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Data of doctors tortured and killed detainees in Homs Military Hospital

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Behind the walls of the Military Hospital in central Homs city and inside its wings was the worst kind of torture and liquidation practiced against the wounded and injured in the peaceful demonstrations in the beginning of the outbreak of the revolution in the city and its countryside. The hospital turned into a "slaughterhouse" where there is no place for mercy. 

A video, broadcasted on Channel 4 in 2012, showed shocking scenes of the hospital, located in the Al-Wa’ar west of Homs, and of the injured, who were subjected to torture in their beds by doctors, medical staff and security personnel.

In the video, which was filmed in the first three months of the revolution, a number of wounded were blindfolded and handcuffed to the beds. According to the orders of the regime, all those killed or injured in the demonstrations in Homs were brought to Abdul Qadir Al Shaqfa Hospital to be sadistically tortured with whips, batons and broken legs, as well as electric shock. Instead of treating them, the feet of the injured are bent in the opposite way until they are broken or their heads are beaten against the walls. They are also tied to the iron beds and prevented from urinating and from eating for days.

Dr. Mohammed Wahbi, who joined the military hospital to pursue his specialty in urinary surgery in February 2011, told Zaman al-Wasl aspects of what he experienced and saw inside the hospital. He was witness to many inhumane and barbaric practices by the hospital staff, including the director of the hospital Ali Assi, who comes from the city of Masyaf. A large number of doctors and nursing staff and even the contracting cleaning company, as our correspondent says, had a role in torturing the injured, because most of their workers were informants and agents of the regime. The torture was carried out everywhere, from the ambulance to the hospital wings, radiology department, in the toilets, and even in intensive care departments.

Alaa Moussa, one of the doctors accused of torturing the wounded in the military hospital, is specialized in orthopedic surgery, from Al-Hawash village in Wadi al-Nasara. Our speaker confirmed that the doctor, who recently took refuge in Germany, had a great enmity toward the demonstrators, and delighted in torturing the injured as a kind of show of his loyalty to the regime. Once, after an injured was brought, the doctor had poured alcohol on his male member, set it on fire, and then had sat down to enjoy his cries and pain.

One day in Ramadan, Wahbi recounts, security forces have brought a wounded young man from Al-Khalidiyah. He went - he says - to the operating room to assist the specialist in the operation, which lasted 6 hours and consisted of opening the abdomen and treating intestinal irritation. As he was following the treatment of the young man, inserting a urinary catheter, a military police officer, named Jihad, enlisted from the city of Raqqa, started torturing the injured young man and beating him on the location of the incision after he woke up from anesthesia. Then, as our source tells, he intervened asking that if "You wanted to kill him, why did not you kill him before he received treatment ". So he was accused of defending a terrorist. The next day, Wahbi informed the hospital director of the matter, who then gathered all the resident doctors and specialists and warned them not to interfere with the work of the military police or the army. He warned them against dealing with or helping any of the wounded armed terrorists, as he described it, that their work is only medical. This indicates that torture was a systematic subject rather than individual acts.

Dr. Wahbi said that he witnessed the murder of a person inside the military hospital during the events of Ar-Rastan. By then ambulances were used to the transfer of security and army casualties, but a nurse and driver got out of the ambulance, shouting, "we brought an armed man!”.

Wahbi, who was on ambulance shift, added that the injured person was wearing a “Jalabiya” and walking on his feet with no evidence of injury. He was taken to the ambulance and when Wahbi tried to examine him, he was surprised by a number of cleaning staff from “Swan” company attacking and beating him, shouting, "Terrorists, saboteurs ... you want to sabotage the country," at him.

He added that a specialist in general surgery, named Shuaib al-Naqri from Ram al-Anz village, came later and told those around him that the person in question needed an operation, although he did not need it, as there were no traces of blood or injury on his body, except for the bruises he received at the time.

However, the patient was admitted to the operating room with Dr. Shuaib and his cousin, Osama al-Naqri, who was in his second year of specialization in surgery. When Wahbi tried to enter the operating room, he was stopped by the head of military police detachment, Ayman Muhammad from the loyalist village of ‘Arqaya in Masiaf countryside, where he stood at the door and asked him to stay in the ambulance wing. A quarter of an hour later, Dr. Shuaib al-Naqri, came out and asked the registration staff to record that “the injured has died of uncontrolled bleeding.”

Wahbi confirmed that the victim was sentenced to be killed, but the method is unknown. The victim may have been given a potassium injection or anything with fluoride, which led to his immediate death, as happened in many cases in the hospital.

If he is from Al-Khalidiyah, then he is against us.

Among the cases that indicate the sectarianism and discrimination of the doctors of the military hospital—according to the doctor from Qala’at al-Hosn in the West of Homs countryside—is a wounded soldier with a cut artery in his neck. The injured was admitted to the operating room and was treated by Dr. Nawaf al-Qasab from Qalb Loze village in Idlib, a vascular surgeon who was recruited and not a volunteer. The patient was bleeding badly, so he asked the nursing staff to come in to help him because the patient was a regime recruit. The head of nursing, however, argued that the recruit was from Al-Khalidiyah and added, "After we treat him, he will turn against us." Dr. Wahbi states, "The doctor tried to perform surgical operation with my help, but the arterial injury and severe bleeding in the neck of the injured led to his passing."

Our correspondent confirmed that there were higher orders that were made to allow medical staff, nurses and doctors to do what they wanted with the injured, including direct liquidation. A specialist in blood diseases called Haitham Othman, from the Masyaf countryside, was a point of reference to other doctors and nurses killers and instruct them on what to do with the injured. His word was more important than that of the director of the hospital, and he was used to wearing a military uniform and carrying his weapon wherever he could.

Dr. Osama Fakhri of Tartus, who was a specialist in orthopedic surgery at the time, as well as the doctor Ali Hassan, who appeared in a picture with Asma al-Assad at the military hospital in Damascus recently, and who would put cigarettes out on the detainees’ skin, striking and kicking different parts of their bodies.

When Dr. Wahbi could no longer bear what he sees daily from inhumane acts, tyranny and crimes in the military hospital, he asked for a transfer to the department of surgery at Ibn Al Nafees Hospital in Damascus. Because of Qala’at Al Hosn massacre, he refrained from going to his new job, and in March 2014, he managed to go to Lebanon after he lost his father, mother and two brothers, when the Shabiha at Wadi al-Nasara barriers arrested them.

Since the Syrian revolution erupted in 2011, more than 560,000 people have been killed, and more than 6 million people have been displaced.    

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Zaman Al Wasl
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