Middle East

Injured in regime strike, Syrian boy eyes treatment in Turkey

Lacking financial means, Syrian family await helping hand from Turkey for recovery of disabled boy

Omer Koparan and Ethem Emre Ozcan   | 11.06.2021
Injured in regime strike, Syrian boy eyes treatment in Turkey

AL-BAB, Syria

A disabled 15-year-old Syrian boy paralyzed by a regime airstrike hopes to receive treatment in Turkey to restore his health.

Mohammed Jamil Shahabi, who lives with his mother and three siblings in the district of al-Bab in northern Syria, was injured when hit by a piece of shrapnel in an airstrike when he was only 10 years old.

Shahabi, whose spinal cord and nerves were damaged in the attack, suffers from severe pain.

Throughout the day, he lives in fear of a seizure taking hold.

"We were injured with my friends in a plane attack while playing in the street. I was taken to the hospital," Shahabi recounted in an interview with Anadolu Agency.

Authorities told the family that there was no neurologist in the hospital and that they would have to wait several months for treatment.

"I stayed lying in bed at home for seven or eight months. I also have very severe pain," said Mohammed.

"I feel the pain like an electric shock because of the wound on my spinal cord. I feel pain when I'm on the street. I suffer at home, too. Wherever I go, I'm in pain."

The young boy had to drop out of school after a few months as he could not stand the pain.

"I want to go to Turkey. My treatment is in Turkey," he said, yearning to go to school with his other friends. "I want to do everything. I want to walk and come and go. I mean, I want to do everything."

"I can't stand the pain he's in. He's always crying. He can neither go to school nor live a normal life like other children," said Mohammed's mother, Umm Mohammed Shahabi.

"No one helped us to get treatment in Turkey. There is no hospital in Syria that we didn't go to. Doctors say he can be treated in Turkey, but his condition is getting worse by the day," she lamented.

Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Over the past decade, around half a million people have been killed and more than 12 million had to flee their homes.


*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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