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A Welsh Surgeon is Attempting to Save 500 Children from a Battered Syrian City

David Nott has negotiated ceasefires with the Russian army to help 500 children escape Aleppo.

 

David Nott has negotiated ceasefires with the Russian army to help 500 children escape Aleppo. Photo: PA

A Welsh surgeon has spoken of his efforts to help around 500 children leave a besieged Syrian city battered by barrel bombs and chlorine gas.

War surgeon David Nott has spent the last week trying to negotiate ceasefires with the Russian A military, the Syrian regime and armed groups to allow children to leave Aleppo.

Mr Nott has been awarded a Pride of Britain Award for his work in Syria as a surgeon, and was forced to leave Aleppo because of growing fears so-called Islamic State could capture him and other volunteers.

Speaking to the Today Programme on Monday, Mr Nott, from Carmarthen, said: “Last week we did a herculean effort to get them (the children and volunteers) out.

“And in fact a group of humanitarians got together individually including Bob Geldof and we tried very, very hard through circuitous routes to the Syrian regime.

“I was on the phone to Assad’s office to try and create a ceasefire.

“Bob was on the phone to various people to try and get a Russian ceasefire. At the end of the week we did get a Russian ceasefire.”

Syrian civil defence workers search through the rubble in rebel-held eastern Aleppo (Photo: Syrian Civil Defense- White Helmets via AP)

The battle in Aleppo started in July 2012 and is being waged between the Syrian opposition against the Syrian Army of the Syrian government and Russian forces.

Mr Nott said that last week Russian forces agreed to having a special passage created through western Aleppo to the safe zone where the children would be protected.

He added: “The problem was the Syrians. The regime need to stop bombing.

“And of course we had the children ready to go. We had the doctors ready to go as well, but unfortunately the checkpoints were not agreeable to let the children to and we also had a United Nations envoy waiting to take them.

A Syrian doctor said he would rather return to Aleppo than stay in Cardiff

“The big problem is the children, some of them are injured so some of them need doctors to take them out but at the moment there about 40 doctors, 70 nurses and around 500 children.

“The big issue is once they crossed the checkpoint the doctors and nurses will be taken away and they are all men. At the moment all men are being taken away.”

Today Programme presenter Justin Webb questioned Mr Nott on how he could be sure that the male doctors and nurses they working with are genuine and not, as the Syrian regime suspects, rebel fighters.

Mr Nott said: “The people who are accompanying these children are all doctors. They are all people I have worked with.

“I speak to them two to three times a day. We are trying to get through to them and say we are trying to help you.”

The bloody five-year long Syrian conflict has killed an estimated 400,000 people and displaced millions.

The qualified pilot described the current conditions in Aleppo as “really, really dreadful.”

Mr Nott said: “In fact yesterday there were chlorine attacks, barrel bombs and bunker buster bombs being dropped.

“I get these messages on my phone all the time saying how dreadful it is.

“At the moment I understand that if you walk around the vicinity where these people are, and there are probably 50,000 civilians left now in an enclave 10km by 10km, one of the doctors working told me yesterday if you walk outside you will see dismembered bodies of people around the streets.

“It is absolutely dreadful.”

The surgeon wrote in the January edition of Vogue magazine about how he helped reconstruct a man’s shattered jaw in Syria via a video call to his colleagues in Aleppo.

Mr Nott said more should be done sooner to provide aid to besieged areas of Syria.

A recent statement from the UN said that parts of Aleppo are without functioning hospitals and official food stocks, and described the situation as “deeply alarming and chilling.”

 

Source: WalesOnline

 

 

A Welsh Surgeon is Attempting to Save 500 Children from a Battered Syrian City

 
 
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