Targeted for Doing Their Job: Doctors in Syria Forced to Flee

03/19/2014
Map of Syria

Mohammed is one of 15,000 Syrian doctors who was forced out of his country, unable to continue treating the wounded in a bloody conflict that forced the United Nations to stop counting the dead.

In late 2012, he was working as a field doctor in rural Damascus when he became the target of a brutal crackdown on those providing medical assistance to the injured in opposition-held areas.

“I left Syria after I was detained three times,” he said.

“In none of the times I was detained I admitted that I was helping people or treating injured civilians so I could be released. I was tortured for only being suspected of helping people in need who don’t have any access to medical care.”

Mohammed, who has since resettled in the US and who asked that his real name not be used because his family is still in Syria, said he was one of thousands of doctors who were targeted for their work.

“At every checkpoint they (the government) were inspecting me just for being a doctor. Some of my friends were killed under torture for treating injured people and others have been detained for longer than 18 months.”

In July 2012, the Syrian government passed an anti-terrorism law that effectively made it a crime to provide medical care to anyone suspected of supporting the opposition.

The full article continues at http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/03/19/targeted-doing-their-job-doctors-syria-forced-flee on SBS’s website.