The hospital is located just 30km from Aleppo, one of the hardest-hit areas of Syria. It provides free healthcare to everyone, regardless of political or faith affiliation. The hospital became famous when it featured in the BBC Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children in September 2013, the hospital received casualties from an incendiary-bomb attack on a local school.
In his 29 August 2013 BBC News report Ian Pannell described Atareb as “a basic hospital funded by handouts” (03:17); Atareb is described as a “field hospital” by Mr Pannell in his text article of 30 September 2013 and also by Dr Hallam at 38:04 in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’.
However images on the Atareb Facebook page posted prior to the day of the alleged attack (August 26) depict a relatively well-equipped facility, including a kidney dialysis machine and surgical and x-ray facilities (both images 8 July 2013). This June 2014 article on the Hand in Hand for Syria website states:
When we first opened the hospital in May 2013, it was just a small A&E unit. We’ve grown it very successfully since then, and it now offers 68 beds and a wide range of services – from maternity and neo-natal facilities to many outpatient departments, three excellent operating theatres and a laboratory. It cares not only for those injured in the conflict but also non-conflict-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease, asthma and diabetes. It even has a dialysis unit. It provides FREE healthcare to anyone, regardless or political or faith affiliation.
With regard to Pannell’s claim that Atareb Hospital is “funded by handouts”, the same article states:
The hospital’s funding comes from a European donor which supports global emergency response. This funding reaches Hand in Hand for Syria via an INGO partner. Although that funding is still very much in place, after one year our agreement with our INGO partner has come to an end – and the funding has to come through a partner.
Further articles about Atareb Hospital are on the Hand in Hand for Syria website.
The images below are from Atareb Hospital’s Facebook page.