Regime violence forces Daraa al-Balad’s only healthcare clinic into closure

Opening ceremony of a healthcare clinic in Daraa al-Balad city –3 December 2020 (Ber Society and social services)

Opening ceremony of a healthcare clinic in Daraa al-Balad city –3 December 2020 (Ber Society and social services)

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Even though it is the only medical center in the city, Daraa al-Balad Healthcare Clinic closed its doors to patients after it was targeted by sniper fire of Syrian regime-affiliated paramilitary groups, stationed in the al-Menshiyeh neighborhood.

Enab Baladi’s correspondent reported that the clinic’s administration decided today, 28 July, to stop its services, concerned for the lives of patients.

On the condition of anonymity for security reasons, a resident from the city told Enab Baladi that the clinic is located near the Kaziyeh Roundabout and is a target for the Mustafa al-Masalmeh and Shadi Bajbouj militias, affiliated with the regime forces.

The resident said that shooting at the clinic, knowing that it is the sole medical unit in the city, seeks to boost pressure the regime is imposing on Daraa al-Balad’s residents to coerce them into succumbing to its “humiliating” demands.

The attacks on the clinic correspond to artillery shelling and clashes on the outskirts of the Daraa Camp and Busra Square.

Yesterday, the regime forces’ attacks on Daraa al-Balad, Tariq al-Sad and Daraa Camp injured three civilians, including a child.

The ongoing shelling with mortar rounds and heavy machine guns (HMGs) displaced several families from Daraa al-Balad to Daraa al-Mahtta.

The siege the regime has been imposing on the city for nearly two months hampered the city’s healthcare services and caused a shortage in medicines and baby formulas.

The clinic provided services to the city, Daraa Camp, and Tariq al-Sad area. Therefore, closing it would threaten the health of over 50,000 persons, one of the city’s residents told Enab Baladi.

In response to a letter signed by nine members of the European Parliament on the Daraa al-Balad’s siege, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, downplayed the seriousness of the siege.

In his statement, Borrell said that “a health care clinic and pharmacy are functional, despite some shortages of medicines. . . Other humanitarian health services including mobile clinics, nutrition services, immunization and solid waste management are ongoing.”

Yesterday, The Council of Daraa Tribes issued a statement, demanding the relocation of Daraa al-Balad’s residents to a safe area to spare them “a tragic war.”

Regime forces withdrew from the city hours from their entry to establish military posts, stipulated by the latest “settlement” deal. The forces retreated following clashes with the residents, during which regime forces hit the city with tanks and artillery.

Furthermore, the Daraa Central Committee (DCC) and the regime held two rounds of negotiations. Both rounds yielded no results, for the DCC, on behalf of Daraa’s tribes, refused to adhere to the terms of the first agreement, including setting up regime military posts in the city and the deportation of a number of the city’s residents.

The DCC in the western countryside of Daraa said they will declare war should the regime continue military escalation against Daraa al-Balad.

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