Saudi surgeons separate Syrian conjoined twins in complex 7-hour operation

Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
The parents of the twins expressed their happiness and sincere thanks for the provision of the necessary assistance by KSrelief. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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The parents of the twins expressed their happiness and sincere thanks for the provision of the necessary assistance by KSrelief. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 07 July 2023
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Saudi surgeons separate Syrian conjoined twins in complex 7-hour operation

Bassam and Ihsan were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure. (AN Photo by Huda Bashatah)
  • Separation surgery took place in five stages and involved a 26-member medical team comprised of consultant, specialists, technical, nursing, and support staff

RIYADH: A team of Saudi surgeons on Thursday separated Syrian conjoined twins during a seven-hour operation carried out at the King Abdullah Specialist Children’s Hospital in Riyadh.

Bassam and Ihsan, who are 32 months old and weigh around 19 kilograms, were said to be in a stable condition following the complicated surgical procedure.

The twins shared lower chest, abdomen, liver, and intestines, with Ihsan being the more dominant and Bassam missing urinary and reproductive systems including kidney, ureter, bladder, and male reproductive organs.

Separation surgery took place in five stages and involved a 26-member medical team comprised of consultant, specialists, technical, nursing, and support staff.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, adviser at the Royal Court and general supervisor of the Saudi aid agency KSrelief, led the operation undertaken on the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The surgery was made all the more complex due to Ihsan having major congenital heart defects and cerebral development atrophy, reducing his chances of survival. Al-Rabeeah pointed out that to save Bassam’s life, the medical team decided to perform the operation to separate the twins.

He said: “The existence of conjoined organs that are important and sensitive makes a twin separation operation difficult, as well as the existence of congenital defects in some organs, such as the heart, urinary system, or the reproductive system and, at times, in the brain, makes the operation complex.

“Therefore, the difficulty lies in how the twins are conjoined, and to what degree exactly, and congenital defect generally makes the operation complex, performed in specific medical centers in the world.”

After the procedure, the twins were transferred to a children’s intensive care unit where they will remain under supervision.

The children’s parents thanked the king, crown prince, and medical team for their support.

Mahmud Salih, their father, said: “We communicated with the Saudi aid agency, and they got back to us, all thanks to them. All procedures were done in the best possible way, from the start until we arrived here.

“It was a critical case, and the separation operation was required. All praise to Allah. The benefactors connected with us, and we were eased by King Abdullah hospital, Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, and the excellent medical staff.”

The surgery was the 58th operation to separate conjoined twins conducted under a Saudi program which has supervised 130 cases from 23 countries since 1990.

Majd Nafea, a nurse and member of the 26-strong multidisciplinary team, started working on the specialist operations in 2019.

She said: “The first operation I worked in was generally difficult for me, as I had never witnessed a twin separation operation. But after that, and with each operation, it has become a bit easier.”

Al-Rabeeah said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has invested in its cadres, its citizens, and everyone has obtained a distinguished education in the most prestigious universities in the world.

“Now they are returning to prove that Saudi cadres are representative of the Kingdom, and one such example is the Saudi program for the separation of conjoined twins.”

The twins and their parents were flown from the Turkish capital Ankara to Saudi Arabia on May 22.

“It has been a month since we arrived, and there’s no better welcome than the one we received. May Allah reward them 1,000 times, and bless them,” Salih added.


KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs
Updated 27 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency, KSrelief, and the UN held talks on their respective volunteer programs in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Ali bin Saad Al-Qarni, director of volunteer programs at KSrelief, met with Niels Knudsen, who is the external communications chief for the UN Volunteers program. There were several UN officials present at the meeting.

Al-Qarni said KSrelief has 597 volunteer projects running in 40 countries across the world, which cover health, education, and vocational training.

The projects have benefited more than 1.5 million people.

Al-Qarni also highlighted KSrelief’s efforts in developing the skills of volunteers and humanitarian workers in needy countries around the globe.

Knudsen and Al-Qarni held discussions on future areas of cooperation.


Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

RIYADH: An official Saudi source denied on Monday allegations circulating on social media platforms regarding a meeting between Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, and an Israeli occupation official, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The same source said in a statement carried by SPA that the video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi.

“The individual shook (the Saudi minister’s) hand and then was introduced, without (Al-Qasabi’s) prior knowledge,” the source told SPA.

This was followed by Israeli media reports claiming that the two discussed peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with one Israeli outlet running a picture of the two under the heading: “Israeli minister and Saudi counterpart shake hands and discuss ‘making history together.’”

The source also affirmed to SPA Saudi Arabia’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.


