Disabled by war, Syrian professor helps others heal

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published

Faiz Matar, a 41-year-old professor from Syria, was forced to flee into Turkey when he was injured in an airstrike in his war-torn country. He lost a kneecap but not hope. Now, he runs a physiotherapy center for fellow Syrians maimed by war to recover. The Academic Physiotherapy Center he established with the aid of charities, serves refugees with permanent injuries and amputations seeking to adapt to their new life.

The professor enlists the aid of his former students at Tishreen University of Syria's Latakia at the center in Reyhanlı, a Turkish border town home to a large population of Syrian refugees.

Matar was injured when airstrikes hit his home in Syria three years ago. Like his fellow countrymen, he decided to head to Turkey, the country with largest Syrian refugee community in the world at more than 3.5 million people. After a series of surgeries, he recovered from his injuries although the missing kneecap made him permanently disabled. "I am hobbling but fine," he says, adding he is happy to be alive. He misses the days he used to train nurses at the university. "I am sad that I had to part ways with my school and students but I am happy to reunite with some among them in Reyhanlı," he says.

The center helps injured Syrians to recover from injuries inflicted by the ongoing war as well as trauma they suffered. It also provides wheelchairs and equipment for the disabled. So far, they supplied wheelchair to 200 left disabled by the conflict. Matar says they serve some 120 Syrian daily at the center staffed by 40 Syrians.

Fatima Khadija, a 17-year-old girl from Syria's Idlib, is among the patients at the center. "I don't feel my legs but I am grateful to God for survival," the girl who was injured in attacks in Syria. "Others died. I came here with my family," she says, thanking the center for helping her in her treatment.

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