Syrian Eye Doctor Risks Life To Save Sight

The World

Dr Aref Rifai, a Syrian-American ophthalmologist has performed more than a dozen surgeries in two northern Syrian towns. ( Photo: Aref Rifai)

The bitter civil war in Syria has placed immense pressure on the country's fragile health care system, with medical assistance especially scarce in contested areas. Ex-pat doctors are stepping in to fill some of the void. Dr. Aref Rifai is a Syrian-American ophthalmologist based in Pensacola, Florida. He's one of a handful of western doctors who have managed to work inside Syria performing eye surgery with some regularity. A few weeks ago, he operated on more than a dozen patients in two separate northern Syrian towns, often removing shrapnel from the eyes of injured civilians and combatants. For security reasons, he can't name the towns he has worked in. Dr. Rifai tells anchor Carol Hills that sometimes the problems in Syria seem overwhelming.
Will you help our nonprofit newsroom today?

Every week, more than 2 million listeners tune into our broadcast and follow our digital coverage like this story, which is available to read for free thanks to charitable contributions from listeners like you. But less than 1% of our audience supports our program directly. From now through the end of the year, every gift will be matched dollar for dollar by a generous donor, which means your gift will help us unlock a $67,000 challenge match.

Will you join our growing list of loyal supporters and double your impact today?