When students set out to study medicine they accept the reality that there will be experiences situations in their work which will put pressure on who they are as person. It is the nature of being a physician. Dr. Ahmed had practiced medicine for years but the Syrian conflict unfolded a dark chapter in his career. One night, a man was rushed to the hospital after being injured in a bombing. The doctor was horrified to realize the man was his cousin.
“He was losing a lot of blood from his femoral artery and I needed to operate immediately, but there was no electricity,” Dr. Ahmed said. “I had to use a simple head torch and a cigarette lighter. Alhamdulilah, I managed to join the artery and save his life.”
He is one of few physicians who could remain during the conflict and the price of staying has been weighty. His story is one of millions of people submerged in the aftermath of one of the most devastating humanitarian catastrophes of the last two decades.
A Catastrophe 8 Years in the making
On the eve of June, 2013 90,00 people had already been killed from civil war. It was just two years after intense protest and civil unrest began. The country, already suffering from economic decline, had begun to boil over. By 2015, Syria would see 250,000 people perish. As it seemed to have no end in sight, droves of civilians left their homes with nothing more than what they could carry in each hand. Refugees sprawled out across Syria and in neighboring countries in the millions. According to UNHCR, over 6 million people are currently still internally displaced. Countries like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Greece took the lion’s share in.
A Path Forward
It’s because of people like Dr. Ahmed who walked unaided into the heat of conflict and provided medical services to strangers that IRUSA has continued to aid Syrian people. In 2018 alone IRUSA assisted almost a quarter million Syrians with emergency relief such as, healthcare services, food aid, water & sanitation support, as well as winter relief. As we remember the beginning of an tragic eight year episode for the Syrian people is it critical acknowledge the long path to recovery and reconciliation still ahead.