Samer Attar, a surgeon with Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, is a volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society and the Aleppo City Medical Council. Aleppo is a resilient city, rich in history, older than New York, Paris and London. It is not a city of terrorists. It is a city full of ordinary people living everyday lives, people who want to put food on the table, send their kids to school and keep their families safe, just as anyone else in the world would want for their family. But its streets are literally flowing with blood.
I saw this carnage for myself when I volunteered in an Aleppo field hospital in July. I was the last American to leave before Syrian government forces encircled and besieged the city. On my first day, I saw a young mother newly paralyzed when a “barrel bomb” landed on her home. Her family pulled her from the rubble and brought her to the hospital. They were covered in blood and dust. As a last-ditch effort, Aleppo’s only neurosurgeon attempted to open her spinal canal to relieve pressure on her spinal cord, but it didn’t work. She would never walk again.