Syrian boy receiving treatment in Turkey after Anadolu Agency coverage

15-year-old Mohammed Jamil Shahabi paralyzed by regime airstrike 5 years ago, suffering severe pain

Fatih Mehmet Kurkcu   | 17.06.2021
Syrian boy receiving treatment in Turkey after Anadolu Agency coverage 15-year-old Muhammed Shabi ( C ), who became disabled when a shrapnel piece hit his body during an airstrike five years ago is seen with his friends in Al Bab district, Syria on June 9, 2021. Muhammed Shabi hopes to receive treatment in Turkey to regain his health. ( Mustafa Bathis - Anadolu Agency )

SAMSUN, Turkey

A day after his arrival in Turkey, a 15-year-old Syrian boy, who was disabled by a regime airstrike five years ago, has started Thursday to receive treatment in the Black Sea region.

After Anadolu Agency published an exclusive report on Mohammed Jamil Shahabi on June 10, Turkey-based hospital Romatem Health Group approached Turkey's Health Ministry and the Gaziantep Governorate.

The hospital volunteered to treat Shahabi and the government stepped in to bring the boy and his mother from Syria to Turkey. They arrived in the country on Wednesday and reached the northern Samsun province in the evening of the same day.

In the first examination, said Orhan Akdeniz -- one of the physicians at the Romatem Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Hospital in Samsun -- they found that Shahabi had a bone fracture and spinal cord injury as a result of the shrapnel hit.

Akdeniz said they had experienced good results with patients in similar situation, and added: “Mohammed is a belated patient and he has bedsores, muscle shortening and soft tissue injuries. He also has neuropathic pain, which develops due to injury and the delay in his treatment.”

They will first treat bedsores and pain, he said, with the next move to be the robotic rehabilitation treatment after the lengthening of his muscles.

“Our goal is to discharge Mohammed on foot with an assistive walking device as much as possible,” Akdeniz said, adding that his overall treatment is expected to take almost a month.

I want to play football

Expressing happiness over getting treatment in Turkey, Shahabi said that his primary goal is to walk.

“Before I came to Turkey, I had severe pain … I want to play football after the treatment. I want to return back to my school,” he said, adding that he hopes to become a doctor to help those in need.

His mother also said that she is so happy that her son can get treatment.

Shahabi, who lives with his mother and three siblings in the district of al-Bab in northern Syria, was injured by a flying shrapnel from an airstrike five years ago.

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 Sena Guler in Ankara

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