For immediate release
For more information contact [email protected] / Kat Fallon, Senior Humanitarian Advocacy Lead at The Syria Campaign at +19785058231
Dr. Mohamad Katoub, Turkey Advocacy Manager at Syrian American Medical Society at +905316550082
Release: Doctors make desperate plea for evacuation of conjoined twins born in Syria
Damascus, 11th August 2016
Syrian doctors are calling on the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN to evacuate 19 day old conjoined twins who are trapped in the besieged area of East Ghouta, Syria. Without emergency medical assistance, they say the twin boys – named Moaz and Nawras – will die within days.
After their birth on July 23rd, medical professionals performed an ultrasound which revealed that the twins have two conjoined hearts and require immediate surgery to stand a chance of survival. In recent hours, calls to #EvacuateTheTwins have gathered pace on social media.
Dr. Bakr is chair of the United Medical Office of East Ghouta and the director of the hospital where the two boys were born. He said:
“I have been working with these twins since they were born and I knew immediately that they needed special help. Their hearts are joined together and without surgery they won’t survive. These boys need to be evacuated, and I have been requesting this to happen for many days. Since speaking with the media I have received a few calls, but I still don’t see any action. The situation could not be more urgent.”
East Ghouta has been under siege since 2013. Its 418,000 residents have been cut off from food and medicine as part of the Syrian Government’s systematic use of ‘submit or starve’ sieges. Up to two million people are under siege across Syria, and many are in need of urgent medical evacuation.
Responding to the news, Anna Nolan from advocacy group The Syria Campaign said: “The WHO has permission from the UN Security Council to enter Eastern Ghouta — they should have been there days ago. Its an utter disgrace than it the middle of the biggest UN aid operation in history, babies could be dying just a few kilometres from hotels where UN staff sleep.”
“We cannot stand by whilst Moaz and Nawras become the latest names added to a list of hundreds who have died under siege whilst awaiting medical care.”
The parents of the twins are internally displaced persons who have been living under siege for over three years. Three other children in the family are suffering from the effects of siege, but the twins’ father says he is willing to stay inside besieged East Ghouta with his other children as long as the twins and their mother can leave.
Both the hospital and local medical organizations have contacted the World Health Organization and Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Damascus consistently over the last four days, but they have not received a reply with any concrete steps.
“The whole process of medical evacuations is taking far too long. The WHO and UNOCHA are not using their influence on the Syrian government as they should to make the process quicker. We have been losing people under siege because of the long process of medical evacuation for years. WHO needs to take immediate action to evacuate these twins and others. These are rights that should not negotiated – it is a right for everyone to have health services,” said Mohamad Katoub, Turkey Advocacy Manager for Syrian American Medical Society.
Photos available here
NOTES TO EDITORS
– The five minute video was shown at today’s meeting of the UN Arria forum, which was convened to discuss the humanitarian and political dimensions of the current offensive on Aleppo. The session was convened by the US Mission and speakers included Dr. Zaher Sahloul and Dr. Samer Attar, who work with the Syrian American Medical Society and have recently returned from Aleppo.
– The Syria Campaign is an independent advocacy group campaigning for the protection of civilians.