Syria: Doctors, patients fear arrest

2012-05-15 12:01
Paris - People wounded in the crackdown on dissent in Syria, as well as medical personnel trying to treat them, risk arrest and even torture, the aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Tuesday.

MSF doctors, after failing to get permission to work in the country, entered clandestinely and managed to reach the rebel strongholds of Homs and Idlib, where "patients and medical personnel are hunted down and run the risk of being arrested and tortured", MSF official Dounia Dekhili said.

"We are in a very particular situation in Syria: No impartial humanitarian aid can be brought in, and the harassment of the wounded and doctors is part of the regime's police strategy," she added.

"According to Syrian doctors, it is at least as dangerous to be caught caring for the wounded as being caught with a weapon in your hand," an MSF surgeon who was part of the trip said.

"In a state hospital, we worked as much as we could for three days, but then had to flee in 10 minutes because we feared an imminent attack," said the surgeon, who requested anonymity.

An anaesthetist who was on the trip said patients want to spend as little time as possible in hospital, going home sometimes less than an hour after undergoing surgery.

"The interests of the wounded and of health personnel should be a priority in Syria," MSF said in a statement, urging a "redoubling of diplomatic and political efforts".

MSF's appeal comes the day after the European Union adopted a new set of sanctions against the Syrian regime as a tenuous UN-backed truce entered its second month.

A UN observer mission is tasked with shoring up the ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan that was supposed to take effect on 12 April but which has been broken daily.

More than 12 000 people, the majority of them civilians, have died since the Syrian uprising began, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, including more than 900 killed since 12 April.

Read more on:    un  |  msf  |  kofi annan  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go! - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]


Something is blocking the flow of things today and it is easy to become frustrated and pessimistic. The problem is that your more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.