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

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs