Aleppo’s last doctors' plea to Obama for help
Aug.14, Aleppo: At least 15 of the remaining doctors in eastern Aleppo have written a desperate plea to President Obama, begging him to act to stop the bombs and to protect the 300,000 people who remain in what was Syria’s largest city. The appeal comes after opposition troops lifted a month-long siege during which pro-government troops cut the city off from food, water and medical aid for more than a month.
The doctors’ plea comes after a period of intense bombardment of medical facilities across opposition held areas of Syria. Last week, Syrian government forces launched deadly airstrikes on six hospitals in and around Aleppo, the worst week for attacks on medical facilities there since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.
The six facilities included a paediatric clinic inside the city where four infants died after their oxygen supply was cut.
They said in the letter to Obama that: "For five years, we have faced death from above on a daily basis. But we now face death from all around. For
five years, we have borne witness as countless patients, friends and colleagues suffered violent, tormented deaths." For five years, the world has stood by and remarked how ‘complicated’ Syria is, while doing little to protect us. Recent offers of evacuation from the regime and Russia have sounded like thinly-veiled threats to residents – flee now or face annihilation ?
Last month, there were 42 attacks on medical facilities in Syria, 15 of which were hospitals in which we work. Right now, there is an attack on a medical facility every 17 hours. At this rate, our medical services in Aleppo could be completely destroyed in a month, leaving 300,000 people to die.
"What pains us most, as doctors, is choosing who will live and who will die. Young children are sometimes brought into our emergency rooms so badly injured that we have to prioritize those with better chances, or simply don’t have the equipment to help them. Two weeks ago, four newborn babies gasping for air suffocated to death after a blast cut the oxygen supply to their incubators. Gasping for air, their lives ended before they had really begun."
Despite the horror, we choose to be here. We took a pledge to help those in need, they said.
Continued US inaction to protect the civilians of Syria means that our plight is being wilfully tolerated by those in the international corridors of power. The burden of responsibility for the crimes of the Syrian government and its Russian ally must therefore be shared by those, including the United States, who allow them to continue.
Unless a permanent lifeline to Aleppo is opened it will be only a matter of time until we are again surrounded by regime troops, hunger takes hold and hospitals’ supplies run completely dry. Death has seemed increasingly inescapable. We do not need to tell you that the systematic targeting of hospitals by Syrian regime and Russian warplanes is a war crime. We do not need to tell you that they are committing atrocities in Aleppo.
1. Dr. Abu Al Baraa, Pediatrician
2. Dr. Abu Tiem, Pediatrician
3. Dr. Hamza, Manager
4. Dr. Yahya, Pediatrician and head of Nutrition Program
5. Dr. Munther, Orthopedics
6. Dr. Abu Mohammad, General Surgeon
7. Dr. Abu Abdo, General Surgeon
8. Dr. Abd Al Rahman, Urologic Resident
9. Dr. Abu Tareq, ER Doctor
10. Dr. Farida, OBGYN
11. Dr Hatem, Hospital Director
12. Dr. Usama, Pediatrician
13. Dr. Abu Zubeir, Pediatrician
14. Dr. Abu Maryam, Pediatric Surgeon
15. Dr. Abo Bakr, Neurologist
The Oslo Times International News Network/Crisis Action