UOSSM has been responding to the crisis in Ukraine by providing expertise gained from over 10 years of war in Syria through medical missions and training. On April 2 -12, UOSSM, in partnership with British renowned war doctor, Dr. David Nott of the David Nott Foundation, led a surgical medical mission, providing training workshops to doctors, and critical surgeries to patients affected by the war in Ukraine. Dr. David Nott, Dr. Monzer Yazji, Dr. Ahmad Dbais and Dr. Mohammed Zaidiye all contributed and coordinated in the surgical medical mission.
Throughout the 10 days, the medical mission team visited seven major hospitals throughout several geographical locations in eastern, central, and western Ukraine, where complex reconstructive and plastic surgeries were performed on victims of attacks. 40 doctors observed and received trainings during the surgeries. In addition, three workshops were provided to over 37 doctors with different surgical specialties. The workshops taught doctors about damage and impact on the human body from different types of weapons during war, different types of trauma resulting from these weapons, and response handling these injuries including damage control, emergency surgery, and plastic and reconstructive surgery.
A new surgical medical mission is being planned in June to provide support to the doctors and people of Ukraine.
Dr. David Nott wrote on his foundation page about his visit in Ukraine, “Now having seen the devastation, it feels like the exact same tactics as in Syria. When I was in Aleppo in 2016, the whole region was completely and utterly destroyed. What we’re seeing in cities like Mariupol – the destruction – feels very similar to what I witnessed in Aleppo.”
UOSSM Ukraine was established in Ukraine with an office in Lutsk and two medical clinics, one in Lviv and one in Lutsk, providing urgent medical care to displaced Ukrainians and vital trainings to doctors and medical staff.
Dr. Monzer Yazji, co-founder of UOSSM USA said, “As Dr. Nott and I were visiting hospitals in Ukraine, we witnessed very similar severe injuries to the ones we witnessed in Syria. It was harrowing to see this type of history repeat itself and victims with the same types of horrible injuries. Our duty is to help the innocent civilians by providing them with urgent medical care, and support doctors by providing medical training on handling war-related injuries that they desperately need. The duty of the international community is to ensure that these types of attacks are never repeated again, anywhere in the world.”
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Edinburg, TX – A UOSSM international relief team, composed of Syrian/American doctors, arrived in Ukraine earlier last week to begin relief efforts. UOSSM doctors are uniquely positioned to support aid efforts in Ukraine having operated under similar conflict conditions in Syria for the past 10 years including war wounds/injuries, displacement, chemical attacks and a major humanitarian crisis.
UOSSM already opened a field office, is operating a humanitarian relief station in Lviv for food and necessities, and a medical point in Lutsk. In addition, UOSSM is working to set up a field medical facility in Kiev. Dr. Monzer Yazji, a Syrian American doctor, cofounder of UOSSM/UOSSM USA, and leader of the mission, has been triaging some wounded patients, stabilizing them, and providing medicines in the Lutsk medical point.
The UN documented several targeted airstrike attacks on medical facilities in Syria by Russian forces, that killed countless medical workers including several UOSSM staff members. Now, the same horrors and war crimes witnessed in Syria are being documented in Ukraine, such as the bombing of the Mariupol hospital.
Dr. Yazji said, “UOSSM was a leading voice in documenting and exposing these war crimes to the world. The relentless airstrikes on cities, the opening of humanitarian corridors, and the subsequent attack of them was reminiscent of what we witnessed in Syria as well. We implore the international community to make this time different.”
Displaced Ukrainian civilians, many are children.
Dr. Yazji added, “The latest headlines are that the Syrian Regime is sending fighters to support Russia’s invasion. We want Ukrainians and the world to know that Syrians have also experienced the same barbarism, and Syrians doctors today are there to utilize everything they have learned to support their medical and relief efforts in the field.”
UOSSM was founded in response to the Syrian crisis. Since 2012, UOSSM has been providing emergency care and relief, medical care and relief, mental healthcare, psychosocial support services, protection and nutrition services to millions of displaced and needy families affected by the crisis.
Dr. Monzer Yazji is on the ground in Ukraine and available for interview- in person/virtual.
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The first doctor has died from COVID-19 in Northern Syria. Please scroll to read the full press release:
Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of Dr. Jasem, he risked his life ever day trying to save others. He survived bombings and displacement but unfortunately was unable to survive the deadly coronavirus. We would like to extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to Dr. Jasem’s family. What a loss to the region.”
On July 7, a 39 year old doctor working in north western Syria was tested for COVID-19 and was confirmed positive today. This is the first reported case of COVID-19 in north western Syria. The doctor entered Syria two weeks ago and visited his wife in Al Bab city (Aleppo Governate) between June 30 and July 1. The doctor immediately isolated himself upon symptoms, and contract-tracing procedures have been put in place for his interactions.
Months of intense bombing and displacement in North West Syria in early 2020, compounded by hyperinflation, has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis. The price of a typical food basket has increased by 200% in the past six months according to the World Food Program. Millions of Syrians depend on the aid that comes through the Turkish-Syrian border. By Friday July 10th, the international community will have to decide on the fate of Syrians as they vote on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC 2504) resolution to extend cross border aid deliveries into Syria.
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UOSSM USA IS A FEDERALLY TAX-EXEMPT NON-PROFIT 501(C)(3) CHARITABLE HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION. TAX ID 47-3403988