any pretext.

In the past 48 hours, Al-Shifa Hospital, recognized as Gaza’s largest medical facility, has experienced multiple attacks, resulting in numerous casualties and injuries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a loss of contact with its associates at Al-Shifa Hospital amid reports of firing outside the premises.

The ongoing bombardment has caused significant damage to the hospital’s intensive care unit and areas designated for displaced individuals. A critical shortage of fuel is endangering essential functions such as ICUs, ventilators, and incubators. This has placed the lives of patients, including 39 prematurely born babies who were reportedly detached from their incubators, at significant risk. The recent deaths of two newborns, as stated by the head of the hospital, underscore the immediate danger they currently face.

SAMS emphasizes that health facilities, including Al-Shifa Hospital, are protected under the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977 and 2005, as well as International Humanitarian Law. The safety of health workers, patients, and those seeking shelter within these facilities must not be compromised. SAMS acknowledges the heroism of the healthcare professionals who are putting their lives at risk to fulfill their humanitarian duty to save lives despite tremendous pressure and shortages of equipment and supplies. 

With firsthand experience of 296 indiscriminate attacks on its health facilities during the war in Syria, SAMS reaffirms its unwavering commitment to advocating for the protection of health workers worldwide, a cause integral to our mission.  

SAMS stands with other medical and humanitarian organizations, calling for an immediate ceasefire. SAMS also joins the call to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2286, which demands compliance with the international standards meant to prevent attacks on health during conflict.

SAMS supports ongoing efforts to uphold the principles of humanity and defend the fundamental right to health for all, especially in times of conflict.

SAMS is a nonprofit, non-political organization that works on the front lines of crisis relief, providing medical and humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable in Syria, its neighboring countries, and beyond. Last year, SAMS provided lifesaving medical services to over 2.8 million.

For more information about SAMS, go to www.sams-usa.net. For media support, contact media@sams-usa.net.