Syrian doctor who escaped Assad regime sets up charity in UK to help orphans

  • Dr Edal escaped Syria in 2012 after being threatened by the regime
  • He helped Syrian refugees in Turkey
  • He sought asylum in the UK in 2014

Dr Najib Edal was operating on a patient in Syria in 2012 when a nurse warned him that soldiers of the Assad regime had entered his home town and were searching for him.

Dr Edal escaped to a friend’s house from where he left for Turkey after assuring his family that it was necessary for them all to leave. The hospital where he worked was later burned down and his house in Arihah was searched by the regime.

Dr Edal said: “I was targeted for treating demonstrators. But, that is my duty to treat anyone as I am a doctor. The Assad regime did not like that.”

Together with his wife and six children he fled to a Turkish refugee camp. While there Dr Edal and his wife joined the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) where they were able to investigate human rights violations, especially towards women in Assad-controlled Syria.

Dr Edal said: “Me and my wife, who is a gynaecologist, documented lot of cases of human right abuses especially because women were being raped inside the prisons under the Assad regime.”

In 2013, the Reyhanli blasts happened in Turkey which led to a lot of anti-Syrian sentiment in Turkey. Dr. Edal’s car was destroyed because it had a Syrian number plate.

Through his work with PHR, Dr Edal was invited to the UK to speak at a conference in London in 2014. It was there he sought asylum in the UK. He was granted asylum and in 2016 his family joined him here.

Dr Edal is now settled in the UK and has founded a charity called the Nour-Al-shams Foundation. Its aims are to help groups in Syria such as orphans, the elderly and widows struggling in the war-torn nation.

He said: “A lot of people contacted me from Syria to help them as they are suffering there.”

It also helps Syrians in the UK to adapt to their surroundings and new culture. The foundation has helped more than150 orphans in Syria by sponsoring them with the help of donations from the public.

The foundation also supports education centres in Syria and provides money to poor families.

During the holy festival of Eid-ul-Adha the foundation provides poor families with sheep. More than 100 sheep have been donated to families across Syria.

Dr Edal wants to open a charity shop in Manchester to help more Syrians and is calling for people make donations to help set it up.

He said: “I hope the people of UK like businessmen help us as the Syrians require it.”