Human Rights, Humanitarian Work, Middle East, Politics, Syria

In Memoriam: Dr. Ibrahim Nahel Othman

Dr. Ibrahim Nahel Othman was a young Syrian doctor who gave up his job to care for those injured in democracy demonstrations and justifiably afraid to seek medical treatment in regime-controlled hospitals.

He was known as the “Doctor of the Revolution” and co-founder of the Physicians Coordinating Committee in Damascus.

This video shows Dr. Ibrahim ‒ he was often called by his first name ‒ preparing a field operating room, explaining to a reporter how he was able to treat some patients with so little, and how others died because he could do nothing for them, their injuries were so great.

At the very beginning of the revolution, when an activist asked him to help with the injured, he answered, “Give me an hour to say goodbye to my parents because I might not come back.”

After months in hiding as one of Assad’s Most Wanted, Dr. Othman was shot and killed on Dec 11 (according to Syrian Local Coordinating Committees, other sources report Dec 12) by regime intelligence forces as he tried to escape to Turkey.

You can read his obituary in English on CNN.com and read the Facebook page in Arabic created in his honor.

The French Ministère des Affaires étrangères released this statement:

“France strongly condemns the despicable murder of Dr. Ibrahim Nahel Othman by Syrian forces.

A man of peace, Dr. Ibrahim Nahel Othman had, through his courage and action in coordinating Damascus Doctors, achieved unanimous recognition and respect, particularly for his constant commitment to treating the injured without discrimination.

Through him, his murderers sought to prevent free access to the victims and to treatment.

At a time when this crime arouses a strong sense of indignation and deep shock in Syria, France reaffirms her determination to stand alongside the Syrian people in the face of the relentless crackdown to which they have been subjected for more than nine months.

France, more than ever, is mobilizing her efforts in all international forums in order to bring an end to the crackdown in Syria.”

Dr. Othman, of Barzeh, Damascus, was 26 years old. He was one of 19 Syrian doctors to be killed by the Assad regime during 2011.

Unedited translation of testimony given by a doctor from Mujtahed Hospital about the bombing on 6 January 2011, as reported to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria. The LCCs have been collecting such eyewitness testimonies and publishing daily statistics – with full names and home towns, when known – of the dead, wounded, and disappeared since the protests began and their data is being provided to the Arab League monitors. (What the monitors do with and about this information is another post.)

“I participated in rescuing the victims of the bombing that happened in Midan today, most injuries of security agents were as a result of gunshots not fragments of explosives nor the bombing itself, nurses were able to identify injured security agents and their names.

We’ve been told that the bombing targeted 2 security buses parked near Midan police station, security forces were deployed heavily in the hospital while we were treating the injured, there was a dispute between security administrations about who is to take control.

After 2 hours injured people from demonstrations started coming to the hospital, nurses refused to take care of them or even rescue them, cleaning workers also refused to help on the grounds that they are “intruders” and “traitors”, we were also prohibited from helping them.”

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