Syria: The doctor who won’t leave the war zone

15 August 2015
Syria: The doctor who won’t leave the war zone
Maissam Hamoui, Red Crescent volunteer and anesthesiologist in Syria. © Thomas Evaldsen / IFRC

Maissam Hamoui lives with her family in Aleppo. The war has been a part of family life for more than four years now.

"I could get a nice job in France where both of my brothers live, but I have to stay. It is here I can make a difference," she says.

As a Red Crescent volunteer and anesthesiologist, Hamoui experiences the tragedy of conflict every day.

"The worst experience I had was when a baby girl was wounded in a bomb attack. She was a month old and not bigger than this," she says shaping her hands like a small bowl. "Getting her ready for surgery, I knew that she had maybe minutes left to live – I could feel that she was fighting. Thinking about her gives me strength – if she could fight so can I."

When Hamoui takes off her doctor's coat, she puts on a Red Crescent uniform and volunteers as a water and sanitation team leader. Water is scarce and she is busy, but her work has reached over 317,000 people.

Hamoui knows that her good spirit in the face of adversity may seem surprising to those outside of Syria, but says she is thankful to be doing good work in a city that needs her.

"Before the war, I thought I was going to be a Red Crescent delegate in Africa, but now Syria is where people need my help. I have to stay in Aleppo."

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