Just minutes ago, the United Nations revised its latest estimate for the death toll in the Syrian civil war, which has been raging for over two years now. The precise number cannot be known, but the estimate today was 93,000 dead, including 6,500 children.
The grim benchmark came as President Bashar Assad’s regime has scored a series of battlefield successes against the rebels seeking his ouster and international efforts to forge a round of peace talks have stalled. After regaining control of the strategic town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon, regime forces appear set on securing control of the central provinces of Homs and Hama, a linchpin area linking Damascus with regime strongholds on the Mediterranean coast, and Aleppo to the north.
As C.J. Chivers reports in this video, the limits of the advanced weaponry for the Syrian rebels, along with the influx of Hezbollah fighters, is considered to be a large reason why the tide is turning.
Across the border, Israeli hospitals are increasingly receiving more desperate pleas for Syrian civilians (and fighters) seeking medical care. Yesterday, the Times of Israel reported on a Syrian patient, who was sent to Israel with a note affixed to his shirt by his doctor in Syria, begging for help and outlining the treatment the man had already received.
The note, which was signed by a Syrian doctor and dated June 8, opened with “Hello distinguished surgeon” and explained that the patient, aged 28, suffered from a gunshot wound in the chest and shrapnel damage to his diaphragm and liver, according to a translation provided by Channel 10…
“Please do what is necessary and thanks in advance,” the note concluded, while noting the various drugs that had been used during treatment and that the patient had been hospitalized for two days.
After many noted how remarkable the story was, Jeffrey Goldberg tweeted thusly:
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) June 13, 2013
Meanwhile, Lazar Berman reported on the first Syrian heart patient to be treated in Israel, a four-year-old girl named Nadrah, who is recovering now in Jerusalem. Raha, her mother was able to make the trip as well.
The doctors were the first Jews she had ever seen. She expected hostility from the Israelis because she was Syrian, but was pleasantly surprised at the welcome she received. “Everyone there treated me well, especially the doctors,” she said.
Shevet Achim staff coordinated a trip for her to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount, and she relished taking in Jerusalem. “It’s nice to see how everyone lives together,” she said. They also took her and Nadrah to the beach in Jaffa, the first time they had ever seen the sea.
It’s a great story. Check out the whole thing.