Under pretext of self-defence, Syria doctors carry weapons

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Syria doctors treating rebel fighter from the FSA. File photo

ARA News

Qamishli, Syria – The security vacuum and instability caused by the ongoing conflict in Syria led many civilians to take preventive steps in order to be prepared for self defence in case of emergency. Those who are not directly involved in the conflict apparently feel the danger of the continuous war and growing numbers of armed groups across the country.

Doctors, who operate as life saviours, are apparently not an exception. In the city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, medical staff of private and governmental hospitals and clinics are reportedly carrying pistols even when on duty.

This unprecedented phenomenon has spread among the majority of doctors and nurses in Qamishli, according to local sources.

“I saw myself one of the doctors entering an operation room in the National Hospital of Qamishlo (or Qamishi) while having a pistol on his waist belt,” said Yusuf Temmo, a resident of Qamishli city.

“Carrying weapons by doctors more than stethoscopes increases the societal militarization in the Kurdish regions of Syria,” Temmo told ARA News, in reference to Qamishli and other Kurdish-majority areas in Syria.

Goran Ali, opposition activist from Qamishli, said that members of the medical staff of al-Rahma private hospital in the city keep their personal pistols while performing their work.

“That is quite provocative to the patients,” Ali told ARA News.

Dr. Abdulrahman Muhammed, a diagnostician who has a private clinic in Qamishi, explained to ARA News the reason behind such measures, saying: “Abduction increased in the region, especially kidnapping doctors, engineers, pharmacists and rich people for a ransom.”

“We carry weapons to defend ourselves,” Dr. Muhammed said.

Noteworthy, Syrian northeastern cities, such as Qamishli and Hasakah, witnessed many cases of abduction to the pre-mentioned categories. Hence, many doctors and rich families migrated to Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, while those who remained have taken the decision of protecting themselves even if that would contradict the moral dimensions of their work’s core.

 

Reporting by: Dilshad Mohammed

Source: ARA News

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