Canadian freelance journalist and justice activist Eva Bartlett writes:
[…] In Aleppo, I met with doctors from the Aleppo Medical Association (established in 1959), including Dr. Zahar Buttal, Dr. Tony Sayegh, and Dr. Nabil Antaki.
One question I posed to the doctors was regarding the other oft-repeated lie of the “last pediatrician” in Aleppo, a startling allegation designed to shock western readers and rally them against the Syrian government. And one which has no basis in truth.
Dr. Zahar Buttal, Chairman of the Aleppo Medical Association, refuted such allegations, noting that Aleppo has 180 pediatricians still working in the city. Of one of the alleged lone pediatricians he said: “The media says the only pediatrician in Aleppo was killed in a hospital called Quds. In reality, it was a field hospital, not registered.” As for the pediatrician, “We checked the name of the doctor and didn’t find him registered in Aleppo Medical Association records.”
Indeed, the Quds hospital referenced was central to the April/May frenzy of media lies regarding Aleppo and the Syrian government, and Russian allies. Claims around the building called al-Quds hospital contradicted one another, the fallacies and serious discrepancies outlined in this article.
Also central to the lies were the bias and propaganda of the very partial, corporate-financed Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF), which supports areas in Syria controlled by terrorists, specifically Jabhat al-Nusra (whose failed attempt at re-branding with a new name – Jabhat Fatha al-Sham – does not negate its ties to Al-Qaeda nor erase their crimes).
The next, related, question for the doctors was: If government-secured Aleppo has 180 pediatricians, how many doctors in total are still working there? Lying media have for months claimed the number of doctors are dwindling, including even a late July propaganda piece in The Intercept which asserted that “the number of doctors in Aleppo City has plummeted into the low dozens. The number of remaining medical specialists is even smaller.”
Yet, according to Dr. Zahar Buttal, until now there are 4,160 doctors registered and active in Aleppo city, in the government-secured areas of over 1.5 million people. Of the 4,160 doctors, 200 have been newly registered since the beginning of this year.
As for the media claims of a lack of specialists in Aleppo, in addition to the 180 mentioned pediatricians, there are of course many more specialists in Aleppo. According to the Aleppo Medical Association’s Dr. Zahar, specialists still practicing in the city include:
● 30 cardiovascular surgeons
● 214 general surgeons
● 112 orthopedists
● 11 pulmonologists
● 12 neurologists
● 8 neurosurgeons
● 250 obstetricians/gynecologists
● 15 gastroenterologists
Dr. Nabil Antaki, himself a gastroenterologist, is one of a group of 15 specialist doctors which, since late 2012, have volunteered their services, treating in private hospitals (with the most minimal equipment and medical fees possible) upwards of 500 civilians severely injured by terrorist bombings, needing specialist care and often life-support. Specialists in his group alone include: three general surgeons, one heart surgeon, one neurosurgeon, two orthopedic surgeons, and three anesthesiologists.
Dr. Antaki has been outspoken about the western media lies on Aleppo. When the western-created “Aleppo is Burning” campaign took flight in late April – the exact time when western-backed terrorists increased their daily bombing of Aleppo to severe bombardments – Dr. Antaki, seeing the worst of the casualties and bombings, spoke out.
When I met him in July 2016, Dr. Antaki continued to be vocal about the media manipulations and flagrant lies about the reality on the ground in Aleppo.
“All of the campaigns which were launched by the western media concerned the east part of Aleppo, which is the part controlled by the ‘rebels’. All the media reported that the people there are suffering, the buildings are destroyed and that the Syrian government are doing ‘war crimes’. But, what we are receiving in the part controlled by the Syrian government is much worse than in the east part. Nobody speaks about what is happening in the western part of Aleppo. There are not only tens of mortars every day which fell on the western part of Aleppo, but hundreds, and every day we have hundreds killed or wounded. And nobody spoke about it. When the media spoke about one supposed hospital destroyed in the eastern part, one week after, the main maternity hospital in Aleppo was hit by bombs sent by the ‘rebels’, and women were killed, and nobody spoke about this.”
Aleppo’s Dr. Tony Sayegh has also been vocal about the blatant media bias on Aleppo. In July, regarding the Quds hospital and related propaganda, Dr. Sayegh told me:
“This hospital, in the Sukkari district, they made a big propaganda about it, ‘the last doctor in that area,’ which is absolutely wrong. The government has doctors working in that area who get their salaries from the government, even though the area is controlled by terrorists. For the government, all areas and and their inhabitants are Syrians. Areas where there are terrorists, like al-Manbij, like al-Bab, in all those areas there are many doctors working with the health ministry, and they take their salaries from the health ministry.”
Dr. Nabil Antaki gave the following overview of life for the civilians of government-secured Aleppo, from mid-2012 until our July meeting.
“Since July 2012, the main area of Aleppo receives every day mortars, bombs and gas canisters, sent by the ‘rebels’ on the civilians living in Aleppo. Here you have human damage more than there, but less physical destruction, because here we are receiving mortars and gas canister bombs. If a mortar hits the building, it might make a hole the size of a window, but also kill five people at once. In the part of Aleppo under the government control, every day we have dozens of injured and killed.“
In late April 2016, terrorists in the occupied eastern quarters of Aleppo, as well as then-occupied Beni Zaid and neighbouring districts, increased their normal bombing campaigns of mortars, gas canister explosives (from household to the the largest size canisters, stuffed with glass, bearings, metal shrapnel), explosive bullets, and powerful foreign-supplied rockets to from high-tens to over one hundred per day on the heavily-populated areas of Aleppo secured by the Syrian state.”
Of the heightened bombardment, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me:
“Usually you don’t have just one mortar, you have a rain of mortars: ten, twenty, thirty, and more in a few hours. Many people are wounded at the same time. When ambulances bring people to the public hospital, maybe twenty or thirty people arrive at the same time. The public hospitals lack enough medical staff and equipment. So if you have ten severely wounded persons arriving at the same time at the public hospital, by the time care comes, a victim has time to die.”
In his Aleppo Medical Association office, Dr. Zaher Buttal read from his diary statistics on the late April/early May terrorists’ bombardment campaign:
● April 23rd: 81 martyrs, 30 wounded.
● April 28th & 29th: Bloodiest days. 31 martyrs, 75 wounded **initial numbers only.
● From April 23rd-30th: 120 martyrs, over 800 wounded.
● May 3rd: 25 martyrs, 100 wounded (including 3 women killed in the al-Dabeet maternity hospital explosion).
Although the Aleppo Medical Association documented the daily number of killed and injured by this increased bombing campaign, and although the areas attacked included a number of registered Aleppo hospitals, corporate media and Wall Street-backed “human rights groups” in their Turkish-based, or further-removed, reporting on Aleppo preferred to cite “unnamed activists” and al-Qaeda-in-Syria “White Helmets” actors.
Like many (if not most) Aleppo residents, Dr. Zaher Buttal has never heard of the White Helmets.The fact that the head of the Medical Association is not aware of this group purporting to be rescuing civilians in Aleppo highlights the reality that they work solely in terrorist-occupied areas and for the terrorists themselves. […]