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Syria: Thousands Suffering Neurotoxic Symptoms Treated in Hospitals Supported By MSF

World  (tags: 'HUMANRIGHTS!', children, conflict, death, government, middle-east, politics, Syria, terrorism, violence )

- 1727 days ago -
Three hospitals in Syria's Damascus governorate that are supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have reported to MSF that they received -->

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 26, 2013, 4:56 pm
Image credit: MSF - Doctors without borders

Three hospitals in Syria's Damascus governorate that are supported by the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) have reported to MSF that they received approximately 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in less than three hours on the morning of Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Of those patients, 355 reportedly died.

Since 2012, MSF has built a strong and reliable collaboration with medical networks, hospitals and medical points in the Damascus governorate, and has been providing them with drugs, medical equipment and technical support. Due to significant security risks, MSF staff members have not been able to access the facilities.

“Medical staff working in these facilities provided detailed information to MSF doctors regarding large numbers of patients arriving with symptoms including convulsions, excess saliva, pinpoint pupils, blurred vision and respiratory distress,” said Dr. Bart Janssens, MSF director of operations.

Patients were treated using MSF-supplied atropine, a drug used to treat neurotoxic symptoms. MSF is now trying to replenish the facilities’ empty stocks and provide additional medical supplies and guidance.

“MSF can neither scientifically confirm the cause of these symptoms nor establish who is responsible for the attack,” said Dr. Janssens. “However, the reported symptoms of the patients, in addition to the epidemiological pattern of the events—characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers—strongly indicate mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent. This would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law, which absolutely prohibits the use of chemical and biological weapons.”

In addition to 1,600 vials of atropine supplied over recent months, MSF has now dispatched 7,000 additional vials to facilities in the area. Treatment of neurotoxic patients is now being fully integrated into MSF’s medical strategies in all its programs in Syria.

“MSF hopes that independent investigators will be given immediate access to shed light on what happened,” said Christopher Stokes, MSF general director. “This latest attack and subsequent massive medical need come on top of an already catastrophic humanitarian situation, characterised by extreme violence, displacement, and deliberate destruction of medical facilities. In the case of such extreme violations of humanitarian law, humanitarian assistance cannot respond effectively and becomes meaningless itself.”

MSF provides medical assistance in Syria through two different approaches. MSF international and national staff operate six hospitals and four health centers in structures fully under the organization’s direct control in the north of Syria. In areas where MSF cannot send its own teams because of insecurity or lack of access, the organization has expanded a program begun two years ago of supporting Syrian medical networks, hospitals and medical posts, by providing drugs, medical equipment, and technical advice and support. Through the latter program, MSF has been supporting 27 hospitals and 56 medical posts throughout Syria.

From June 2012 through the end of June 2013, MSF teams carried out more than 55,000 medical consultations, 2,800 surgical procedures, and assisted in 1,000 births inside Syria. MSF teams have also provided more than 140,000 consultations for Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.

Doctors Without Borders Press Release


S J (130)
Monday August 26, 2013, 4:59 pm
Chemical weapons threatened everyone of us. Shall we just keep watching in silence?
Noted sadly, thanks Kit.

Sarah MacDonald (34)
Monday August 26, 2013, 5:17 pm
This is a major medical issue that threatens us all. We need more information on it.

Suzanne O (33)
Monday August 26, 2013, 7:14 pm
An easy way to kill a lot of people. Make a big example.


I have heard discussion that it is not logical for Asaad to do this at this time. I tend to agree.

I briefly heard on the news earlier that UN inspectors were attacked by sniper fire today.


What to think? Who is setting who up for this act? Could go either way, really.

Sheila D (194)
Monday August 26, 2013, 7:15 pm
...1600 vials furnished over last several months...Was someone practicing, leading up to larger scale use of the chemicals? Interesting hypothesis isn't it. Said before, repeat here - Think the Brotherhood is the one causing all these problems. They can afford it and it's to their advantage getting rid of Assad and the Military. Even better having the US and/or the UK do it for them. They can just swoop in and take over...and get rid of the U and US. I cannot see it benefiting anyone else. Noted with thanks.

Kit B (276)
Monday August 26, 2013, 7:51 pm

The problem is just that, we do not know who did this but I believe that MSF (Doctors Without Borders - Médecins Sans Frontières ) has treated these people. This is a non political group and they are fully disinterested in siding with one side or another,

JL A (281)
Monday August 26, 2013, 9:12 pm
Thank heavens for the work of these dedicated professionals and let no one escalate the situation without accurate information from unbiased investigation into who perpetrated this atrocity.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 12:14 am
They are amazing as Kit says they don't take any sides

Dogan Ozkan (5)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 1:23 am

Stan B (123)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 1:56 am
If the Syrians are prepared to do this to their own people, just imagine what they would be prepared to do to their Israeli neighbours.

. (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 7:06 am
That's terrible! I hope they recover quickly. Thanks for sharing, Kit.