King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2024
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King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
  • The award was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
  • Interior minister said the council is keen to achieve stability and development in the Arab world

RIYADH: King Salman was given the Prince Naif Award for Arab Security on Monday for his services to the security of the Arab community, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council conferred the award and it was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud in Tunis during a council meeting.  

The minister said the meeting was being held at a time when the Palestinian people are experiencing an unstable security situation which has caused the suffering of thousands of children, women, and the elderly. 

He said that the council, since its inception, is keen to achieve security for Arabs and bring about stability and development.

Prince Abdulaziz said the world is witnessing developments in cyber crime, the misuse of artificial intelligence, and advanced drug trafficking methods. 

These developments have “created fertile ground for the spread of multiple types of organized crime,” armed organizations, and terrorist groups which requires developing plans to invest in infrastructure and support development, education, and capacity building to confront these threats. 

He added that Arab coordination to deal with these threats is important in order to mitigate the possible negative repercussions from such threats. 


Saudi crown prince receives chairman of Russia’s State Duma

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
Updated 26 February 2024
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Saudi crown prince receives chairman of Russia’s State Duma

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin in Riyadh.
  • During the reception, the crown prince and Vyacheslav Volodin discussed the friendly relations between their countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received the chairman of Russia’s State Duma in Riyadh on Monday.

During the reception, the crown prince and Vyacheslav Volodin discussed the friendly relations between the Kingdom and Russia.

They also reviewed prospects for parliamentary cooperation and discussed issues of common interest.


Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival

Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival
Updated 26 February 2024
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Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival

Soulful Arab, French songs mark opening of Francophonie Festival
  • French-Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany pays tribute to Fayrouz, Dalida and Farid Al-Atrash
  • Month-long event will have events organized by French-speaking nations

JEDDAH: French-Egyptian opera singer Farrah El-Dibany opened the Francophonie Festival on Sunday here with soulful tributes to Arab legends including Fayrouz, Dalida and Farid Al-Atrash.

Dressed in white and gold attire, reminiscent of the clothing of the ancient Egyptians, El-Dibany, accompanied by Mina Barsoum on piano, Ahmed Boustaji on oud, and Aymen Attitallah on percussion, took the audience on a musical journey transcending borders and cultures.

El-Dibany’s repertoire included iconic French tunes such as “Je suis malade” and Arabic classics.

Diplomats, French expats, and cultural enthusiasts from Saudi Arabia and France attended the launch event. (Supplied)

El-Dibany said: “I am so thankful for being here in Jeddah for the first time,” encapsulating the spirit of cultural exchange and collaboration that defines the Francophonie Festival.

Prior to the performance, the French consul-general in Jeddah, Mohammed Nehad, spoke about the festival’s significance.

FASTFACTS

● The Francophonie Festival’s aim is to promote French and foster education, cultural and business ties with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

● For the opening performance, Farrah El-Dibany was accompanied by Mina Barsoum on piano, Ahmed Boustaji on oud, and Aymen Attitallah on percussion.

● The launch event was attended by diplomats, French expatriates, and cultural enthusiasts, as well as Saudi Arabian officials and citizens.

He said the aim was to promote French and foster education, cultural and business ties with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

“Through this festival, we aim to bring people together … francophone itself is a great example for cultural exchange,” he told Arab News.

The launch event was attended by diplomats, French expatriates, and cultural enthusiasts, as well as Saudi Arabia officials and citizens.

Cultural exchange and education are the main purposes of the festival in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Among those in attendance was Larry Lamartiniere, the director of Alliance Francaise in Jeddah, who lauded El-Dibany’s performance as a fitting inauguration of the month-long Mois de la Francophonie 2024 in Saudi Arabia.

He told Arab News: “During March, the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise Saudi Arabia alongside other French-speaking countries and partners will organize events celebrating the rich diversity of francophone cultures.”

Established in 1970, the month is aimed at promoting cultural ties and human development across French-speaking nations worldwide. In Saudi Arabia, the festival acts as a platform for cultural exchange and education.

Cultural exchange and education are the main purposes of the festival in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

Several upcoming events include Benjamin Piat performing at NougCafe on Feb. 28, and the French University Graduates’ Night on March 27.

The Alliance Francaise will host a children’s workshop on Feb. 29, featuring culinary and visual arts programs. This will take place alongside a screening of the 2022 French film “Divertimento” that is the story of twin teenage sisters who dream of forming their own orchestra and making classical music available to everyone.

Senegal’s consulate will have discussions and cultural exchanges, the Francophonie Village will have a celebration of food, clothing and folk dance; and there will also be films shown at various schools, consulates and French clubs.