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The FSA has been outgunned for the entirety of the conflict, depending predominantly on weapons and supplies either captured from regime forces or brought over by defectors. Without a clearly defined leadership structure or organization, the international community remains hesitant to arm the group.
Cutting off supply lines for the Assad Army could level the playing field for rebels here, but the FSA supply shortages create a number of problems for the group as it captures new ground.
Aside from offering a strategic military boost, the capture of Kindi hospital has given the FSA access to the largest hospital in the province. Doctors now working to restore the facility say they’ve found critical medical equipment and supplies that are in dire need here.
Situated on top a hill, however, the hospital remains an easy target for government artillery and jets that the FSA has no defense against. Within 48 hours of taking the hospital, it was attacked by jets.
“They attacked the hospital, but we can’t do anything. We need the hospital. We need the equipment,” says Abu Mohammad, a pharmacist who now works at a central hospital in Aleppo.
The threat of attack poses a serious concern for doctors trying to restore the hospital to working order. Already, most hospitals in Aleppo do not allow patients to stay after their initial treatment for fear that it could make them the victim of shelling or aerial bombing. Doctors in Aleppo, who are working in hospitals with severely depleted resources, say that Kindi hospital offers needed equipment and surgical facilities that make it worth the risk of working there.
There are still only about a dozen doctors working in Aleppo, leaving no extra personnel to staff the hospital, which is located about 30 minutes from the center of the city.
“We need more doctors, but not a lot of doctors want to come here because it’s dangerous,” says Baraa Saleh, a Syrian medical student studying in Belgium who returned to volunteer as a doctor for about a month in Aleppo. “When I return to Belgium, I will talk to everyone to see if they can help. The need is more than we imagined or realized.”