MSF is narrowing its scope of operations in Hasakah as a prelude to withdrawing from Syria

Less than a year after the start of its work at the national hospital in Hasakah, MSF last week withdrew its foreign staff from the hospital to its headquarters in Tel Tamir and kept only the local staff.
The organization’s procedures were based on sources from the hospital staff as a result of repeated threats by unknown persons, who are likely to be associated with Syrian government entities in the city of Hasakah.
Earlier in June, five members of the organization, including foreigners, were arrested at a Syrian government checkpoint in the city of Qamishlo / Qamishli during a field mission. They were immediately transferred to Damascus. Two foreigners were subsequently released and transferred to Outside Syria by the Czech Foreign Ministry, while three other elements, including a Sudanese employee and two local staff, were continued to be detained.
Since then, threats have been directed against the organization and its cadres, whether publicly or clandestinely. According to the information, they have prepared to withdraw from all the areas and medical points they occupy in various areas in the governorates of Hasakah, Raqqa and Deir al-Zour in preparation for ending their work in northern Syrian. The withdrawing of the organization from Syria is part of the agreement that the foreign elements detained were released by the Syrian government.
The tension between the Syrian government and Medecins Sans Frontieres is due to the organization’s announcement in August 2013 that they had treated cases of poison gas in Damascus countryside, which was considered the first statement by a neutral body to report the use of chemical weapons against civilians by the Syrian Government, accusing the regime targeting the hospitals and health institutions that they run them in the governorates of Aleppo and Idlib.
After this announcement, the Syrian government accused the organization more than once of working for the French intelligence, and the assistance of many elements of armed terrorist groups during the clashes and military operations between the Syrian army and the armed factions of the Syrian opposition in the countryside of northern Aleppo.
Médecins Sans Frontières is one of dozens of international non-governmental organizations operating throughout Syria, and one of the first to enter the country since the outbreak of armed conflict between government forces and the opposition in 2011.
Since September last year, the organization has been working in the only governmental hospital in Al-Aziziyah neighborhood in Al-Hasakah, which was affiliated to the Directorate of Governmental Public Health and the Autonomous-Administration controlled it in August 2016 after the last military confrontation between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the regime forces in Al-Hasakah.


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