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Expat Syrian doctors help bind up the wounds of war

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"As a doctor, I get phone calls from colleagues there -- 'please help us, we are running out of insulin, please help us, we are running out of blood bags, please help us, we need a CT scan' -- which one are you going to help?"

Nearly two years of civil war have left an estimated 60,000 Syrians dead, millions homeless, and a once enviable health system in tatters. More than half the 88 hospitals have been damaged and nearly one third are out of service, according to Syrian health ministry data released by the World Health Organisation.

As a trustee of Syria Relief, a UK-registered charity, Mounir has helped to raise more than 2 million pounds ($3.1 million), mainly from the Syrian diaspora, to send desperately needed supplies, from blood bags and vaccines to flour, clothing, and even ambulances.

Syria Relief's efforts are part of a much wider response to the crisis at home from the diaspora – in Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Gulf region – many of whom met in London in January to discuss their work and call for support before a UN donor pledging conference to secure $1.5 billion for Syria.

Not only have hospitals and clinics in Syria been attacked. Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), one of the few foreign organizations working inside Syria, says the Syrian army has been waging war against health workers and services in rebel-held territory.

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