Photographer: Tamim Ahmad Baba
Title: Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to AID for free prosthetics
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Period: 01/2020 - 02/2020
Category: Solutions

Istanbul, Turkey - They lost their limbs to the ongoing wars in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And, the enemy was same: military missiles, rebel rockets, or insurgent IEDs.

Some of the amputated limbs were fixed by metalsmiths who welded the truncated legs with the corroded iron boots – so that the victim could at least walk until a better prosthetics is arranged. Others just managed to lay their hands on donated crutches.

Whether it's Mahmoud Qabbani, a Syrian tailor who was on his way to work when regime warplanes struck with missiles wounding his leg which was later amputated, or Mari Muveli of Afghanistan, who lost her leg to a Taliban attack years ago, victims continue to approach this clinic in Turkey's Istanbul city, run by an alliance of global doctors who make prosthetics and help amputees to walk again.

Turkey hosts around four million Syrian refugees, the highest anywhere on the planet, and nearly half a million are Afghanis, Iraqis, Iranians, and other nationalities. And thousands of them want limbs.

"It leaves us in tears when we see wounded Syrians coming to us with medieval-era iron legs prepared by welders there," Dr Yasar Tatar of Alliance of International Doctors or AID tells me.
AID's clinic is funded by Gulf charities like Kuwait's Zakat House and Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation.
"The difference between Syria's wounded and victims of rest of the wars is that Syrians have been losing limbs to bombings. Others are mostly hit by landmines or IEDs. Around 80 percent of the victims we receive are from Syria," says Tatar, who has been working as a humanitarian medic for the last 20 years.
In just roughly two and a half years of its orthotic and prosthetic mission, AID has provided the war victims with over 1000 prosthetic limbs.
The NGO uses cutting-edge technology; 3D printed-limbs, that are produced at the three-story clinic, allowing prosthetics to be prepared quickly and accurately for people wounded in the wars.

Syria's war has left behind an army of limbless.
UN estimates more than 1.5 million Syrian are now living with permanent impairments, including 86,000 people who have lost limbs. And this clinic has been a ray of hope for hundreds of poor families who come here for free treatment.



Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

A Yemeni war victim intriguingly looks at the camera while using the physiotherapy facility at the clinic before he tries his new prosthetic leg

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

Mari Muveli 35 is an Afghan refugee living with her children in Istanbul s Eski ehir municipality for the last six years She is a single parent after she got divorced and lives on a monthly stipend provided by the Turkish state br br I lost my leg during a Taliban attack when I was a teenager I was told by people that it will cost me 10 000 to get prosthetics The UN office for refugees kept delaying my treatment So I finally landed at this clinic and they have really helped me get back on my legs

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

Mahmoud Qabbani 37 a tailor from Syria s Aleppo region has come to the AID clinic to repair his prosthetics with his wife In 2015 he was wounded during a Syrian regime strike in which he lost his left leg br br I saw a Facebook advertisement saying this AID centre helps people The doctors here treat me like their brother There isn t anything better than this

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

A Yemeni war victim intriguingly looks at the camera while using the physiotherapy facility at the clinic before he tries his new prosthetic leg

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

A war victim awaits doctors at the clinic for new prosthetics

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

Mohamad Ahmad Mosarvi 25 keenly looks at the 3D equipment at the clinic A black belt martial artist Mosarvi lost his leg three years ago in Syria when a Russian-backed regime warplane hit the hospital where he was volunteering as a paramedic He is today at the clinic to get back on his knees and to live his dreams again

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

Mohammad Raoun 17 looks at another Syrian patient at the clinic who lost his arm in the Syrian war Mohmmad studies in Class 10 at a local school in Istanbul and has come to get new prosthetics for his leg he lost in the Syrian war Five years ago when I was 12 I was wounded in rocket attack in Aleppo I was taken to a local hospital but it didn t help Life became very difficult Then I came to Turkey and this clinic helped me with my prosthetics They have made me a new one and a better fit

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

It leaves us in tears says Dr Yasar Tatar coordinator of Alliance of International Doctors AID when wounded refugees visit us with medieval-era iron legs br AID in one of the leading organisations providing free treatment to war victims Supported by charities like Kuwait s Zakat House and Turkey s Humanitarian Relief Foundation it has provided over 1 000 prosthetic limbs Turkey hosts around four million Syrian refugees the highest anywhere on the planet and nearly half a million from other nationalities And thousands of them have no limbs to walk on

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

A Syrian war victim walks the red line a test performed to check the balance of the new prosthetics on the patient It s estimated over 100 000 people in Syria are in desperate need of prosthetics The technology war ravaged Syrians or other victims from poor countries can t afford br There is fear among the relief organizations like Aid International that after the pandemic period governments will reduce the share of the aid in their budgets and relief works will be limited

Undone by welders, limbless refugees rush to Turkey for free prosthetics

Artificial legs prepared by Syrian welders lay on the floor at AID clinic Syria s war has left behind an army of limbless UN estimates more than 1 5 million Syrians disabled including 86 000 who have lost limbs