Snipers target mental patients in Syria’s Aleppo: NGO



Agence France Presse

Published — Thursday 10 January 2013

Last update 10 January 2013 8:36 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BEIRUT: Two abandoned patients fled a bombed-out mental hospital in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo this week and were killed by snipers, a watchdog said, highlighting the horror of a conflict which the UN says has killed 60,000 people.
The men were gunned down by sniper fire on Wednesday in the embattled city where fighting has been at a grinding stalemate for months, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said.
Both the Observatory and local residents reported that other mentally ill people had been found wandering the streets over the past week, and identified them as former patients of the Ibn Khaldun psychiatric hospital east of the city.
Its location alongside Nayrab military airbase and the adjacent Aleppo international airport meant Ibn Khaldun was severely damaged by shelling on December 23 as battles raged between troops and rebels, the Observatory said.
A video posted to YouTube by activists on December 25 shows sunlight pouring inside the hospital through gaping holes in its walls and shattered windows, chairs overturned and rooms empty.
One doctor told AFP that the administration had issued an appeal in late December for relatives of the patients to come and take them away because of deteriorating security.
The Dar Al-Ajaza psychiatric hospital in the Old City has also faced army bombardment and chronic shortages of food since fighting broke out in July, but it remains in operation thanks to dedicated staff and its central location.
To reach Ibn Khaldun from Aleppo city, however, requires a trip along the perilous airport road, where fighting rages unabated between rebels and troops.
The doctor admitted that neither he nor the colleagues he spoke to had been willing to risk their own safety and travel to work for more than a week, leaving some 100 patients to their own fate.
In a video posted to YouTube on New Year’s Day, a man is shown visiting the hospital and speaking about the conditions inside.
“This place is not hygienic. There’s no food, no water inside. We are going to bring them what they need,” the visitor said, attaching a padlock to the gate as he prepared to leave.
Some dozen patients clamoured at the entrance.
“We have been bombed... We have no basics, no food, electricity, nothing,” one cried.
The same visitor was seen in another video posted on Tuesday, entitled “The reason for moving the patients at Ibn Khaldun hospital.”
“Because of the shelling on the hospital, a lot of staff and patients fled. We have taken them to a safe place where we will provide everything for them,” a man said, introducing himself as a member of the society for Promotion of Virtue and Aid to the Oppressed.
The camera panned to show basic meals of sandwiches and water being assembled for the patients in a spotless room.
The doctor confirmed that the patients have been transferred to a benevolent society in the northeastern district of Masaken Hanano, but warned that they were still at risk.
“This charity was not prepared to receive mentally ill patients and cannot provide the necessary care or guards. There have been repeated cases of patients fleeing,” he said.
Masaken Hanano residents said the patients had been breaking out of the charity for the past week and roaming the streets.
“Every time they escape we take them back,” Abdel Hamid, a local plumber, told AFP.
But in the midst of a brutal war that has left the country’s once thriving commercial hub bereft of electricity, bread and security, this may be the best the local people can do.
The director of Ibn Khaldun hospital was not available for comment because of severed communications in the city.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Grand Mufti and Chairman of the Council of Senior Scholarships Sheikh Abdulaziz Abdullah Al-Asheikh called on astronomers questioning the accuracy of prayer timings in the Umm Al-Qura calendar to refrain from confusing people, and confirmed t...
JEDDAH: Turkey’s security agencies have arrested 15,000 members of the Daesh terrorist organization at its airports and border crossings, a diplomat said here recently.The Daesh members had attempted to enter Turkey territory, said Fikrat Ozar, consu...
JEDDAH: The Saudi government has welcomed the Gulf Cooperation Council’s proposals to fight terrorist groups that are attempting to undermine the region’s security and social fabric.This comes in the wake of an extraordinary meeting held by the GCC’s...
JEDDAH: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) is racing against the clock to unravel the circumstances surrounding the enrollment of 107,000 beneficiaries on the lists of social insurance without legal entitlements. These beneficiaries are...
MADINAH: Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Madinah and chairperson of the board of directors of the Takaful Welfare Society for Orphan Care in Madinah, has inaugurated a project to reconstruct houses of orphans.According to the Takaful program, 1...
RIYADH: The Kingdom on Tuesday announced that vaccination against meningitis is mandatory for all local and international Haj pilgrims, while flu shots are recommended for their own safety.Health Ministry Spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News...
MAKKAH: A mentally-ill Turkish man killed a Sudanese patient in the Makkah Mental Health Hospital of King Abdul Aziz Hospital in Al-Zahir, a news website has reported, quoting Makkah police.The Turkish patient, in his 50s, confronted the Sudanese whe...
RIYADH: Mohammed Ali Al-Husseini, secretary-general of the Arab Muslim Council, based in Lebanon, said here recently that Saudi Arabia enjoys the trust of the international community as the first reference for the Muslim world.The Lebanese Shiite lea...
RIYADH: The King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) is working closely with the Ministry of Transportation, the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC), the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) and the Director-General of Military Surveying t...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has received requests from 14 governmental agencies that their employees be sent abroad for studies in different specialities. The request is to include the employees as part of the third phase of Custodian of the Tw...
RIYADH: Argentina enjoys excellent ties with Saudi Arabia as it marks its 199th Independence Day anniversary on July 9, according to Ambassador Jaime Sergio Cerda.“Excellent bilateral ties bind the two countries as Argentina holds its 199th Independe...
JEDDAH/KUWAIT CITY: Three Saudi brothers have been arrested in connection with the suicide bombing of a mosque in Kuwait last month, the Saudi and Kuwaiti authorities said on Tuesday. Daesh owned up the attack during Friday prayers, which killed 27...
MAKKAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman performed funeral prayers for Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaed, the deceased governor of the Northern Borders Province, at the Grand Mosque on Sunday night.Those present included Makkah G...
JEDDAH: More than 14 million worshippers and pilgrims visited Makkah in the first 16 days of Ramadan, a 40 percent increase compared to the same period last year.These figures were unveiled at a meeting of the Central Haj Committee, chaired by Makkah...
KUWAIT: Kuwait has detained 26 people suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing on a Shiite mosque last month that killed 27 people, a local daily reported on Monday, quoting the public prosecutor.The June 26 attack by Daesh jolted Kuwait, raisin...

Stay Connected

Facebook