ASIA/SYRIA - East Aleppo, a cease-fire deal to allow evacuation of rebels. The Catholic hospital director: we welcome the wounded and the sick of neighborhoods that were under the rebels

Friday, 16 December 2016 wars   jihadists   healthcare

Aleppo (Agenzia Fides) - A cease-fire deal to allow evacuation of rebels and tens of thousands of civilians from eastern Aleppo up to the harvesting areas located near the border with Turkey is back on. Syrian official sources claim that the evacuation yesterday allowed more than 8 thousand people to leave Aleppo, and the suspension occurred because today the rebels and the jihadist forces have not complied with the terms of the agreement, trying to bring some prisoners with them. Other pro-government Syrian sources say that the operation was suspended, in areas still in the hands of anti-Assad militias, after mortar shells were launched on the open humanitarian corridors to allow convoys, used for the evacuation, to pass. The same accusations are instead directed against pro-Assad militias from sources close to the rebels.
Meanwhile, from the eastern districts of Aleppo, many civilians flee and manage to get to the western area of Aleppo, which always remained under the control of the Syrian army, and where the sick and wounded are beginning to crowd in unsustainable local health structures, operating already for years in emergency conditions, because of the conflict. "The first cases we faced in our hospital" refers to Agenzia Fides Emile Katti, a surgeon and director of the Hospital of Aleppo in Raja in Aleppo, supported by the Custody of the Holy Land - are emblematic of the situation that were lived in those neighborhoods: a man has had a fractured arm for 7 months due to a sliver, and had already undergone a badly carried out operation by an Egyptian doctor. Then there is a down child who for four years has not been receiving appropriate care for his illnesses; then there is another boy with shrapnel in his head, which fortunately has not affected vital parts of his body. His father was killed a few months ago".
The stories of people from the neighborhoods which until recently were in the hands of rebel groups and jihadist militias highlight details often ignored by the mainstream media: "A few days ago" refers Emile Katti, who in November talked about his experience as a doctor in Aleppo in an interesting conference organized at the Biomedical Campus University in Rome - the sister of one of our employees and all his family were killed by snipers while they were trying to leave east Aleppo through humanitarian corridors. The sick and the wounded who come from those neighborhoods report that there was hunger, and were reduced to eating grass, and that the only food available were for militants and their followers".
On Thursday December 15, several times a column of 20 green buses left the eastern districts of Aleppo, carrying about 1200 people each time to the areas close to the border with Turkey. The agreement on the evacuation of the militiamen and civilians from east Aleppo, mediated by Russia and Turkey, provided as a counterpart the end of the siege of two Shiite villages in the province of Idlib, surrounded for a long by jihadist militias. It seems difficult to verify the figures of civilians who remained in the areas of Aleppo until recently in the hands of insurgent groups: "many repeated without verification that in that part of the city there were more than 250 thousand inhabitants, but the real figure appears to be much lower. And now it has become virtually impossible to count them, as people run away as soon as they can, in so many directions. And many are greeted with great spirit of solidarity by relatives and acquaintances who they were not able to meet for years". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 16/12/2016)