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Hospital in Syria: Patients kiss our hands for staying here to save their lives


This nun and this doctor run one of the few hospitals still open in Syria. 

This is the “Italian Hospital” in Damascus. Here, thanks to a campaign supported by the pope, they serve thousands of poor people for free. 

SR. CAROLIN TAHHAN
Italian Hospital in Damascus (Syria)
“We have always done this work with a humanitarian touch. We are not selective; we welcome all the sick, especially during these difficult times. We help the wounded who come to our hospital. Now, with this 'Open Hospitals' project, we help even more people.”

JOSEPH FARES
Italian Hospital in Damascus (Syria)
“When the sick come, we take care of them. When people come with war wounds, we treat them for free. We did this before the 'Open Hospitals' project. We want to cure all the Syrians who are ill.”

Since the beginning of the 'Open Hospitals' program in 2017, 16,500 patients have passed through its clinics and operating rooms. By 2020, they expect to reach 45,000 patients. The Syrian population is 95 percent Muslim and so usually they receive Muslim patients. 

SR. CAROLIN TAHHAN
Italian Hospital in Damascus (Syria)
“As soon as they enter, they see the nuns at the gate and ask: 'Can we enter?' 'Of course!' We welcome them with affection. If we see that the person's illness is serious, the nun tries to help to alleviate the pain and suffering... In recent times they have come from war zones. The patients here find that we open first our hearts, then our doors.”

JOSEPH FARES
Italian Hospital in Damascus (Syria)
“When we heal the wounded and tell them that they should pay nothing, they kiss the hands of the nuns and doctors to thank them for staying in Syria. They tell us that without us they would be dead.”

The “Open Hospitals” program in Syria was launched by the pope's nuncio in Damascus, Mario Zenari. It is funded by Catholic organizations in several countries. 

The economic aid has made it possible to buy sanitary machinery and medicines. It has also enabled them to be able to repair electricity heating and to teach doctors medical research from Europe. Above all, it has given hope to thousands of people in the midst of the war in Syria.