GENEVA, Switzerland - An international humanitarian and medical aid organisation operating in Syria has denounced the shelling of civilian areas in Khan Sheikhun and Ma'arat al-Nu'man in Idlib province, which has killed 18 civilians in the past 48 hours.
Among the dead were eight children and 7 women.
In addition, on Saturday, shelling in Hama struck the residence of Dr. Ahmad Hamwiya, pharmacist, in Al Madiq castle, killing him.
In the strongest terms, UOSSM said Monday it calls on all military actors to respect international law and immediately stop targeting civilian areas and medical staff.
The areas which are currently under attack are heavily populated with civilians and fall within the demilitarized zone.
Shortages of medical supplies, equipment and staff are already beginning to take their toll, the group says, on service capacity.
"We ask the international community to release emergency funding and resources to support the civilians of these regions and continue to strengthen the impartial delivery of aid. The death of 8 children this weekend and Dr. Ahmad Hamwiya is unconscionable and entirely preventable," USSSM said in a statement Monday.
"Week after week we continue to see children paying the heaviest toll in this war and we cannot become apathetic to this. Civilians and medical staff are protected under international humanitarian law and these laws must be enforced and respected, Dr. Hussam Al Fakir, Chairman of UOSSM International, said Monday.
Founded in January 2012 in France, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) is a coalition of humanitarian, non-governmental, and medical organizations from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Turkey.