A Syrian mother carrying her son
Persecuted, but not Forsaken

Serving the Sick Amid Civil War

Ten years ago, pro-democracy protests in Syria were crushed with deadly violence, propelling the nation into civil war. Over the past decade, as the battles continued, international governments have joined in the fight. The ensuing chaos and violence have left Syrian civilians hungry, displaced, and brutalized.

Of the 23 million people who lived in Syria at the start of the civil war, more than 5 million have fled, becoming refugees abroad. Almost 7 million are internally displaced. Samaritan’s Purse is there providing healthcare to the many in need.

A Syrian man outside the Samaritan's Purse clinic

Devastation Difficult to Explain

Among those we are helping is Babr.* He was minding his own business, farming his land, when soldiers from a neighboring nation invaded the countryside. Terrified, he gathered his family of nine, and they all fled for their lives with only the clothes on their backs. Their home, their property, and all they knew to be familiar were ripped away from them. That was two years ago and they don't know if they'll ever return. Like so many other Syrians, Babr and his family are now living in a camp for displaced people—their independence having slipped away like sand through fingers.

“If you left your home, your land, everything, and you come from living in a home to living in a tent—that's a big suffering,” Babr said. “I can't explain it in two sentences. It's hard for me to accept how I could live in the camp.”

Suddenly all the important aspects of life were reduced to simple survival. Water is scarce, and what meager supply they do receive is contaminated, so his wife is often sick with stomach ailments and his children suffer with diarrhea.

Meeting Urgent Needs

For Babr's family and hundreds of others, Samaritan's Purse opened a medical clinic in the camp, run by local doctors and nurses who are also displaced. The clinic offers outpatient services in internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics/gynecology, as well as midwife-assisted deliveries and an ambulance service that provides transportation to a local hospital. For those who've already suffered so much, it's a welcome relief to receive such excellent care and be treated with genuine compassion.

Before this clinic existed, Babr had to rent a car to take his son to the doctor in the city. This expense combined with the cost of treatment there was almost too much for him to bear, but he paid it to try and help his son recover from acute digestive illness. Since switching to the Samaritan's Purse clinic where consultations and medicines are free, Babr has been able to save 20,000 Syrian pounds (approximately $16) to use for necessary food and clothing for his family.

“Things provided for free are a big support,” said Babr. “Thank you so much. The clinic is a good idea for people living in tents who don't have a home.”

Babr and his wife have suffered much due to the civil war. But their concerns are like those of most parents around the world—they hope for a better life for their children. One of Babr's biggest joys now is that his son is healthy again. “He is very happy!”

Inaya and her son

Taking Turns Seeing the Doctor

Inaya* also lives in the camp and her whole family is sick. They need to take turns going to the doctor, because demand for the clinic's services is so high that only one patient per family can be seen each day.

Inaya's 4-year-old son had a cough, fever, and a lack of appetite. When he was finally able to be seen at the clinic, he left with helpful medicine to treat his condition. The day before, his father had been treated, and the next day was his mother's turn.

In addition to dealing with the water shortages, Inaya's family wrestles with the fact that the camp only gets electrical power for one hour a day. When darkness envelopes the area at day's end, they are unable to see the snakes and scorpions crawling about, causing many to get bit or stung. This compounds the already high demands on the clinic.

Inaya's family has been dealing with these harsh realities for nine months. They had a house and land in the city before violence flared, but after fleeing for their safety, they had to live in a school and now in the camp.

“This clinic is so important for us, because most of us don't have cars to go to the city to treat our families,” said a grateful Inaya. “It's the only facility for health in the camp.”

Samaritan's Purse staffs, supplies, and supports two medical clinics in Syria. In addition, Samaritan's Purse is providing emergency food rations to families and also rebuilding a church in this war-torn nation.

*Name changed for security

It’s the only facility for health in the camp.”
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