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The human toll of explosive weapons in Syria and Iraq

Airstrikes are destroying medical facilities in Aleppo, while families flee indiscriminate bombing in Fallujah.

Friday June 10, 2016

Relief goods in Iraq
Image: ICRC

"The fighting was all around us. They didn't care. They bombed the way they wanted to. There is no consideration for the population," says Um Muhannad, who has just fled the Iraqi city of Fallujah.

As the battle for Fallujah intensifies, Um Muhannad and her children join thousands of people now staying in a makeshift aid camp 30 km from the city. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is distributing food and other relief supplies.

The ICRC is now calling for access to the city of Fallujah itself, which has been under siege for two years.

"We know that thousands are stuck in the city centre and they are unable to leave. The humanitarian and medical situation is deteriorating and this is extremely worrying for us," says Malek Baklouti, who is responsible for delivering ICRC relief aid. 

While the people of Falujah suffer from indiscriminate bombing, airstrikes continue to destroy hospitals in Syria.  

Three medical facilities in the city of Aleppo were hit in three hours yesterday. Children are particularly affected, as the now-destroyed Al Hakim hospital was one of the few facilities still able to provide paediatric services. 

In the past two weeks alone, six health facilities have been attacked across Syria.

"It is a universal principle that, in times of conflict, access to medical care and assistance should be available to everyone," says Dr Phoebe Wynn-Pope of Australian Red Cross.  

"Hospitals - and the people who work in them - should never be targets in anyone's conflict.

"We call on all parties to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq to protect and spare civilians, and make every effort to avoid destroying the infrastructure that keeps them alive.  

"We grieve for all those who have been killed or harmed in these conflicts and ask you to stand with our Red Cross and Red Crescent colleagues in providing life-saving humanitarian assistance."    

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