Doctors at the country’s northern hospitals are used to middle-of-the-night calls to come and treat wounded Syrians brought across the border for Israeli medical aid. The 12-year-old Syrian boy who arrived in serious condition over the weekend to the IDF border post was the first to make the trek by donkey from Damascus.
The boy told doctors that he sustained serious injuries – to his arms, one of his legs, and loss of vision in his eyes – when a mortar shell exploded near his home in the outskirts of Syria’s capital city.
The boy told Israeli doctors that his family had initially taken him to a hospital in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon where doctors amputated his right hand. He was discharged after being administered first aid to his other injuries but said the route home to Syria was blocked by civil fighting. He told doctors that his brother had the idea to seat him on the back of a donkey and cross the Syrian side of Mount Hermon to the Israeli border. IDF soldiers transferred the boy to the Ziv Medical Center.
“The boy is conscious, he’s still in shock, but he’s communicating with us and understands what happened. His journey here was not an easy one,” said Prof. Alexander Lerner, head of the orthopedic department at the Safed medical center.
Prof. Lerner said the boy will need to undergo a series of operations. He said the Israeli medical team is working to save the boy’s other limbs from amputation and “get them to function as much as possible.”
The healing process will be a long one, Prof. Lerner said, “but the ultimate goal is to get him walking on his legs again and using his wounded arm. From the few stories we’ve heard so far, it seems we’re talking about a very brave boy who has been through a difficult ordeal and has survived. As such I’m optimistic and believe that he will once again stand and walk on his own two feet.”