Ex-Assad classmate speaks out on hospital bombing
MOMENTS after the news of the aerial bombardment of rebel-held Aleppo’s largest hospital got to him, Dr Zaher Sahloul reached for his phone.
“I talked with one of the nurses,” Sahloul said from Atlanta, Georgia. “He was screaming for help, he said ‘please do something to stop the bombing’.”
Saturday’s attack on the facility, known as M10, was the second in just three days and the eighth over the past month, according to activists. Before the latest bombardment, carried out by either Syrian government or Russian warplanes, only half of the hospital was operational. Now, it is completely out of service. “The Syrian regime used two barrel bombs, incendiary bombs and cluster bombs - as if they are attacking a bunker or a large military installation,” says Sahloul, a member of the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports the facility.
The Syrian American pulmonary specialist, who back in the 1980s was a medical school classmate of nowSyrian President Bashar al-Assad, returned to Aleppo in late June where he also spent time working at M10.
“It was a terribly disastrous situation when I was there; there was a shortage of medication, doctors were working under very terrible conditions because hospitals had been attacked,” he says.
“Right now, the situation is even worse,” Sahloul adds, describing the latest bombardment as “disastrous for the city of Aleppo”.
“This hospital usually does about 4 000 life-saving surgeries every year, it’s the only trauma centre in the city,” he says. “To be destroyed, as it happened today, is really a tragedy.”
According to SAMS, there are only six hospitals now remaining in the besieged city that has been pounded by massive aerial bombardment and artillery attacks since a US-Russia implemented ceasefire collapsed last week.
At least 750 medical personnel have died in Syria since the beginning of the conflict more than five years ago, according to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). The group said in August it had documented 373 attacks on 265 medical facilities. — AFP