April 3, 2013

By Nuha Shabaan

A new study sponsored by Syria’s National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces finds that nearly half of Aleppo’s neighborhoods are in urgent need of assistance of food and medical assistance.

A total of 52 of Aleppo’s 125 neighborhoods face “life-threatening” shortages of basic food items, medicine and electricity.

“More people face urgent needs in Aleppo than the total population of urban Paris or Houston or Amman – this is simply unconscionable,” said Suhair Atassi, the head of the Coalition’s Assistance Coordination Unit that carried out the survey.

Residents of Aleppo told SAS News that the areas under Free Syrian Army control are facing the most extreme hardships. “The areas controlled by the FSA are facing daily strikes and destruction, while those controlled by the regime are secure and safe,” said a citizen journalist from the Al-Bab Media Office who asked to be identified only as Khalid.

The government has cut off power in regime-controlled areas and bombs power generators in those neighborhoods to ensure no electricity reaches them, said Abu Oqba al-Halabi, 21, a generator mechanic. “The areas with working generators get electricity sometimes,” he said.

Amputations common due to lack of medical supplies

Azad Weli, a cardiologist formerly with the government’s National Hospital, now works in a field hospital in the Aleppo suburb of Menbij and says that amputation surgeries are becoming common because doctors lack equipment and medicine.

“These days, you walk down the street every day and see many people who have lost body parts,” Weli said. “We have a lot of amputations due to the lack of sufficient equipment.” [read the full interview here]

Weli called on doctors and nurses to return to Syria to help treat the sick and wounded. “How can we win if physicians, nurses and the Coalition itself have fled the country?”

At this stage of the conflict with the government, the cardiologist said, “the regime is no longer our problem – our problem is that we don’t have a state anymore and that is terrifying.”