A hospital built by South African aid agency Gift of the Givers (GotG) in Idlib Province, Syria, has been “inundated with casualties”, including people affected by chlorine gas, after rebels captured the city of Idlib on Tuesday.
“We opened three theatres to cater for the huge influx as we now have the capacity and skilled medical personnel for the purpose. Some of the injured were victims of chemical weapons, viz, chlorine gas,” said GotG director Imtiaaz Sooliman in a press statement.
This is not the first time President Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian regime has been accused of using chemical weapons. In 2011 French Intelligence was the first to accuse Assad of using chemical weapons. Just last year the US government expressed its concerns about Assad’s use of chemical weapons in a meeting of the UN security Council. The Assad regime had denied all accusations – even in the face of indisputable scientific proof.
Meanwhile, the human cost continues. In 2013, GotG built a hospital in Darkoush in the south of Syria, which it says treats more than 10,000 a month patients from the surrounding areas, including Idlib city.
But GotG says the Ar-Rahmah Hospital – “mercy hospital” – has been targeted by government forces. According to a report by the non-profit group Physicians for Human Rights released earlier this month, 189 medical facilities in Syria have been destroyed and 660 medical personnel have been killed in the fighting.
Almost 9 million Syrians have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, according to the UN, and about 200,000 civilians have been killed. However, despite pressure from the international community, the end of the conflict does not seem to be in sight.
– Featured image: Destruction of a farmhouse in Idlib, 2012. By Syria Freedom on Flikr. All other images: courtesy of Gift of the Givers.
Fatima Moosa is a second-year BA student at Wits University, majoring in international relations and politics. She’s a huge sports fan (especially when it comes to Liverpool Football Club), a bookworm, and a nature lover.