Fighting is intensifying in northern Syria as rebels fear a big army offensive just days after President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian forces and Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah captured the strategic town of Qusair, south of Homs. Recent amateur footage uploaded to the internet appears to show Syrian rebels battling for control of the Menakh airbase in Aleppo.
But many civilians were caught up in the fighting. Eighty-five people were evacuated from Qusair over the weekend by the Red Cross into Lebanon. Thirty-five of those were taken to the Minyeh hospital in Tripoli. Many of the wounded were treated for lower limb injuries. One Syrian aid worker said many of the wounded he’d seen had described their ordeal.
Mohammed told reporters about his experience. “I came from Qusair with the Red Cross and they took me to a hospital in Beirut…I was hit by shrapnel in my head in Qusair, which led to the paralysis of the left side of my body.”
One doctor at the Minyeh hospital said many of the injuries were serious and had gone untreated for some time, allowing sepsis to set in as the men tried to escape.
In total, around 1.6 Syrian million refugees are thought to have fled their country, some of them to Lebanon. The United Nations estimates that at least eighty thousand people have died in the conflict so far.