Hospitals struggle as sandstorm leaves hundreds injured across Syria

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Hospitals across Syria are struggling to treat hundreds of adults and children, left choking and struggling to breathe, in the wake of a massive sandstorm stretching from Damascus to Deir e-Zor, Mousa Diyab, a nurse at Talbisah Civilian Hospital in the western Homs countryside, told Syria Direct on Tuesday. “Our hospital just couldn’t take in all the cases of choking and suffocation,” said Diyab. “We’re out of bottled oxygen, so we ended up moving a number of patients to a hospital in a-Rastan, 9km to the north,” he added. Hospitals in the opposition-held northern Homs countryside received more than a 1,000 cases of suffocation, choking and difficulty breathing, Yarab al-Dali, an a-Rastan based journalist, told Syria Direct on Tuesday. “The hospital received at least 70 injured, but we’ve got so few supplies–on top of regime bombardment–that we’ve shut down a part of our hospital,” the head of the Civil Defense Forces in Saraqib, 17km southeast of Idlib, told pro-opposition Smart News on Monday. The sandstorm has engulfed not only Syria, but also neighboring Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The meteorogical department at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirutdescribed the storm on Tuesday to Al-Jazeera as "unprecedented in Lebanon's modern history,” while the dust covered Israel “in a heavy haze,” reported Haaretz on Tuesday.