Exclusive: Inside the children's clinic on Syria's front-line as Idlib assault looms

Exclusive: Inside the children's clinic on Syria's front-line as Idlib assault looms
In pictures: Medical staff protest against the anticipated regime assault in Idlib, as makeshift health centres continue to treat the injured, elderly and infirm.
2 min read
17 Sep, 2018
Children on the front-lines are the most vulnerable as shelling continues in Idlib [Aaref Watad]

Brandishing roses and wearing white coats and blue surgical uniforms, doctors and nurses rallied on Sunday in the rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, urging the international community to protect them against the long-expected offensive by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

Around 200 medical staff gathered in front of the Etma charity hospital in northern Idlib, holding placards and banners warning that medical facilities must not be made a target.

Other signs read: "We want freedom and dignity" and "Assad kills us with his chemical weapons".

Russia and the Syrian regime have been blamed by human rights groups and NGOs for routinely hitting hospitals, as well as other civilian areas.

In the nearby Kfar Lusin refugee camp by the border with Turkey, a small medical centre staffed by just four people caters to the injured, elderly and infirm. Most patients are children.

The field hospital, hosted in a series of metal containers, has treated more than 1,500 children and is the only medical facility in the area.

Doctors work in these makeshift facilities to treat those wounded in the recent shelling by the Syrian regime in Idlib.

Syrian photojournalist Aaref Watad captured both the centre's work, and the protest by medical staff against the anticipated Russian-backed regime assault.

Aaref Watad is a journalist and photographer from northern Syria. Follow him on Twitter @aboshamariha