Der Spiegel reports: Aleppo has been a horrific place for some time now and few thought that it could get much worse. But things can always get worse — that’s the lesson currently being learned by those who have stayed behind in an effort to outlast this brutal conflict. People who have become used to dead bodies in the streets, hunger and living a life that can end at any moment.
“For the last two weeks, we’ve been living a nightmare that is worse than everything that has come before,” says Hamza, a young doctor in an Aleppo hospital. At the beginning, in 2011, he was treating light wounds, stemming from tear gas or beatings from police batons. When the regime began dropping barrel bombs in 2012, the injuries got worse. But now, with the beginning of the Russian airstrikes, the doctors are facing an emergency. Every two or three hours, warplanes attack the city, aiming at everything that hasn’t yet been destroyed, including apartment buildings, schools and clinics. Often, they use cluster bombs, which have been banned internationally.
They used to get around 10 serious injuries per day, but that number has now risen to 50, says Hamza, adding that most of their time is spent sorting body parts so they can turn them over to family members for burial. Russian missiles, he says, tear everyone apart who is within 35 meters of the impact.
“On one day, we had 22 dead civilians. The day before that, it was 20 injured children. A seven-year-old died and an eight-year-old lost his left leg.” The Russians attacked in the morning, he says, as the children were on their way to school. “We are going to need years of therapy in order to be able to cope with all this.”
There are seven doctors still working in the hospital. “Since the Russians began bombing the city, even more doctors have fled,” Hamza says. There are only about 30 medical professionals left in all of Aleppo, he adds. His hospital too is under fire and Hamza’s voice can be heard trembling over the phone. The regime, he says, has targeted the hospital five times in the past several years, but always missed. “The Russian bombardment, though, is very accurate.” One recent bomb, he says, just barely missed them. [Continue reading…]