Dr. Azad Weli is a 38-year-old cardiologist from Aleppo. Weli formerly worked at the government’s National Hospital in Aleppo. He left to work at a field hospital in Menbij, just outside the city, to bring medical relief to an area where few doctors were available. His field hospital receives occasional donations from the Red Crescent. SAS News reporter Nuha Shabaan asked him about the health conditions in the area.
Q: What are conditions where you are now?
A: I’m now in Manbij in Aleppo province. The conditions here are very bad. We deal with two kinds of patients: Those who have disease and the ones injured in battle. We cannot treat them because we don’t have sufficient equipment, so we give them first aid and then send them to Turkey. There’s only one field hospital run by the Qatari Red Crescent in Jarabulus but it has a limited number of physicians to do numbered surgeries.
Q: Why has Leishmaniasis, a disease caused by parasites transmitted by the bite of certain flies, spread and how are you dealing with it?
A: Due to the lack of diesel and electricity, water pumps no longer work, so water doesn’t move. This results in dirt in stagnant water. That provides an ideal environment for the flies carrying this disease. We don’t have medicine for it. We have communicated with the Syrian National Coalition but unfortunately we haven’t received anything. We also need drugs for other diseases but no one is listening to us. What can we do? We also need physicians and nurses but most of them have fled the country.
Q: Do you cooperate with the Red Cross?
A: Unfortunately we don’t. We wish they would communicate with us, especially at this stage as we’re under siege in Kwiris and A-Raqqa. We need the assistance now the most as we have nearly 200,000 displaced persons in this area. We cooperate with the Red Crescent and some aid agencies, but it’s not enough.
Q: Why have amputation surgeries increased?
A: We have a lot of amputations due to the lack of sufficient equipment. We must amputate to save the patient’s life. These days, you walk down the street every day and see many people who have lost body parts. How can we win if physicians, officers and the Coalition have fled the country? They must come back to help us at this difficult stage, otherwise they will lose their credibility in the future. The regime is no longer our problem. Our problem is that we don’t have a state anymore, which is terrifying.
Q: How do you see the post-Bashar era?
A: The Coalition is a foreign creation and is run by people who live outside of Syria and don’t understand what is happening. They will remain strangers to us. Inside Syria, half of the battalions have deviated from the course of the revolution. Now they work to promote foreign agendas as well.
We see here a Muslim Brotherhood project funded by millions. Add to that the border crossings and the banks that have been plundered. Victory will be ours, God willing, but the stage after Bashar will be disastrous to everyone. It seems we’re heading for the unknown.