Print options

October 05, 2012

Aleppo Hospital Struggles With Rising Number of Civilian Casualties

by Scott Bobb

For months, Syrian rebels have been fighting government forces for control of Aleppo, Syria's largest city. The few operating hospitals struggle to treat victims of a conflict in which recent aerial bombardments are causing civilian casualties to soar. 

Viewers are advised that some of the images in the attached video are graphic in nature.

Dar al-Shifa Hospital in Aleppo. Staff treat soldiers of the rebel Free Syria Army wounded in various battles this morning.  They are also treating civilians. This boy was hit by a bullet. It went through his shoulder and lodged in his chest.

One family arrives in panic and in grief. A mortar shell hit their home. Two babies are among the wounded. A teenager arrives with a shattered leg. He will survive but as an amputee.

The father lies on the sidewalk. He died before reaching the hospital, hit by shrapnel in the head.

Dr. Osman --he gives only his first name -- says his staff of eight doctors and 10 nurses treats some 140 people a day, (assisted by volunteers, medical students and veterinarians).

“We need staff. We need specialists in neurosurgery, vascular surgery, cardiac surgery, chest surgery. We need intensive care specialists.” he pleaded.

This used to be a fully functioning hospital. But bomb attacks destroyed its top two floors. It now provides only emergency first aid.

After treatment the wounded are sent home or, if they need surgery, to Turkey, two hours away.

Osman says the wounds of the civilians usually are different from those of the fighters.

“The civilian is targeted normally by bombing -- aerial bombing or mortar bombing. For that there is amputation. There is severe injury in the head, in the abdomen, in the chest. On the other side, the Free Syrian Army injury is by sniper, by gunshot,” he explained.

More wounded arrive, the latest victims of a conflict that shows no signs of ending.