Syria testimonies - February 2012

February 15, 2012

Syria testimonies - February 2012 © AFP/Khalil Mazraawi

AS the violence in Syria continued to escalate and with lack of access for NGOs inside Syria to be able to help the victims of violence, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has collected testimonies from wounded patients treated outside the country and from doctors inside Syria. The testimonies, collected from several people from various parts of the country, point to a crackdown on the provision of urgent medical care for people wounded in the ongoing violence in Syria.

Testimonies were collected from 15 people coming from different parts of Syria between January 30 and February 6, 2012.

MSF is not authorized to operate inside Syria at present and thus is unable to fully verify the information collected here. However, given the recurring nature, consistency, and severity of the acts described in these testimonies, MSF has decided to make them public. For security reasons, names and locations have been withheld.

The testimonies reveal the following:

  • Casualties such as multiple fractures, gunshot wounds, and electric shocks that strongly suggest a concerted program of violence and torture;
  • The merciless persecution and repression of the injured and their caregivers;
  • The pursuit of doctors at risk of arrest and torture for treating wounded civilians;
  • The monitoring of hospitals by security forces, in order to arrest and torture the wounded;
  • The resulting need for many to seek medical care provided illegally in makeshift facilities, including private homes; and
  • The lack of even basic medical supplies, including drugs, anesthetics, blood bags, and sutures in places where patients do receive care.

Following are four video testimonies by a Syrian doctor and three patients (treated outside Syria). To view other testimonies please go to the link:

Testimony 1: Syrian doctor who was treating patients in Syria

“The risk of being arrested is big. But despite that risk, many doctors are putting their lives in danger in order to fulfill their medical oath.”

Testimony 2: (patient 6): Man, early 30s, Date of injuries: March 2011/ gunshot wound

“I was given drugs and antibiotics, but they could not carry out the surgical operation because the injury was severe.”

Testimony 3 (patient 5): Man, 34 years old/ Date of injury: December 2011/ torture victim

“With me, they taped a detonator to my hand; it had TNT, which was tied to a long string linked to a battery. Then they put on the electric detonator and blew it up. I lost three fingers and two-thirds of the remaining two, along with most of the palm of my hand.”

Testimony 4 (patient8): Man, 29 years old/ Date of injury: august 2011/ gunshot wound

“I woke up in the hospital and was told that they want to cut off my leg. Everyone in the hospital was at risk of being killed, and they even attacked the intensive care unit. I was taken outside the hospital in order not to be hurt.”

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