Contents page 1 — “In Syria, the children paint the bodies,” page 2 — Two Doctors for a day for 100 children On a page to read
in mid-September had the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed to create in the Northern Syrian province of Idlib, a demilitarized buffer zone. Thus, an Offensive by the Syrian army should be prevented at the last big rebel territory. The date was March 15. October, but the Islamists group Hajat Tahrir al-sham was the deadline for a withdrawal to elapse, the ceasefire remains fragile.
The children’s doctor Nour, which we call, for security reasons only your first name, was born in Hama, and has studied in Aleppo medicine. She lives in 2017 in Turkey, but every week, several times across the border to Syria, where she works in a hospital. She belongs to the auxiliary organization, the Syrian American Medical Society (Sams) and is one of the last remaining Doctors in the North of Syria. Currently, they visited, together with colleagues from European cities, to report to politicians and journalists about the situation in their homeland. We met them in Berlin for an Interview.
Zeit ONLINE: In Germany, some politicians, delinquent refugees back to Syria to deport to discuss. From the point of view would be currently possible?
Nour: no, that would be negligence. There is in Syria no peace, nowhere. In the rebel areas is fought, also, there are grenade attacks by the regime, perhaps even a renewed bomb attacks. In the regime areas, it is not sure that President Bashar al-Assad leaves, critics are systematically arrested. Without a clear and transparent guarantees of safety for many Syrians fear the revenge of the regime. A return is only possible, if the international Standards under the supervision of the UN refugee Agency are complied with.
TIME ONLINE: you work in a children’s hospital in the town of Atareb, in the countryside of Aleppo. How’s it look up there?
Nour: Atareb is situated in one of the de-Escalation areas, which were agreed to by Russia, Iran and Turkey. Nevertheless, the Regime has bombed the place again and again, the destruction can be seen everywhere. The hospital where I work, was damaged due to a bomb attack hard. It has taken a long time, until we had it repaired so that we could work on it.
Zeit ONLINE: How is the security situation?
Nour: It is not stable. Again and again grenades hit. Two weeks ago a grenade met in a neighbouring village, a pharmacy, apparently it should be deliberately destroyed. The pharmacist and a further ten people were killed. Despite the agreed ceasefire, the Regime attacks again and again. We see it because we treat the victims of these attacks.
TIME ONLINE: For years, the Syrian and Russian air attack targeted hospitals. Nevertheless, the United Nations have transmitted the coordinates of the hospitals in Idlib, the Syrian and Russian government. How do you see that?
Nour: That was our idea. We had decided to, after the Regime had bombed in Ostghuta nonstop hospitals and medical facilities. The locations of the hospitals are already well known, the Regime has built it once. We wanted to achieve, that the Syrian and Russian government can’t then claim they didn’t know that there are hospitals and the responsibility for the attacks. But that didn’t work. Since we have published the coordinates, have been bombed five hospitals, one of them directly the next day. Unfortunately, there has been no strong reaction by the United Nations.
TIME ONLINE: How does the Syrian Regime currently in Idlib?
Nour: My husband is a surgeon and works in a hospital in the North West of Idlib, near the Turkish border. There are currently no bombings, but fighting between the rebel groups. My husband says: people are afraid of the attacks of the regime. They make no plans for the future. They live from one day to the other.
TIME ONLINE: Is justified in their concern?
Nour: In any case. A Cousin of Assad controls the state-owned telecommunications network, the Regime can send to the Syrians with a Syrian Sim card, text messages. That’s always been part of their psychological warfare. Only a few days after the agreement of the ceasefire, the Regime has sent a message to the people in Idlib: “We will take control of Idlib and you terrorists, kill them all.” Assad has bombed the country into rubble in order to stay in Power. He will not stop until he has brought all of Syria back under his control.
TIME ONLINE: In Idlib, more than three million people, many of them have fled from other regions there. In the case of an escalation of the fighting, they would be caught, because in other parts of the country, you can no longer flee.
Nour: That’s true. The border to Turkey. In the regime, they are not able to areas, as for Assad, anyone who has lived in a rebel area is noted, a Terrorist, and lists. Also civilians who have fought for anyone: Doctors, bakers, teachers. If you were to go back to the regime of the area, would put the Regime in torture prisons.
In a renewed bombing it would be a disaster. Even now, the situation for the people there to be very bad, especially near the border, where most of them are. The camps are overcrowded. Many families sleep ruins in self-built tents on the street or in Houses. If it rains, they sleep in the mud. Soon it will be too cold for you.
TIME ONLINE: More than half of Idlib is controlled by Hajat Tahrir al-sham, an Alliance led by the former Syrian Al-Qaeda offshoot. The Rest is controlled by rival rebel groups. There are reports of violence and lawlessness.
Nour: The reports are correct, many People are afraid of the rebels. In Atareb, you will not get you much. The place is no longer under your control. Atareb is known for his civil resistance against both the Assad Regime and against Islamist groups. The residents have once can the “Islamic state” (IS), Al-Nusra militants peacefully out of the city to banish. As the fighters tried to take over from Hajat Tahrir al-sham a few months ago, the control Atareb, the residents closed to them. Many Syrians oppose the Islamists, even if Assad is claiming something else. In the clinic we do not ask the children whether their parents support the rebels, we treat all children the same.