After aerial bombs and a rocket struck localities in the west of Syria’s Idlib governorate, 44 wounded patients received emergency treatment in a field hospital operated by MSF.
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NEW YORK, JANUARY 17, 2013—After aerial bombs and a rocket struck localities in the west of Syria’s Idlib governorate, 44 wounded patients received emergency treatment in a field hospital operated by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on January 15.
Thirty-six wounded patients arrived early in the afternoon, after several barrels of explosives were dropped on a village, with one landing close to a bakery. One patient died of her wounds while being evacuated to Turkey.
“Most of the patients we received were men, women, and children wounded by debris or metal fragments from the explosions,” said Marie-Christine Férir, MSF emergency program manager and nurse, who was on site and helped treat the wounded. “There were also people with eye wounds and one with an open fracture, who went into surgery. A little girl who suffered a skull trauma died while being transferred to Turkey.”
Later on January 15, MSF's field hospital received eight more patients injured by a rocket in another location, four of whom were dead on arrival.
The mountainous region of Jabal Al-Akrad, east of the city of Latakia, has been under almost daily bombings for months. While most residents have left the area, those who remain live in constant fear of the barrels of explosives that are dropped by Syrian Army helicopters.
“Apart from the people wounded in the conflict, we continue to see an increasing need for medical care,” Férir said. “We treat around 500 patients every week, including for respiratory diseases and chronic illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes. We are also assisting more women to give birth safely. The health system in Jabal Al-Akrad’s mountainous region collapsed around two years ago. Now the winter cold and snow are reaching the region and medical needs are growing.”
MSF is working in three hospitals in northern and northwestern Syria in areas controlled by armed opposition groups. On January 13, another MSF hospital treated 20 wounded patients, including five children, after a market was bombed in the town of Azaz, in Aleppo governorate.
From late June 2012 to early January 2013, MSF teams conducted more than 10,000 medical consultations and performed more than 900 surgeries in Syria. MSF teams are also providing medical and surgical care to Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
Despite repeated requests, MSF has not yet received authorization from the Syrian government to enter areas under government control to provide medical care there.