Minutes earlier we had been speaking with Qassem and Abdullah, two troopers from the military’s 16th Division who had been wounded together with 5 others by a automobile bomb as they fought ISIS in a village simply north of Mosul final week. As we wrapped up the interview, phrase got here of extra casualties coming in.
One other automobile bomb had been focused at Qassem and Abdullah’s unit. Males who had survived the primary bombing unscathed had been now torn and bleeding from one other assault.
Abdullah appeared aghast as he noticed mates and comrades being introduced in a single after one other. At one level he put a hand on the shoulder of one of many wounded being stretchered in, his uniform ripped and bloodied.
Maybe a dozen, perhaps extra, arrived over the following hour or so. Within the frenzied triage space it was tough to maintain rely, with medical doctors and medics first having to determine who was probably the most badly damage, who most urgently wanted this hospital’s one purposeful working theater.
Petrified of the longer term
Al Shikan hospital wasn’t arrange for this. Earlier than this struggle, it was not way more than the city’s clinic, serving a district of 300,000 folks. Right now it’s a frontline fight hospital — coping with the worst that trendy weaponry can do to a physique. So as to add to the workload, it’s the solely hospital in Nineveh province that’s not managed by ISIS.
They’re doing what they will right here, and doing it nicely, however the employees are fearful of what’s to return. There are an estimated 1.2 million civilians in Mosul and ISIS is utilizing many as human shields — the militants even utilizing occupied household properties as mortar or sniper positions.
The dangers of civilian casualties in an city fight setting is clear. Including a barbaric technique of deliberately placing these civilians on the entrance line hardly bears interested by.
Caught within the combating
At al Shikan, the civilians have already began coming.
In a single ward we meet Tahseen and, within the mattress subsequent to him, his nephew Taha.
Earlier this week, each they and their prolonged household had been of their home in a village simply east of Mosul. The combating intensified over the day after which, in mid-afternoon, an artillery shell hit their dwelling. Tahseen and Taha each suffered severe leg accidents however the information bought worse — Tahseen’s two sisters aged 16 and 27 had been each killed.
We additionally heard about 11-year-old Fadel. His father and two older brothers had been killed, and he and his older sister wounded after a mortar landed on their dwelling. Fadel acquired some therapy in his ISIS-held village, however after it was liberated he got here right here to al Shikan.
The Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross (ICRC) has carried out a lot for al Shikan — constructing amenities, offering medical provides and supplying two surgeons. However this struggle has modified the wants.
‘Tip of the iceberg’
Eric Kwezi is the ICRC well being delegate on this space. His greatest concern is that this place will see increasingly more wounded civilians — and in numbers the hospital may not have the sources to take care of.
“Possibly extra sufferers will get caught, perhaps they will not get entry to healthcare — that is my greatest concern,” he stated.
“I believe proper now we’re seeing solely the tip of the iceberg.”
The ICRC constructed two extra working theaters on the hospital, however the tools wanted to make them purposeful is but to be funded and so the hospital survives this rising disaster with only one theater which may deal with two sufferers at a time.
Surgeons want extra sources
Lead basic surgeon Fouad al Abidaal says it is simply not sufficient.
“We’d like tools as quickly as doable to make these different two working theaters purposeful,” he says as a soldier behind him within the functioning theater has massive shrapnel wounds to his arms stitched.
In a aspect room off the principle hospital hall, a physician is taking a break and it makes an incongruous sight. He sits and watches a tv which is broadcasting dwell from the entrance line.
He’s watching a battle that would — and possibly will — ship wounded or dying males for him to try to save lots of.
Because the emergency room recovers from the sudden inflow of wounded, we see one other aspect room with three empty gurneys, medical provides, and gauze bandages with moist blood on the ground ready for somebody to select them up.
‘I consider on this struggle’
We see Abdullah once more. He appears virtually bewildered. Regardless of his wounds and the injured comrades he has seen right this moment, Abdullah’s willingness to return to the struggle is undiminished.
“When my well being is sweet I’m able to struggle ISIS once more, on this place and all all over the world in the event that they want,” he stated.
“I consider on this struggle. ISIS and different terror teams are harmful to the entire world.”