The bombs were still falling as Dr. Abu Baraa, weary from three nights without sleep, examined the surge of patients lying on the hospital floor, knowing he had no medicine to treat them or even dull their pain.
He is among the few Syrian doctors trapped in besieged Eastern Aleppo where hospitals are no longer functioning due to intense attacks by the Syrian regime and their Russian allies.
Their work has put them directly in the line of fire of the intractable Syrian conflict; Physicians for Human Rights has reported that nearly 738 doctors, nurses and medical aides have died in more than 360 attacks throughout Syria between March, 2011, and August, 2016. It added that the Syrian government was responsible for the majority of these.
Between aerial onslaughts and the siege, Dr. Abu Baraa, a pediatrician, has seen Aleppo hospitals destroyed, then resurrected underground and in other locations only to be destroyed again. Several months ago, he was already worried about fuel and medical shortages and frantically warning that time was running out.
Now, working less than a kilometre from the front line, he is done pleading for assistance. "I hope we win or we die, that's all," he said Wednesday over a series of WhatsApp messages, the social-media platform used by some Aleppo residents who find it safer, cheaper and more reliable. "Damn the whole world which did not save the people of Aleppo."
The conversation below is his account of what have been Aleppo's darkest days, typed hastily in a stream of messages in between patient consultations.
Abu Baraa is a pseudonym, used because doctors have been targeted by regime air strikes
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