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Open Letter From Doctors Calls For Action To Prevent Further Syrian Health System Collapse

In a letter published in The Lancet on Monday, more than 50 “doctors, including Nobel Prize winners, say Syria’s health system is at breaking point as medics are forced to flee the fighting,” BBC News reports. The group writes that the situation in Syria, which is in the midst of civil war, is “arguably one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises since the end of the Cold War,” according to the news agency. The letter “warns that horrific injuries are going untended; women are giving birth with no medical assistance; men, women, and children are undergoing life-saving surgery without anesthetic; and victims of sexual violence have nowhere to turn to,” BBC writes (9/16). “The signatories, who span five continents, cite figures suggesting 469 health workers are currently imprisoned and about 15,000 doctors have fled the country,” The Guardian states, adding, “In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, there are just 36 physicians, compared to 5,000 before the civil war began, they say.” The letter “demand[s] access to treatment for patients and for perpetrators of attacks to be held accountable” and “says governments supporting the opposing sides in the civil war should use their influence to stop the attacks and the U.N. and international donors must do more to increase support to Syrian medical networks,” according to newspaper (Siddique, 9/16).