. (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 10:20 am
I'm not taking sides on this as either side is capable of this. I will await for more facts if and when they are forthcoming. Would that buffoon Kerry STFU already? What was Barky thinking in promoting this self serving rich boy? Go see if you can park your yacht in Rhode Island to avoid paying your taxes in Massachusetts. Do something useful. You sir are an embarrassment to the US and all the Middle East countries treat you accordingly - with derision and laughter. You're not helping matters and are merely grandstanding for whatever reason.

elderberry C (47)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 3:35 pm

"Doctors Without Borders is fully funded by the very same corporate financier interests behind Wall Street and London’s collective foreign policy, including regime change in Syria and neighboring Iran. Doctors Without Borders’ own annual report (2010 report can be accessed here), includes as financial donors, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, and a myriad of other corporate-financier interests.

Doctors Without Borders also features bankers upon its Board of Advisers including Elizabeth Beshel Robinson of Goldman Sachs.

Complicating further Doctors Without Borders so-called “independ” and “aid” claims is the fact that their medical facilities are set up in terrorist held regions of Syria,"

S J (130)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:03 pm
This time if the US and/or the West make war in Syria, it would be silly! I do not accept what Assad has been doing to his people, but there must be some other ways to deal with it.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:44 pm

MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation.

MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas. Medical teams conduct evaluations on the ground to determine a population's medical needs before opening programs, aiming to fill gaps that exist (rather than replicating services that are already offered) or reach communities that are not being assisted. The key to MSF’s ability to act independently in response to a crisis is its independent funding. Ninety percent of MSF's overall funding (and 100 percent of MSF-USA's funding) comes from private, non-governmental sources. In 2009, MSF had 3.8 million individual donors and private funders worldwide.

As an organization, MSF is neutral. It does not take sides in armed conflicts, provides care on the basis of need alone, and pushes for increased independent access to victims of conflict as required under international humanitarian law.

MSF's principles of action are described in the organization's 1971 founding charter, which established a framework for its activities.

- See more at:

Charity Navigator reviews Doctors Without Borders

*Doctors Without Borders Mission Statement:

Project Summary

Doctors Without Borders is one of the bravest, most-selfless and humanitarian international undertakings that this world has ever witnessed. These medical and healthcare professionals risk their lives and invest their own money and time in order to heal those parts of the world which need medical attention the most. They live by and even beyond the Oath Of Hippocrates - They bring their special skills and eagerness to help wherever disaster strikes. They risk disease, death and imprisonment in some of the most disease-afflicted and war-torn reaches of the world in order to save lives. These people live the very spirit of Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale and countless others without ever being recognized for the greatness that they do and for the miraculous feats of courage and love which they perform.

Project Description

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is a private international association. The association is made up mainly of doctors and health sector workers and is also open to all other professions which might help in achieving its aims.

All of its members agree to honor the following principles:

Médecins Sans Frontières provides assistance to populations in distress, to victims of natural or man-made disasters and to victims of armed conflict. They do so irrespective of race, religion, creed or political convictions. Médecins Sans Frontières observes neutrality and impartiality in the name of universal medical ethics and the right to humanitarian assistance and claims full and unhindered freedom in the exercise of its functions. Members undertake to respect their professional code of ethics and to maintain complete independence from all political, economic, or religious powers. As volunteers, members understand the risks and dangers of the missions they carry out and make no claim for themselves or their assigns for any form of compensation other than that which the association might be able to afford them.

MSF provides independent, impartial assistance in more than 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters. MSF provides independent, impartial assistance to those most in need. MSF also reserves the right to speak out to bring attention to neglected crises, challenge inadequacies or abuse of the aid system, and to advocate for improved medical treatments and protocols. With your contribution, MSF can continue the work of assisting those affected by man-made or natural disasters and violence which threaten their lives and the lives of their families.

Roger G (154)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:47 pm
noted, thanks

Stan B (123)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 7:50 pm
Green star to you, Kit for so effectively dispelling the nonsense that MSF is not a totally impartial organisation.
There seems to be no limit to the conspiratorial nonsense we are bombarded with.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 7:58 pm

Thank you, Stan.

Jelica R (144)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 8:50 pm
MSF admitted that their report is based on second-hands informations. None of MSF team has not personally seen any victim. Report was based on testimonies from the stuff of hospitals which MST supply with medical materials.

Jelica R (144)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 9:01 pm
Carla Del Ponte, UN Investigator, visited Syria 3 months ago. She said that it is highly probable that rebels used chemical weapons, but thorough investigation is needed.

On May 14, seven members of Al-Nusrah were arrested in Turkey. Among other toys, they had a metal cylinder with 2 kilos of sarin. But this didn't made a headlines...


Jelica R (144)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 9:45 pm
Some googling, and here's what I've found:

Global Research: Evidence Indicates that Syrian Government Did Not Launch a Chemical Weapon Attack Against Its People -- article; August 24, 2013

James Corbett: Suicidal act by Bashar al-Assad? -- video; 6:15

Pravda.Ru: Syria: The predictable and false "chemical" attack; ;21.08.2013

RNN: Syrian army finds chemical agents as US navy expands presence in region; video; 3:59

ANSWER Coalition: Hands Off Syria - Take action against U.S. intervention! -- background info, update, list of protests...

YouTube: Vesley Clark: War Plan, Seven Countries In Five Years; September 30th, 2006 (... although everyone has seen this already, this is evergreen...)

Ruth R (246)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 8:08 pm
Good post!

Lisa Germain (60)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 2:37 pm
great post.
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