IRGC provides hospitals for troops, militias in Deir Ezzor as public health services collapse: report

Jan 05, 2021

Iran’s regime has reportedly set up well-equipped hospitals for its forces and militias in Al Bukamal in eastern Deir Ezzor governorate, even as the already ravaged health services for the area’s long-suffering residents continue to collapse.

According to a report from SY-24, Iran’s so-called Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has taken over the Al-Hana Private Hospital in Al Bukamal, turning it into a private military hospital for its members. Meanwhile, the IRGC’s affiliated mostly foreign militias seized a building in the city’s Al-Mashahda neighbourhood, turning it into a hospital which it has named the ‘Al Quds Hospital’, providing free medicine and medical services to militia members, their families and affiliated parties. Both hospitals are reportedly well provided with medicine and equipment.

Meanwhile, the local people in the city and surrounding areas, which are areas nominally under Assad regime control but actually fully controlled by the IRGC and its affiliated militias, are suffering from severe shortages of medicines, medical services and facilities due to the deliberate negligence of the Syrian regime’s Ministry of Health.

The Syrian regime has neglected the health sector in the city and surrounding areas, despite taking control of the region, along with its Iranian affiliates, following the withdrawal of Daesh (the so-called ‘Islamic State’ or ISIS) in late 2017.

SY24’s correspondent said that work at the city’s National Hospital, previously the area’s main hospital, had been suspended for over five years, with Daesh also neglecting it, with the regime’s Health Ministry failing to rehabilitate it in the four years since seizing control of the area. The regime and its allies have targeted and destroyed a large number of hospitals since 2011, further adding to the people’s suffering

Speaking on condition of anonymity for reasons of personal safety, the SY24 correspondent indicated that there is now only one clinic open in the city for the public, which offers the lowest level of basic services and does not receive emergency cases after the end of official daytime working hours.

The correspondent said, "The majority of those working in this clinic are nurses who are unequipped to receive or treat critical cases, especially heart patients, diabetics, and cases resulting from traffic accidents."

A large number of patients are now forced to travel 130 kilometers to the nearest available hospitals in Deir Ezzor city, putting the lives of patients at great risk, as well as being subjected to extortion by militias at roadblocks and checkpoints along the route.

Eyewitnesses from the region reported that members of the Iranian-backed militias force the patients’ family members to pay bribes in order to transport the patients to hospitals in Deir Ezzor city since they are easily able to get through the roadblocks and checkpoints.

A civilian from Al Bukamal, named as Abu Ahmad, told SY24 that some Iranian militia members had secured cars specifically to transport patients to hospitals in Deir Ezzor in exchange for huge sums of money.

Abu Ahmad said, "The people are forced to deal with these individuals, because their cars are not stopped by roadblocks, which improves the survival chances of patients going to Deir Ezzor hospitals."

He added, "If you don’t ride in militia cars, you have to pay bribes to the checkpoint's personnel, otherwise they’ll stop you for a long time and your patient may die at the checkpoint."

The suffering of local people is further exacerbated by the dire economic situation, high unemployment, sharply rising prices, and lower wages compared to citizens’ previous income.

- SY24

Original report (in Arabic) from SY-24 (including photo of IRGC hospital):