Syrian doctor working in Scotland launches emotional appeal

A Syrian refugee doctor who risked his life to continue a medical career and is working for the NHS in Scotland through the Covid-19 pandemic has made an emotional plea to help medics battling the virus during civil war.
Dr Ahmed Subeh, his wife Dana and son Nabeel, who turns one on Monday.Dr Ahmed Subeh, his wife Dana and son Nabeel, who turns one on Monday.
Dr Ahmed Subeh, his wife Dana and son Nabeel, who turns one on Monday.

Dr Ahmed Subeh fled Damascus at the height of the conflict, leaving behind his family to take his chances as a refugee in Europe.

He travelled through Lebanon and Turkey before joining a small boat crammed with 45 refugees to Samos in Greece.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Dr Subeh then managed to board two different flights one to Paris and the other from Italy onto Edinburgh Airport where he claimed asylum in 2015.

After being housed in Glasgow he improved his English and completed his medical studies to be a doctor in Scotland landing a job in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary two years ago.

He has been reunited with his wife, Dana and they now live happily in Scotland, with their baby son, Nabeel, who will celebrate his first birthday this week. However, many of his family and friends remain in war-torn Syria and he is worried about the impact of the pandemic there now.

Dr Subeh, who has been working in the intensive care unit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic is calling on the public to back the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal to help millions of people embroiled in the civil war in Northwest Syria.

Read More
DEC Coronavirus Appeal: Refugee camps are at serious risk from pandemic. Please ...

The country is having to cope with the virus without adequate medical care as it enters the 10th year of a conflict which has kiled at least 224,000 civilians, 29,000 of them children.

Dr Subeh, said: “The health system in Syria cannot deal with this sort of pandemic, it is deprived of medical staffing, with numbers infected rising daily, doctors risk catching the virus and then passing it back to patients. “Living in camps or in tents, it is really difficult to self-isolate, there aren’t enough intensive care beds, it is a really critical situation.“Thinking outside your bubble during a pandemic, to not only help yourself but help others is very kind and generous. “This is really important, I’m most certain this will help many, many people and it will save lives as well.”

Dr Subeh spoke about his time working on the frontline of the pandemic at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

He added: “The stress was everywhere at the beginning, less stressful than Syria but stressful in its own way.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We were scared of getting the virus especially at first when I had to perform CPR on a patient without a full PPE mask, but it quickly got better.

"You just have to take a deep breath and try to work things through and it turned out well eventually.”

The Syrian conflict triggered 1.8 million new displacements in 2019, mostly the result of military offensives in the northeast and northwest of the country, with around 6.5 million people living in internal displacement camps.

Many now live in crowded camps on the border with Turkey with only basic facilities.

Of the 111 public hospitals in Syria, only half are fully functioning and there is a huge shortage of health workers with 70 per cent of medics like Dr Subeh having already left the country.

The DEC appeal in Scotland has raised around £1.6 million in under two weeks as part of a UK wide total of more than £15 million.Sally Foster Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland and the DEC Scotland chair said: “We have seen here how deadly and frightening the coronavirus can be. But just imagine what it would be like to face with the threat of Covid-19 when you live in an overcrowded refugee camp, where social distancing is impossible and where you don’t even have access to clean water to wash your hands.

“During the pandemic, communities across Scotland have come together to protect each other from the threat of the virus; now we’re asking people to show the same solidarity with people around the world facing this silent killer.

"Whilst we’re hugely grateful for all the generous support so far, more than one and half million donated in just over a week, but we need a lot more – every pound counts and will help save lives.”

How to donate:


Phone: 0370 60 60 900

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

SMS: Text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 and the whole £10 goes to the DEC CORONAVIRUS APPEAL.

You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer’s permission.

For full terms and conditions and more information go to

Post: Send a cheque to DEC Coronavirus Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.