World Vision strongly condemns the attack on one of the largest health facilities in northern Syria

Sunday, 13 June 2021 - Last night’s airstrike that hit Al-Shifa hospital in the city of Afrin in northern Syria, has killed at least 19 people[1], five of whom are humanitarian workers, and injured 39 others, according to partners’ information on the ground. The hospital is one of the largest facilities in northern Syria offering around 15,000 critical medical services every month including pre and post-natal care for mothers and their children [2] . This most recent destruction of a health facility is putting mothers and children’s lives at risk.

“There have already been 10 such attacks on health facilities and medical staff this year in Syria killing 614 health workers[3].  Gradually the last remaining havens of humanity and hope for the millions of Syrians displaced are being razed to the ground. Access to essential medical care is being extinguished for vulnerable children and communities and their lives are at risk on a daily basis. We stand in solidarity with our partner, the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and the aid agency - Shafak - that have lost four of their staff members. Our prayers are with victims, their families and colleagues,” says Johan Mooij, Syria Response Director at World Vision.

“World Vision works through partners in Afrin supporting community health workers providing awareness-raising sessions and hygiene kits including, soap and disinfectants to vulnerable communities. We also provide educational support and child protection services to girls and boys in this area. More than one million girls and boys in Northwest Syria were reached last year and they need any help we can provide”, confirms Alexandra Matei, Syria Response Advocacy and Communications Director at World Vision.

Civilians should never be a target. World Vision strongly condemns such indiscriminate attacks that further harm those at risk; and call on all parties to the conflict to adhere to their responsibilities under International Humanitarian Law and International Law, and to end targeted violence against aid workers and health facilities or any other civilian infrastructure.



For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Matei, Syria Response Advocacy and Communications Director, World Vision International

+962 778482436 |

Elias Abu Ata, Syria Response Communications Manager, World Vision International

+962 775 446 556 |




[3] Cumulative number from 2014 until 2019, according to the UN monitoring reports available here: UN Security Council. “Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict” (A/69/926 - S/2015/409): para. 203; (A/70/836 - S/2016/360): para 159; (A/72/361 - S/2017/821)” para 181; (A/72/865 - S/2018/465): para 191; (A/73/907 - S/2019/509): para 178; (A/74/845 - S/2020/525): 177