Ex-As­sad class­mate speaks out on hos­pi­tal bomb­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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

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