Doctors risk their lives to treat the people wounded in Syria's civil war. Osama el Ezz, who helps victims in Aleppo, talked to DW about life in a city under bombardment.
Osama el Ezz is a surgeon working for the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). He frequently travels from Turkey to his hometown of Aleppo to bring medical assistance to people trapped in Syria's civil war. He is currently in a part of Aleppo that has been controlled by rebel forces since the summer of 2012. However, since Russia leaped to the aid of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad and started carrying out air attacks on this part of the city, the fight for Aleppo has become even more intense. El Ezz was not reachable by telephone, and conducted his interview with DW via text message.
DW: What is the situation in the part of Aleppo where you are?
Osama el Ezz: Life in this area is really hard. There's a lack of almost everything people need to survive. People here haven't had electricity for over six months. And the water supply is bad. There's hardly any water coming out of our taps at all, never mind drinking water. Of course, the economic situation is very bad, too. People have very little money. And they've given up hope. Very few have jobs, and many have injured family members they have to look after. Added to this is the fact that in many families the fathers - very often the providers - are no longer alive. They've either died in the fighting or been killed by bombs. Some men have also been kidnapped by the regime.
Are people trying to leave Aleppo?
Not everyone has the opportunity. There is very little petrol, and not everyone has a car. Above all, government troops have captured key roads and it's hard to get past the roadblocks. You also risk being hit by a bomb on the way. But there are people who are fleeing.
How has the situation in Aleppo changed since the attacks by Russia?
We experience heavy attacks on a daily basis, with various types of bombs - and the Russian intervention has made all this even worse. The government troops have always aimed for places where many people gather: public squares, schools, mosques. That has gotten worse, and the number of victims has risen enormously. We doctors are seeing, too, that the fighters' or victims' wounds are changing, and that's also because the Russians are clearly using different weapons and bombs. Unfortunately, there are no warnings either; the attacks just happen. No one can hide that fast, anyway, not least because not all of the houses have cellars.
What effect does this have on people?
People hardly dare to leave the house. They're traumatized; they need psychological and psychiatric help. Children wake screaming at night; pregnant women lose their babies. Men suffer a lot from this situation, too. There's a great deal of pressure on them. For one thing, they're trying to earn money. But they're also the ones who see all the destruction and dead in the city.
And what's the state of the medical care?
There are too few medicines and too few medical instruments. But what especially creates problems for us is that we can't always provide adequate treatment for serious illnesses like cancer.
What else are people afraid of?
They're very worried that government troops will take the entrances to the city and starve the people out. If these soldiers then take this part of town as well, they will kill even more people here. We know that Assad spares no one. That's a big horror scenario for the people in this part of Aleppo.