This is incredibly urgent. When I spoke to my friend last night, he said that Isis fighters had reached his hospital’s car park. They wanted to take the medical staff as hostages.
His hospital in the northern town of Marea has two specialisms -- one is a surgical facility and the other for women and children. For years its 36 medical staff have worked to provide healthcare for the 12,000 civilians left in the town -- over half are women and children.
When I visited the hospital last year, the situation was critical. I contacted US Ambassador Samantha Power and told her that Isis were only a few kilometers away.
Now the hospital could be overrun any minute.
The town of Marea in northern Syria is being attacked on all sides. By Isis, by the Assad regime and also by Kurdish forces. Isis hate this town particularly because it represents a non-jihadist view of Syria. The people in Marea detest extremism and there are no extremists there. They want to be free of the Assad regime and groups like Isis.
The US and others have done nothing so far to protect this town. The messages I get over Whatsapp from the head doctor are heartbreaking. If the world cannot protect his hospital and patients from Isis then nobody knows what will happen.
It really doesn’t get more urgent than this.
Ambassador Power has long championed the voices of Syria’s medics, now is the time to really prove it. This week we saw published photos of US soldiers on the ground in Syria fighting Isis. But why have they turned their back on Marea? Why are they indifferent to this hospital on the front line?
Thank you for supporting this urgent call.
Dr Zaher Sahloul