Only 52 forensic doctors work in Syria, some considering travel

Two forensic doctors (Illustration)

Two forensic doctors (Illustration)


The head of the General Authority for Forensic Medicine in Syria, Zaher Hajjo, announced that there are only 52 forensic doctors currently working in Syria.

In a conversation with the local Al-Watan newspaper, Hajjo explained that the current number of forensic doctors is very low, noting that some Syrian governorates are devoid of forensic doctors and some have only one.

Hajjo stated that some doctors are seriously considering traveling abroad and are not serious about continuing to specialize in forensic medicine in Syria.

During a meeting on Saturday, March 9, between the Syrian Minister of Health, Hassan Mohammad al-Ghabbash; the Minister of Interior, Mohammad al-Rahmoun; and the Minister of Justice, Ahmed al-Sayed; discussions took place on how to develop the work of forensic medicine, with suggestions to financially support forensic doctors, including reactivating bonuses that are currently suspended for forensic doctors.

Among the proposals presented was the amendment of certain laws related to the General Authority for Forensic Medicine to provide full support for the doctors and to secure their financial endorsement, in addition to a proposal to ensure legal protection for forensic doctors while practicing their work, as stated by the head of the General Authority for Forensic Medicine to Al-Watan newspaper.

The Economic Committee in the Syrian Council of Ministers approved, on January 3, 2021, to grant a monthly bonus of 130,000 Syrian pounds to each specialized forensic doctor.

On June 15, 2021, Zaher Hajjo said that the specialty of forensic medicine in Syria might disappear within 15 years if the significant shortage in the number of doctors in this field is not addressed.

Forensic medicine specialty

Forensic medicine is a medical specialty practiced by medical school graduates over four years, after which they are recognized as forensic doctors by the Ministry of Justice or Health.

The role of a forensic doctor differs from that of a doctor providing medical expertise in one of the judicial disputes. The forensic doctor is appointed exclusively for this job and does not practice medicine outside of it. In contrast, doctors who offer medical expertise in trials have private clinics and are appointed by the choice of the disputing parties, which takes place in civil disputes.

The decision of a forensic doctor is obligatory, whereas medical expertise is subject to appeal, which means that forensic medicine’s mission is both medical and judicial. A forensic doctor must be knowledgeable about all medical sciences, as well as have a general understanding of the law.


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