Lebanese hospital treats Syrian rebel fighters

A hospital in Lebanon is treating some seriously wounded Syrian rebel fighters, though the Lebanese government won't officially admit its existence and funding is provided by the Syrian opposition.

Funding for unofficial treatment provided by Syrian National Council

A hospital in Lebanon is treating some seriously wounded Syrian rebel fighters, though the Lebanese government won't officially admit its existence and funding is provided by the Syrian opposition.

The CBC's Margaret Evans travelled to the hospital in Lebanon where fighters are receiving treatment from Lebanese doctors.

"The Lebanese government doesn't want to admit it exists, and the opposition Syrian National Council — funding the care here — doesn't want its location known,' Evans reported.

Most of the patients are Free Syrian Army soldiers brought across the border into Lebanon when their wounds are too serious for the basic field hospitals operating on the Syrian side.

Mohammed, 25, is in hospital with four steel pins holding his shattered ankle together. He was a Syrian government soldier conscripted into military service before he defected to the rebels last May.

"After we saw all these massacres and murders, I wasn't able to remain with the army of al-Assad," he said through a translator.

Like many other opposition fighters, he's angry at outside nations for not doing more to arm them in their struggle against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying he should have been deposed by now.

"But we don't receive any support at all … we even buy our weapons by ourselves," he says.

Mohammed says he will return to the fighting in Syria as soon as he is able

Caught in the middle

Although many of the patients recuperating at the hospital are soldiers with the Free Syrian Army, Nadim Shader Hamoud is a civilian father of four. He thought his family members were safe when they fled Homs more than a year ago to take refuge at his mother's house in Wali Khaled in northern Lebanon.

Shelling across the border into Wadi Khaled is increasingly common, however. The northern territory is a resting place and a staging ground for rebel fighters sending arms and new recruits into Syria, though the Lebanese government denies it.

"I was in Wadi Khaled sitting in front of the door with my daughter," says Hamoud, "and suddenly there was a bomb just in front of us. There was a lot of children with me as well as my daughter."

Hamoud lost his arms from the elbow down, and his left foot. His daughter lost her eyes, though no one has told him about her injuries yet.

"I just want to live in peace. I don't want to blame anybody," says Hamoud. "I just want to get healthy again and I don't want anything from either parts, not the opposition, not the regime."

As for returning to Syria, Hamoud says no. There's no country, he says. "Syria is over."

Files from the CBC's Margaret Evans