TSF in Syria: 8 hospitals connected

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After 11 months of action and despite deadly bombings, Telecoms Sans Frontières continues to support Syrian medical organizations...

Since December 2012, following numerous bombings of telecommunications facilities within the city of Aleppo, one of the TSF connection devices has been destroyed. However, two additional hospitals are to be connected this February. This brings to date 8 satellite connections installed by Telecoms Sans Frontières within the country’s 8 major hospitals.

To cope with possible attacks that could isolate medical teams, TSF intends to strengthen the connection network by expanding and diversifying its facilities within the country. Thus, an additional connection is expected in the coming days in the ninth hospital in the West of the country.

15 mobile satellite lines made available to medical staff since March 2012 also continue to connect the key areas of the region with neighbouring territories and the rest of the world, thereby enabling the opening up the country. The TSF satellite facilities play an important role in the coordination of the medical rescue services allowing the evacuation of casualties to the field hospitals.

TSF was one of the first international NGOs to enter this country deeply affected by conflict. According to UN data, the civil war that has lasted for more than 11 months, has caused nearly 70 000 deaths and displaced millions of civilians who now face extremely difficult living conditions and constant insecurity. Since the beginning of the conflict, the fighting has become more and more intense.

The vital need for communication continues to grow; TSF will therefore continue to support medical organizations in Syria.

Chronology of TSF actions in Syria since March 2012:

  • As early as March 2012, TSF deploys to the Syrian border and provides the first satellite lines to medical relief organisations in the Northern and Southern provinces of Syria.

Télécoms Sans Frontières also intervenes along the Syrian border, close (less than 2 km) to the bombed villages. The operations conducted (free phone calls offered to refugees outside the camps) are very limited due to security reasons.

  • In May 2012, to insure the homogeneous distribution of communication means towards several medical structures, TSF reinforces its support to medical relief teams, from Lebanon, with additional satellite equipment to facilitate the repatriation of wounded civilians from conflict areas, and the supply of medicines to the besieged towns of Western Syria.

  • In early August 2012, TSF enters A’zaz, in Syria, 40 km north of Alep. TSF is the first international NGO to enter this town which has been totally destroyed by violent fighting between rebels and the regular army. Since then, TSF stands ready to set up a humanitarian hub for the benefit of NGOs, as soon as they establish operations in the country.

To support medical relief teams in Syria and international NGOs in neighbouring countries, TSF provides satellite communications to medical workers and trains them in the use of this equipment.

  • In late August 2012, TSF conducts its first calling operations for Syrian civilians fleeing the fighting that continues in the country. Several families are finding refuge in makeshift camps where they live in very difficult conditions, waiting to cross the border with Turkey.

  • In September 2012, Télécoms Sans Frontières is increasing the number of its satellite lines in Syria and is reinforcing the medical coordination in Aleppo hospitals. Thanks to their satellite equipment, TSF experts support the actions of medical staff.