Aleppo: Doctors under Fire in Syrian City as Forces Target Hospitals

07/20/2016
Map showing Syria

American doctors are risking their lives to help victims of airstrikes in one of the world's most dangerous cities, Aleppo in Syria.

Orthopaedic surgeon Sam Attar, critical care specialist Zaher Sahloul and paediatrician John Kahler are all doctors from Chicago.

They went to Syria to volunteer and were some of the last people to get out of Aleppo before it was cut off from the world this week, after regime forces took control of the last road leading into the city on Sunday.

"These are innocent civilians and if the world doesn't act they will just be left to starve and be bombed to death," Dr Attar told 7.30 after returning from his most recent trip.

The road into Aleppo is one of the most dangerous journeys in the world.

"We've seen the car wrecks that are completely burnt, we've seen trucks that are turned upside down on the other side, we smelled dead bodies, looks like there's disintegrating dead bodies that are still trapped in the cars and people are not able or not daring to pull them out," Dr Sahloul, who is also the chair of the Syrian American Medical Society, told 7.30.

"It was really terrible trip and every second we were at the risk of shelling."

Dr Kahler, 70, said he felt obliged to risk his life to take the trip after hearing the last paediatrician in Aleppo had been killed in a regime airstrike on a hospital in April.

"I felt it was very important to go and stand side to side in solidarity with the healthcare workers in Aleppo," he said. "To directly see and to bear witness to the destruction that's happening there."

According to Physicians for Human Rights, the Syrian Government has assassinated, bombed and tortured to death almost 700 medical personnel in the past five years.

A UN investigation also found that Syrian Government forces have been systematically attacking hospitals in opposition controlled areas.

"We visited seven hospitals in the city of Aleppo," Dr Sahloul said.

"Every one of them have been targeted and bombed several times, so it's not incidental."

The full story continues at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-20/aleppo-american-doctors-risk-lives-to-help-bombing-victims/7644982