Syrian patients find healing with Türkiye’s help
460 cancer patients currently receiving hospital treatment in northwestern Syria
Omer Koparan |
27.07.2023 – Update : 28.07.2023
Türkiye has provided a glimmer of hope for Syrians in need of medical care, both within its own borders and in the war-torn nation’s northwest.
Cancer patients who live in areas cleared of terror elements through Türkiye’s anti-terror operations, Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, can now receive treatment in the oncology departments at hospitals in the liberated towns al-Bab, Jarablus, and Afrin.
In the region, there are currently a total of 271 patients seeking treatment. Al-Bab hospital accommodates 176 Syrian patients, followed by Afrin with 50 and Jarablus with 45.
Across all hospitals in Syria, there are now 460 civilian cancer patients receiving oncology services.
To support these efforts, a Turkish oncologist has been dedicating a day of the week to serve patients at al-Bab hospital.
Doctors can also send patients to Türkiye if their treatment calls for high-level medical techniques.
In contrast, civilians in the northwestern Idlib province, where regime forces and their backers have targeted healthcare services, face difficulty due to limited access to medication and treatment.
Throughout the country’s civil war, now in its 12th year, a significant number of cancer patients have suffered due to a lack of proper medical services. Some of these in places under regime control have attempted to move to Idlib in hopes of getting treatment in Türkiye.
While Türkiye has long been treating emergency and cancer cases, patient referrals were significantly reduced after devastating twin earthquakes hit the south of the country on Feb. 6.
However, efforts have been made to normalize the process to continue cancer treatment in Türkiye’s southern provinces of Adana and Mersin, with coordinated patient referrals aiming to alleviate the suffering of cancer patients in the Idlib region.
Syria has been embroiled in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others displaced, according to UN estimates.
*Writing by Merve Berker