At a hospital in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, Dr. Zakariya had just started an early morning shift when dozens of patients began streaming in. It was a scene of chaos: patients struggling to breathe, vomiting, convulsing, foaming at the mouth, and losing consciousness.
As soon as he arrived on the scene, Bashar – a first responder with the Syrian Civil Defense or White Helmets – knew that this attack was unlike anything he had ever encountered.
Last month, the only dialysis center in Douma – a besieged town east of the Syrian capital, Damascus – ran out of supplies and was forced to close. Within two weeks, two of its 30 patients had died of kidney failure. They succumbed to a chronic illness, but the Syrian government contributed to their deaths. Last year, the Syrian government repeatedly withheld humanitarian aid from Douma, whose nearly 150,000 residents have been under siege by Syrian government forces since 2013.
World leaders have been given the opportunity to change the situation in Syria and end the ongoing violence at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
In their letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, Aleppo’s remaining doctors pleaded not for tears but for a plan to end the Syrian government’s all-out assault on hospitals and medical workers. And the response from the White House was the same as it’s been for months: we’re working on it.