Chemical weapon attack in Syria, the worst in history since Iraq, 1988. SAMS calls  for action

The Syrian American Medical Society, SAMS, is appalled at the reports of the recent Chemical weapon massacre in several suburbs around Damascus. More than 1300 civilians reported dead and thousands were treated for what it seems as exposure to internationally prohibited nerve gas. Half of the victims were women and children who perished when several civilian areas around Damascus were targeted by chemical weapons early morning hours on Wednesday.


Doctors in field hospitals in the area, unprepared to deal with such large scale medical disaster, described chaotic situations where victims as young as 3 months old struggled to breathe, helpless victims rushed into minimally equipped field hospitals, the desperate attempts of the medical teams and volunteers, some suffering from symptoms of exposure themselves, to save as many lives as possible. Pale wet corpses with no obvious wounds or other injuries were covering the floors, and victims with blue lips were gagging and gasping for air. 
Since the first report of chemical weapon attack about 9 months ago, SAMS has been assisting Syrian doctors by providing training, education, protective gear, Antidotes and oxygen generators. New projects to increase the capacity of field hospitals around Damascus to deal more effectively with chemical weapons attacks are underway. SAMS volunteers have been also collecting samples from victims and sending them to referral labs. 
A Syrian girl receiving treatment after a poisonous gas attack , according to activists in Arbeen town, Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013 (AP)
SAMS strongly condemns the use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons and calls the United Nations to amend its mandate of the chemical weapons investigation team, which is currently in Damascus, so that they can immediately investigate these attacks. SAMS also urges the United States and other major donor countries to send personal protective equipment and antidotes to the physicians and first responders to protect them against future attacks. "We call on President Obama to use all means necessary to end the suffering of the Syrian people and to prevent further use of chemical weapons" said Dr Sahloul, the president of SAMS. "No amount of humanitarian assistance will make up for a lack of the will to act by the international community to end the conflict."

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About SAMS:

The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is independent, non-profit, professional, medical and humanitarian organization that represents medical professionals of Syrian descent.Through its rich network within the US and in Syria, SAMS organizes annual medical missions to Syria, provides professional and educational programs to Syrian physicians and organizes donations of medicine and medical supplies to local hospitals and underprivileged families in Syria and North America.

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