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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora