Civil war in Syria aggravates suffering of cancer patients

Civil war in Syria aggravates suffering of cancer patients

Cancer patients in dire need of treatment centers, medication due to damaged health infrastructure in northern Syria

By Esref Musa and Ahmet Karaahmet

IDLIB, Syria (AA) - The Syrian Army supported by Russia continue to target and attack the health infrastructure in Syria’s northwestern city of Idlib.

The attacks have resulted in severe problems for cancer patients, including limited treatment and difficulty accessing necessary medication.

The conditions in Idlib have made it nearly impossible for cancer patients to receive adequate treatment as a result of the social and economic consequences of the war, the scarcity of treatment options, and challenges in procuring essential drugs.

The number of cancer patients in need of treatment in Idlib and surrounding areas under the control of the Syrian National Army amounts to 3,200.

According to the Health Director of Idlib, Dr. Zuheyr Karrat, there are ongoing efforts with local and international partners to establish a hospital project for cancer treatment in Syria. However, the project is expected to be completed in approximately 18 months.

He said 323 cancer patients receive treatment in Türkiye, but the number of patients “surpasses the capacity that Türkiye can handle on its own.”

Karrat emphasized the urgency, stating that the total number of patients is around 3,200, including “608 patients who require immediate treatment.”

He also highlighted the lack of medical health centers and the available drugs and equipment for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Karrat pleaded for humanitarian aid from the UN, WHO, and the international community to provide essential treatment and medications for cancer patients in Idlib.

One affected individual, 11-year-old Mohammed Sattuf from al-Jina village in the western countryside of Aleppo, expressed his desire for cancer-stricken children like himself to receive treatment.

“I want to breathe and eat like normal people. I want to be treated,” he told Anadolu.

Firas Mansur, a local activist, stressed that sending patients to Türkiye is not a comprehensive solution to the problem. He called upon the UN, international organizations, and Arab countries to take responsibility and establish a treatment center in Idlib.

Mansur stated that the health sector in Idlib is fragile, as the health infrastructure has been the target of airstrikes in Syria since 2015.

“We demand supplying drugs and medical equipment,” he said.

For his part, Rami Sayyid, a media worker in Idlib, extended gratitude to Türkiye for its efforts in treating hundreds of cancer patients and wounded individuals.

He urged the UN and international organizations to address the humanitarian crisis and emphasized the need for an emergency cancer center to prevent further losses.

“This is a humanitarian crisis. The number of patients is quite high. A treatment center should be established urgently for them. Otherwise, we will lose someone every day,” Sayyid said.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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