MESOP URGENT CALL – Signed by: Dr Hatem, director of the pediatric hospital of Aleppo; Dr Abu Altiem, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Yahya, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Abu Albrae, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Khaled, nephrologist at Al Quds hospital in Aleppo; Dr Salah Safadi, Association of independent doctors. – Published in Le Monde
Orient Net Publication Date: 2016-05-01 16:42 – We are doctors of Aleppo at the frontline of the war raging there. We were at least skeptical about the cessation of hostilities negotiated in February. Yet we found some reduction in attacks against our hospitals, when the truce took effect. We dared to hope . This week, we saw our worst fears in the most horrific circumstances. Our city is set ablaze.
On Wednesday, April 27, Syrian or Russian warplanes bombed the Al-Quds hospital in the eastern part of Aleppo. The attack killed over 50 people and injured more than 60 others. Our friends at the White Helmets [Syrian humanitarian organization] continue to retrieve bodies buried under the rubble. Among those killed in the attack was our friend and colleague, Dr. Wassim Muhammad Maaz. He was the last pediatrician in Aleppo.
We will always remember the extreme kindness and courage of Dr Maaz, whose devotion to the service of the youngest victims of the war was unparalleled. This attack deprives east of Aleppo of one of the best pediatricians remained in Syria. This is another bloody reminder that those who attack Aleppo have no respect for the sanctity of life and for humanity.
Dr. Mohammed Ahmad, another friend of ours and one of ten dentists remaining in eastern Aleppo, was also killed in the air raid. His name is added to that of Dr Maaz, and at least 730 of our colleagues who were killed in the country over the past five years. Our heroic fellow at the White Helmets have also suffered heavy losses and have risked their lives in order to save others. Just one day before Dr Ahmad and Dr Maaz were killed, the White Helmets training center of Al-Alareb was hit by multiple ground-to-ground missiles, killing five of their volunteers: Ahmad Abdullah, Khaled Bashar, Ahmad Mahmoud, Hamda Haj Ibrahim and Ismail Hussain.
Soon there will no Aleppo medical staff. Who then will save the lives of civilians? Who then will lavish their necessary care? This week, in just two days, nearly four people were killed every hour of the day, and more than fifty injured during the same time. Our hospitals are at breaking point. The cessation of hostilities has failed and we feel the effects deep within ourselves.
In February, Russia and the United States announced their commitment to develop and make lasting cessation of hostilities. Today, they are not living up to their commitments and it is women, children and the elderly Aleppo who pay full price for their failure. If the truce is not sustained, nothing will prevent the recurrence of massacres such as the attack on the Al-Quds hospital, and prevent a total Aleppo siege. In this case, Aleppo might know a fate similar to that of Srebrenica.
Russia said it would be sincere about peace in Syria. It must now honor its obligations in ensuring the end of airstrikes against Aleppo, as well as the establishment of a truce that is respected by all parties. The priority is that Russia and the international community urgently exercise their influence to end the assault against Aleppo. This is a necessary first step. For health professionals, every day is a struggle to get the equipment and medicines that we desperately need to heal the wounded and come to the aid of the dying. The Castello road, the last entry road of humanitarian aid to eastern Aleppo, is threatened for months and now hangs by a thread. The United States also should use its influence to ensure that this crucial supply route is no longer threatened.
As leaders of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), the presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama are in charge of safeguarding civilians in Syria. They have the power and responsibility of protection. We hope and pray that they use it for the good of Syria, Aleppo, our patients and our own.
Signed by: Dr Hatem, director of the pediatric hospital of Aleppo; Dr Abu Altiem, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Yahya, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Abu Albrae, pediatric hospital in Aleppo; Dr Khaled, nephrologist at Al Quds hospital in Aleppo; Dr Salah Safadi, Association of independent doctors.
Published in Le Monde