On Thursday 12th May, Ahmed went to work as an engineer in the city of Homs. He said goodbye to his wife and two children aged 6 and 8. Before he left, they made plans to go to the seaside on Friday, his day off, and they were going to have a picnic.
At 4am, his wife called him, terrified and begging for help. In the early hours of the morning, she was killed, and no-one knows what happened to their two children.
In the early hours of Friday morning, Al Nusra Front took the village of Al-Zara in the Hama province in Syria. They surrounded the village then entered people's homes as they slept, kidnapping and killing people. Hundreds were injured, many were killed, and many of the women and children were kidnapped to be sold as slaves.
Hundreds tried to escape, and many managed to. But because the village was surrounded, many people were injured while trying to run away.
Today I have seen pictures from this massacre which are too graphic and upsetting to send to you, pictures that I won't be able to forget. Bodies in contorted positions, the dead lying in pools of red among splattered walls. The most harrowing shows a dozen pre school age children laid out on the ground, with streaks of dried blood across their tiny arms and legs. The youngest was no more than 4-5 months old.
Our medical teams have been dealing with some of the many people injured in this attack. Many of them were injured by gunshot as they were trying to run away. The injured had to be taken to different hospitals across the region as there were too many for the closest hospitals to deal with.
Before I found out about this attack, I asked Dr A how his day had been. He replied
"Painful. I have seen a lot of death over the last few days. It feels as though life is an accident, but death is a normal event."
We are focusing on two projects right now to try to deal with the continuing fighting and advances of groups including IS and Al Nusra Front. Hundreds of people are being injured daily, but the medical resources to treat them aren't there.
After losing the small desert hospital last week which was the only civilian hospital for kilometers in an area of great conflict and need, Dr A and I are planning on establishing a mobile hospital which can be moved from place to place according to how dangerous an area is, and where the needs are greatest. It will house a mobile operating room, with the plan to provide emergency care to the civilians injured in these areas where the conflict is greatest.
We have most of the funding to buy the vehicle, and now need the equipment to run this facility.
It is also a great priority to fund the main hospital that we have just opened this week. If you can help us fundraise for people to support this hospital project with monthly standing orders, this would make a big difference. Some of you might be able to collect standing order forms among your friends and relatives to the value of £50 per month. Perhaps some of you might be able to raise £200 per month or even more?
Every penny will make a difference. You can read more about the main hospital www.samarasaidappeal.org/hospital-appeal. Our preference is to raise monthly standing orders, although we also need to either fund and buy or gain donations of the equipment needed to operate the mobile hospital.
If you would like to find out how to help us fundraise to cover the monthly costs of the hospital, please call me on 07960 937 716.