The number of injured people in Aleppo hospitals is overwhelming

Male patient in bed with phone

A doctor in Aleppo, Syria, told the BBC that hospitals there do not have enough space for additional patients in the wake of last week's devastating earthquake.

The Al-Razi Hospital has more beds than it can accommodate in its wards. They enter the chilly courtyard from end to end after traveling through corridors.

"Even after treating patients, we couldn't let them leave hospitals. They have nowhere to go because the city has been damaged, according to orthopaedics chief Dr. Nizar Suleiman.

"In a short amount of time, many patients arrived. It's extremely concerning that we have a severe medication shortage.

For instance, we face a medical equipment shortage that makes treating fractures difficult. Due to the crisis, we already experience this shortage, and the siege (sanctions) only exacerbate it. ".

three doctors wearing medical facemasks
Dr. Nizar Suleiman claimed that the war and sanctions were to blame for the severe lack of medications.

The UN reports that since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck neighboring southern Turkey on February 6 there have been more than 4,400 fatalities and 7,600 injuries in northwestern Syria.

Aleppo has sustained extensive damage. The Syrian government provided the BBC with a unique opportunity to travel there and speak with medical professionals.

The BBC team made an effort to remain silent as it moved through the city, just in case we could hear survivors inside the destroyed structures.

Finding anyone alive in the rubble more than a week after the earthquake is unlikely. However, Al-Razi Hospital continues to see patients.

Abu Muhammad is lying on a ward with other survivors after spending about 24 hours trapped under the rubble. Three of his five children and his wife both perished in the earthquake. On his phone, he sees a vibrant picture of his family during a happy moment.

He says, with tears in his eyes, "They went to Heaven, they are now with God.".

One thing he is grateful for, he says, is that "God saved my phone for the purpose of remembering them, so at least I can look at their pictures whenever I miss them. ".

Man in hospital bed holds phone
Abu Muhammad, who perished along with his wife and three kids, displays a picture of his family before the tragedy.

"I still struggle to comprehend what occurred to me. It sometimes seems to me like a nightmare or a bad dream. It can't possibly be true. ".

After losing their homes, tens of thousands of people are now residing in mosques, churches, or other public areas like parks.

They told us that during the nation's ongoing civil war, which has lasted for more than ten years, they almost anticipated losing loved ones or belongings. .

But the earthquake came as a total surprise. It happened while they were sleeping, bringing with it a new wave of pain that they perceived to be somehow more difficult to bear.

The government claims that the economic sanctions Western nations imposed as retaliation for alleged human rights abuses and other wrongdoings during the 12-year civil war have hindered the country's effort to provide aid.

Denying this, the US, UK, and EU assert that trade in necessities and humanitarian aid are exempt from the sanctions.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that exports of medical supplies to Syria are not expressly forbidden, regional and international banks have previously been hesitant to approve the financial transactions Syrians needed to purchase these supplies because they were afraid of retaliation from Western authorities.

According to the Syrian state news agency Sana, during a meeting with Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy to Syria, on Monday, Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad demanded an end to all "unilateral coercive measures.".

woman lying on a hospital bed
New patient accommodations are a challenge for hospitals.

Russia, Iran, and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is a key ally of the government in the civil war, have committed aid to areas of Syria that are under government control.

According to Syrian state media, aid from several other nations, including China, Sudan, Algeria, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates, has also arrived.

The BBC witnessed Russian aid being transported to an Aleppo church's hub by lorries.

Additionally, a sixth shipment of Iranian aid had arrived, according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency.

In the meantime, neighboring Lebanon declared that it would allow nations wishing to send aid to Syria access to its ports and airports.   .

Northwestern Syria's opposition-held areas, however, have only received a trickle of UN aid via Turkey.

In accordance with Mr. Mekdad's assertion, the Syrian government is dedicated to "providing humanitarian aid to all those in need, in all areas, without any discrimination.". .

However, organizations in the opposition stronghold are currently refusing assistance from the government out of concern for a propaganda victory for Damascus.

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