In the face of violence and crisis, the Syrian American Medical Society continues to fulfill its mission of providing medical care, resources, and advocacy on behalf of the Syrian people.

Even through the Syrian government’s siege and subsequent takeover of eastern Aleppo and the latest collapsing peace talks and ceasefire, the Syrian American Medical Society persists in carrying out its mission of providing healthcare in the country and advocating for the protection of civilians and hospitals.

“I think we need to provide protection for civilians. We need to prevent any attacks on hospitals, schools, and marketplaces, and this is what has been the pattern,” SAMS Vice President Dr. Basel Termanini said.

The organization not only represents healthcare professionals of Syrian descent but also acts as a medical relief group, providing care to those in Syria by running hospitals, mobile clinics, ambulances, nursing and midwifing schools, and training programs. But to meet the needs of those who fled the December crisis in eastern Aleppo, SAMS has had to ramp up its efforts.

During the siege, SAMS hospitals—which provided about half of the medical care in eastern Aleppo—endured attacks and resource shortages; in fact, one underground facility was attacked 18 times in three weeks until it was entirely destroyed by a bunker buster bomb. Eventually all three SAMS facilities in Aleppo were destroyed by airstrikes and moved to makeshift basement clinics. One of these ran out of oxygen, yet continued to perform major surgeries.

While all 150 SAMS staff members were safely evacuated out of Aleppo during December, the group also aided the process on both sides. Staff took patients to the crossing points within Aleppo, then SAMS-sponsored ambulances transported those patients to hospitals in neighboring city Idlib as well as Turkey.

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