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Operation Freedom

Appeared in Amnesty Journal, 6-7/2012

Von Fotograf Carsten Stormer und Autor Carsten Stormer

Syrian refugees arriving in Lebanon tell of torture, executions and snipers. They have escaped the terror. That doesn’t mean they’re welcome.

When all the screws are secure in all the feet, all the gaping holes held closed by bandages, and the man with the shattered leg stops screaming, Dr. Ahmed stands on the linoleum of the hospital hallway and thinks about who to treat next. Room 532 holds Ghafran Koukaz, 13. Her first name means “mercy.” The sniper whose bullet severed the nerves in her thigh didn’t know the meaning of the word. He simply aimed at a young girl and pulled the trigger. Next door in Room 533, lies Hassan, 22, who stepped on a land mine while trying to escape a country that had become dangerous. The explosion tire off both his hands and left his face peppered with shrapnel. Dr. Ahmed looks blankly at the wall for a moment and decides to look in on Ghafran first.

A pink teddy bear sits on her bedside table, surrounded by pill bottles. Ghafran is asleep. Her mother watches over her. Dr. Ahmed pats the girl’s head. That’s actually all he can do right now.

Dr. Ahmed is attempting to manage the suffering of 37 wounded Syrians in a hospital on the fringes of the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli ….