A Time for Healing

In Amman, Jordan, just 50 KM from the Syrian border is the rehabilitation center Souriyat Across Borders. A group of Syrian women living in different countries realized there was an intense need for the aftercare of those severely injured by the ongoing war in their home country. Since the war in Syria began in 2011 it has created 4.8 million refugees worldwide according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research. Souriyat Across Borders has been a missing link for Syrian’s needing rehabilitation after being severely wounded in the conflict. Operating the center in Jordan has been a complex process. Nisreen Khazna Katbi, a board member said, the Jordan government has been very gracious in allowing the organization to continue its work. Souriyat Across Borders is not officially registered as a hospital in Jordan because it’s a rehabilitation center. Ms. Katbi also said, the Jordan government understands the situation in Syria, so they are able to continue their work. Since the conflict began in 2011, a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research found that 11.5% of Syrians have been wounded or killed. The report also noted that 400,000 deaths have been due to violence, where 70,000 were a result of the health infrastructure falling with the rest of the country. A small population of wounded Syrians overcome the slight window of time to receive the emergency care they need after being shuttled through illegal border crossings. Rebel groups considered moderate or supported by the West, such as a faction of the Free Syrian Army or volunteers help the wounded to get across. Once inside Jordan, they are able to receive operations from organizations like Doctors Without Borders or a Jordan government hospital. The number of Syrians that are able to make it across into Jordan for emergency medical treatment is considerably less than when the violence first began in 2011. Pressure from the influx of Syrian refugees on Jordan's resources and economy has taken its toll on the small country of eight million, which has long been a host for a number of refugees from surrounding countries. In April of 2016, 40,000 people were stuck at the border in Syria and refused entry into Jordan. Ms. Katabi also said that in the past the moderate rebel groups have also aided children orphaned by the war to cross the border and receive help from Souriyat Across Borders. The injured that make it as far as Souriyat Across Borders, know that this is the last step in their recovery process. For the brutally injured that receive surgery and treatment in Jordan, most are not physically ready to return home. The patients who receive care at the facility often stay there for a great length of time. Souriyat Across Borders is a place for physical therapy, psychological counseling, and skill building. They provide a safe atmosphere for those recovering from major operations. Here patients can receive physical therapy and prosthetics; a post treatment need that is lacking in the maze of health care options for Syrian refugees. The majority of patients at Souriyat Across Borders are civilians that were caught in the midst of conflict, though some are former fighters with the moderate wing of the FSA. Ms. Katbi said that 99% of the patients at her clinic return to Syria after they have finished their treatment. They are technically not refugees, because they were brought in under emergency circumstances and not registered through a refugee camp. Those that are in a position to register with UNHCR, and have detrimental medical issues often cannot live in the refugee camps inside Jordan, because of the conditions. Dusty desert floors and lack of advanced medical treatment in the camps force those with medical conditions to survive outside the camp, so they can access advanced medical facilities and continue with treatment.

Photography, Journalism, Photojournalism
Men at Souriyat Across Borders in the physical therapy room of the rehabilitation center.   Most of the patients stay long-term, but return to Syria after their treatment.   
Abraham, 12, was injured when a barrel bomb hit his house.  He is recovering at Souriyat Across Borders from a bone transplant in his leg. Since the conflict began in 2011, a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research found that 11.5% of Syrians have been wounded or killed.
Maywood, 10, right, was playing with a landmine and lost both of his legs, one arm, and is now partially blind and deaf.  Ablaze, 9, left, home was hit by a barrel bomb and has a fractured leg.  Both boys are long-term patients at Souriyat Across Borders.  
Mahamood, from Homs is recovering from bone surgery at Souriyat Across Borders. After being shot by a sniper his bones were shattered.  Since the conflict began in 2011, a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research found that 11.5% of Syrians have been wounded or killed.
Nour, 14, saw her mother killed during a bombing and had a stroke from the trauma.  Most people receiving treatment at Souriyat Across Borders are long-term patients.
Physical therapist Ayad, right, helps Abdul who was hit by shrapnel in the head.  He lost his ability to speak and is paralyzed. Most people receiving treatment at Souriyat Across Borders are long-term patients.