PARIS: Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that Syria's health system had collapsed after nearly two years of conflict and that foreign aid was falling fall short of what was needed to address the country's "humanitarian catastrophe".
The group, known by its French initials MSF, said in a report that more than a third of Syria's hospitals were no longer functioning and urged talks on allowing for the provision of humanitarian aid.
"Syria's previously well-functioning health system has collapsed. Food shortages are commonplace, and water and electricity supply are severely disrupted," MSF said.
"Parties involved in the Syrian conflict must negotiate an agreement on humanitarian aid in order to facilitate delivery from neighbouring countries and across front lines," it said.
The group, known for providing medical care in troubled areas around the world, said that medical services had unfortunately become regular victims of the fighting.
"Medical aid is being targeted, hospitals destroyed, and medical personnel captured," said MSF's president, Marie-Pierre Allie.
MSF said international aid was "extremely restricted" in opposition-controlled areas of Syria and that the "capacity of humanitarian organisations to deploy impartial aid throughout Syria must be urgently increased."
The group said it operates three hospitals in Syria's opposition-held north, despite a lack of authorisation from the Syrian government, and "has witnessed firsthand the insufficient aid response".
The UN estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed since the start of Syria's uprising in March 2011 and said this week that about one million had fled the country to escape the violence.