>> Mohammed was dashing out to get a stretcher to transfer a wounded patient when he saw the bomb drop. This is his ambulance. The patient never made it to the intensive care unit in another hospital and died. This is the reality in rebel controlled Syria where even the rescuers are targets.
New research suggests that ambulances are being intentionally and repeatedly targeted, mainly by Syrian government forces and their Russian allies. Medical workers like Mohammed from Idlib say it means risking his life to save others.>> Of course my feeling when I'm in the ambulance is one of fear. I get scared a lot, because of the fear of being targeted, directly targeted, either by aerial bombardments or missiles.
Because when the regime bombs, it's not only bombing civilians, but also the medical teams who are trying to save these civilians.>> The study in the peer reviewed journal BMJ Global Health analyzed reports of over two hundred attacks on ambulances in the space of a year and found more than half were deliberately hit.
This children's hospital was hit earlier this year in eastern Ghouta, on the edge of the capital, Damascus. There's also been repeated reports of attacks on medical workers and health facilities, during the country's eight-year conflict, even though both are protected by international law. The study found paramedics on ambulances are particularly vulnerable as they are highly visible and can be targeted as they attend to casualties in the aftermath of an attack.
Researchers are calling for more efforts to protect medical workers caught up in conflict.