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Report Says More Than 800 Health Workers Killed In Syrian 'War Crimes'

A field hospital run by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) in the northwestern Syrian town of Sarmin lies in ruins after being bombed in October 2015.

More than 800 health workers have died in "acts of war crimes" in Syria since 2011, according to a report in a respected medical journal.

The report published in The Lancet on March 15 says most victims died in hospital bombings, shootings, torture, and executions perpetrated mainly by government-backed forces.

This "weaponization" of health care "has translated into hundreds of health workers killed, hundreds more incarcerated or tortured and hundreds of health facilities deliberately and systematically attacked," it said.

An estimated 15,000 doctors -- about half the pre-war number -- fled the country, leaving hundreds of thousands of civilians without access to basic care.

"The international community has left these violations of international humanitarian and human rights law largely unanswered," the authors of the report said.

The analysis was compiled by experts from universities in Beirut, Britain, and the United States, as well as the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and Multi-Aid Programs, an NGO.

The Lancet, in an editorial, pointed to "grievous failings by the global health community and international governance."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters