This Heartbreaking Video Shows How Far Syrians Have to Travel to Find Life-Saving Care

In the northern town of Nahariya, Israel, more the 70 wounded victims from neighboring Syria are being treated by Israeli doctors. This is a poignant scene, given Israel and Syria's traditionally tense relations. NBC reporter Geraint Vincent visited Western Galilee Medical Center and spoke with doctors and family members of patients:


NBCNews.com 


The patients' identities have been kept confidential due to fears that the Syrian victims could face backlash at home for taking refuge in Israel.

All of those treated have severe injuries as a result of horrific violence erupting in Syria. While recent reports indicate a major outbreak of chemical warfare using the chemical agent sarin gas, thus far doctors say the most common injuries they've seen are gunshot wounds and blast injuries.

"Most of them arrive unconscious," said Masad Barhoum, clinical director at the Israeli hospital. "When they wake up and find that they are in Israel they are anxious and afraid.  We don't ask them any questions, we just do what we can to make them feel comfortable."

It is a rare scene of humanity in which tragedy has encouraged a joining of unlikely friends in shared effort to save the lives of innocent victims, many of whom are children. But the beauty of these people coming together is tainted not only by the tragedy at hand, but also by the fears patients have in returning home if they survive life-saving procedures in Israel's hospitals.

While Israeli doctors are tending to Syrian patients, the Israeli military has been handing out gas masks and preparing for a possible attack from Syria or Hezbollah, Lebanese allies of President Bashar al-Assad. 

A weeping Syrian woman who brought her 13-year-old child to the hospital after she was hit by a sniper expressed this pain, saying, "The hospital in my town was destroyed.  They have saved her here, but now I am afraid to go back.  We will be marked."

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Rachel George

Rachel is a PhD candidate in International Relations at the London School of Economics. She holds a BA in Politics from Princeton and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard. Her interests include journalism, U.S. foreign policy, human rights, and international law.

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