East bergholt/Ipswich: Syrian GP’s heartbreak over country’s destruction

Dr Fayez Ayache, a Syrian doctor who has worked in the UK for 40 years

Dr Fayez Ayache, a Syrian doctor who has worked in the UK for 40 years - Credit: Archant

A Syrian doctor working in Suffolk has spoken of his heartbreak at seeing his country destroyed by its own leaders.

Fayez Ayache, a GP at the Constable Country Medical Practice in East Bergholt, said the Syrian government’s “horrific” attacks on its own people were having a devastating impact.

He called on the West to take “decisive and precise” military action to help his suffering nation remove the Assad regime.

Dr Ayache, who left Syria in 1973 to fulfil his dream of becoming a doctor, said that never before had a leader behaved so ruthlessly towards their own nation and that he was in constant contact with his elderly relatives who are refusing to leave their homes.

He said: “Nobody ever did to his own people in history what Syria has now done – Iraq is nothing compared to this.

“The worst this is our own army is doing this – our own army, who we pay at the end of the week is paying us back with bombs. Isn’t it sad?

“We need the help of others to get rid of our own leaders, who are ruthless.”

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He said those backing the rebels fighting against the Syrian government, led by President Bashar al-Assad, would welcome targeted air strikes from the West to help destabilise the Assad regime, which has been accused of using chemical weapons in rebel-held areas, claiming the lives of hundreds of people.

Several members of Dr Ayache’s family are still living in the country. Some have fled their homes to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.

More than two million refugees who have fled their homes are now living in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey and Dr Ayache said one million of those are believed to be aged under 11 years old.

He added: “Nobody could deny, lots of big countries have chemical weapons but they do not use them. They have nuclear warheads but do they use them? No they don’t.

“To use them against your own people is an even bigger crime.”

Dr Ayache, who has been glued to the news in recent days, said the use of chemical weapons was “horrific”, but not worse than the long-term impact of the destruction of the country’s infrastructure – homes, schools and workplaces – which will leave the country struggling for years to come.

“People are hungry, winter is coming. Winter will be very cold, especially in the camps in Turkey,” he said. “The country has had enough destruction from its own government and I think the Americans, British, French, or anybody who can play a part in this won’t do any damage.

“All the (air strike) targets would be places run by the government and I hope that it will happen.”

He said it was heartening that in the past two years people who previously would have had little knowledge of Syria and its history were now actively involved in supporting its people, and many had responded positively to an appeal he had led earlier in the year.

Already Dr Ayache, who also works at Ipswich Hospital’s ear, nose and throat department, has collected blankets, clothes, medical equipment and donations to help buy ambulances to send out to Syria.

To find out more about how you can help send supplies to Syrian people affected by the conflict email fayezayache@aol.com