Petition update

This is Aleppo today

Dr. Hamza Al Khatib
Aleppo, Syria

Sep 8, 2016 — Dear friends,

I have been overwhelmed by your outpouring of support. It is heartening to see that so many people across the world have joined my call, and the call of my fellow physicians, to Obama and Merkel to do more to ensure the people of Aleppo are no longer subject to vicious bombings and brutal sieges.

But it is with a heavy heart that I now write to you, as a Syrian Government offensive, supported by Russian airstrikes, has left eastern Aleppo re-encircled and cut off from desperately needed medical and humanitarian aid.

It is hard to describe the anxiety of impending starvation. The knowledge that each meal will be smaller than the last, that each patient will have less anesthesia than the one before him or her. It is like carrying around a weight that grows heavier by the day, dragging you towards the ground.

This is the reality for the 300,000 civilians trapped in Eastern Aleppo – my family, friends, and patients who now all face an uncertain fate. As we face a debilitating siege, relentless bombardment, and now, chemical weapons, our suffering is as much psychological as it is physical . As deadly as these chemical attacks are, their real impact is making our homes feel unlivable, as though even the air we breathe can take our lives from us.

Just this week government planes dropped canisters filled with chlorine sending dozens to our hospitals, gasping for air. This is another in a series of chemical attacks by the Syrian government, who have shown no regard for Obama’s “red line” on the use of these internationally banned weapons. President Obama, too, seems insufficiently concerned about these violations.

As I rushed to treat the victims of the attack I was shocked to see children, as young as 5 and 6, knew to hold the oxygen masks to their faces without the help of doctors or parents. What does it say when these attacks have become so routine that even children have learned to treat themselves amidst the chaos? What does it say about what this war is doing to our children when holding a gas mask to their faces comes as easy as holding a colored pencil to paper?

But I have made a pledge to remain by the people of this city and my commitment to that is unwavering, even in the face of relentless bombardment. Frustrated, angry, and exhausted as I am, I have not lost hope. The heroic people of this city give me hope, as does the knowledge that across the world people like you are taking a stand for Aleppo. With your voice, you can assure that the people of this city do not suffer in silence. I’ll be in touch with more updates from Aleppo as soon as I can, but in the meantime, please share this campaign as widely as you can and help us let the world know what is happening in Aleppo.

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