After three years under siege, mass starvation, and relentless airstrikes, the people of Madaya didn’t think it could get much worse. Then their only doctor disappeared in the middle of the night.

In the besieged Syrian town, which made international headlines in January when photos of its starving residents spread around the world, the only medical care facility, slightly euphemistically called the field hospital, is now run by two dentists, an agricultural engineer and a vet. Sources told VICE News that an anaesthesiology nurse known as Doctor Khaled, who ran the clinic until mid-January, had to pay a smuggler thousands of dollars to get out of the town when he heard a hit man had been hired to kill him for talking to the media.