Syrian Doctors Crowdfund Underground Hospitals Amid Air Campaign

Cave Hospitals Irreplaceable in Certain Regions of Syria

As the seemingly endless Syrian Civil War means constant airstrikes in several heavily populated parts of the country, hospitals have repeatedly been damaged, and sometimes destroyed outright. Obviously repairs are constantly underway, but doctors in same parts of the country have come up with a novel solution, relocating underground.

Hama has one of the earliest and best example, with Central Cave Hospital praised as one of the safest hospitals around, some 17 meters underground. Other areas with heavy airstrikes like Idlib Province have doctors working on their own, often having to pay much of the cost themselves.

For a country where there’s a ton of aid money to be had, the efforts have been struggled with legal issues surrounding the construction of new hospitals, with new underground hospitals considered “development,” and not “humanitarian” aid.

In some cases, this has been resolved by adding on underground annexes to existing hospitals, though in many cases, there appears to be a lot more interest in replacing the current hospitals outright with cave-based operations.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.