News / Middle East

Wounded Syrians Seek Refuge, Treatment in Lebanon

Margaret Besheer
TRIPOLI — In Syria, hospitals are a place of danger where President Bashar al-Assad's forces search for protesters and rebels - making it too hazardous for many wounded people to seek treatment. Injured Syrians are instead making a treacherous journey to get medical help in neighboring Lebanon.

Hasna was a typical Syrian housewife, living in the countryside of Homs with her husband and two small children, until frequent army bombings caused them to flee four months ago.  But when they thought it safe to return, tragedy struck. The family was hit by a rocket while riding on a motorbike.

"My daughter was in my arms, and when the accident happened she was blown out of my arms," she said. "It was a terrible feeling. I will never forget the sound of the rocket and the sound of my heart pumping and how we fell to the ground and I started praying."

Hasna's children died instantly, her husband a short while later. She lost both her legs. "My legs are finished... I knew they were going to be cut," she said.
 
Rebels helped her travel from Homs to Tripoli in northern Lebanon, a trip that usually takes two hours.  But it took 12, involved numerous vehicles and her being carried by stretcher part of the way. Once in Lebanon, the Red Cross brought her to this hospital.

A man, who does not want his identity revealed, said he was an officer in the government's army and defected in January.  He joined the Free Syrian Army and was injured in April during fighting in Homs.  He says the violence in Syria is the fault of President Assad.
 
"Bashar is the commander-in-chief and the army will not move without his direct orders. So everything that is happening in Syria he is the one to blame. Him and his inner circle, they rule everything," he said.

The defector, despite multiple injuries, vows to fight again for the opposition. "After my operation, I am going back directly to Syria to the Free Army," he said.

Hosni, a civilian who was shot on his motorbike six months ago in Homs, says after his treatment he too hopes to return and help Syria become free.

"I really need to be cured so I can go back to Syria to stay with the guys and I'm really relieved they are doing well. My morale is getting higher and I have a good feeling, I'm very hopeful all Syrians will celebrate soon," said Hosni.

Even doctors have not been immune to arrest, torture and murder by government forces.  A doctor says he was jailed for nearly a year in Syria and beaten for treating injured neighbors.

"I am a civilian, I have a family, I'm very famous, I have a clinic, I am a teacher in the university. Suddenly I am a criminal? Why? Because I helped my neighbors," he said.

Like widow Hasna, injured Syrians remain strong amid ongoing violence back home. Hasna has channeled her pain into poetry, urging her countrymen on to victory and freedom.

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs