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Number of casualties in Syria drops dramatically since truce took effect — military doctor

March 22, 2016, 9:08 UTC+3 LATAKIA (Syria)

"This is the first week over the past four years when we can breathe easily. The number of incoming wounded persons has dropped 50%," Latakia military hospital chief notes

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

LATAKIA (Syria), March 22. /TASS/. The number of people who were wounded or killed at the frontline has decreased significantly since the beginning of the national reconciliation process in Syria, Latakia military hospital chief General Badia Ismail al-Atrash told reporters on Tuesday.

According to UN statistics, the Syrian conflict has claimed the lives of 470,000 people since 2011, another 1,9 million Syrians have sustained wounds during this period of time.

"Over the past week, the number of wounded persons admitted to the hospital has dropped significantly compared to the situation we had before," al-Atrash said. "One can say that we are resting. This is the first week over the past four years when we can breathe easily. The number of incoming wounded persons has dropped 50%."

He added that the hospital received the wounded not only from Latakia but also from all over Syria, including Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Idlib. According to the general, before the ceasefire took effect they received at least 15-20 wounded persons per week. There was not a single day without the dead, but now there are days when no one is brought from the frontline.

"Generally, all victims sustained limb injuries as a result of fire attacks from improvised mortars, land mine explosions or shrapnel hits. There was a time when we amputated 12 people’s limbs within two weeks. Overall, we have carried out about 1,000 amputations in this hospital since the beginning of the crisis," he said.

Zuhir Munzir who works in this hospital as a surgeon has said that during the war he and his colleagues have accumulated vast experience, as they had to work intensively with large numbers of heavy patients. He noted with regret that the sanctions imposed against Syria had adversely affected the supply of essential medicines. "At a time when our opportunities are considerably limited we were looking for any ways to render assistance to people and were able to do so thanks to the experience we have gained in the course of the war. All of you know only too well that our country is under sanctions, this has caused the shortage of medications," Munzir said.

He too confirmed that doctors had much less work when the truce came into force and expressed the hope that it would be honored in the future. "Now, thank God, our work has become stable compared to relatively difficult and even catastrophic war periods when there was a huge number of wounded we were not accustomed to. We hope the ceasefire will be observed, and the number of wounded we receive will continue to decrease," the doctor said.

For his part, Dr.Saad Dip who too works in a military hospital said he was relieved due the drop in the number of dead and wounded, as during the war doctors suffered enormous psychological stress associated with frequent amputations. "We have to deal mainly with soldiers who sustained wounds during fire attacks and mine explosions. In many cases, we had to carry out amputations promptly, which has affected the doctors’ psyche, because all of them were very young. That’s the price we had to pay in this war. Thank God, the situation has changed four years later, there are fewer wounded and dead," Dip said.

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