A delegation from the Cuban embassy in Syria, led by business manager Pablo Ginarte, visited the Yussef Azmeh military hospital in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on Thursday.
Hospital director Brigadier General Ghassan Haddad said that despite Western sanctions, military hospitals in Syria remain operational. He explained that numerous injured people were treated at the hospital between 2013 and 2015, adding that seven cases of military personnel injured by chemical attacks and toxic gases perpetrated by terrorist groups around Damascus were also treated there.
"For Syrians, it is World War III," said Haddad, who spent four years receiving medical training at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He also lamented how depressed he felt when he saw several young men whose bones were destroyed by bombs and bullets from heavy weaponry.
One of those wounded by a bomb was 20-year-old Ali Ibrahim. He recalled that he and seven other soldiers attempted to defuse a bomb in a Damascus building during heavy fighting. However, the bomb “blew up and one of us was killed and all the others wounded.”
During his tour of the Yussef Azmeh military hospital, the Cuban representatives met with medical personnel and wounded patients, including 25 soldiers from the recent fighting in Ein Tarma, near Damascus.
Haddad explained that Syria and Cuba "are in the same trench fighting against imperialism and Zionism."
Cuba is renowned for having one of the world’s best healthcare systems, high-quality doctors and training and prevention programs. Medical programs initiated by the Cuban government as part of the country’s internationalist medical program, which includes disaster relief and disease prevention, have also been beneficial for countless others outside of the island.
Despite being crippled by decades of U.S. economic sanctions, the socialist-run island has sent thousands of medical professionals to foreign countries and has helped to train more than 80,000 doctors across the world for free.