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Activist: Lebanon hospital ejects wounded Syrians

July 15, 2013 8:28 P.M. (Updated: July 16, 2013 8:46 P.M.)
TRIPOLI, Lebanon (AFP) -- A Lebanese hospital has "forcibly" ejected 30 Syrians patients wounded in violence in their country, an activist said on Monday, while the hospital said they were discharged over unpaid bills.

"The Alameddin hospital in Minieh threw out 30 wounded Syrians from Qusayr" on Sunday, Khaled Mustafa, director of an office helping refugees in northern Lebanon, told AFP.

The hospital, in northern Lebanon, has hosted dozens of Syrians from the town of Qusayr, a former rebel stronghold that fell to government troops last month, prompting an exodus of residents.

"They were forcibly expelled and were insulted," Mustafa said, adding that "80 percent of them were fitted with splints because of their serious fractures."

"The splints were removed without any concern for their health."

"They wouldn't even let them take their personal belongings or their x-rays," he added.

Mustafa said the patients -- some of whom were observing the fasting month of Ramadan -- were left to sit on a pavement for two hours before Red Cross ambulances arrived to take them to another hospital in the nearby city of Tripoli.

Contacted by AFP, the hospital management declined to comment, but an employee speaking on condition of anonymity said the patients were made to go because they failed to pay their bills.

The employee also said the small hospital in northern Lebanon had become "a kind of center for refugees fleeing Syria."

"The whole hospital was taken up with Syrians and was unable to assist Lebanese in the region in case of emergency," the employee said.

Mustafa rejected those claims, insisting that hospital fees had been paid, and that his office had purchased medicine and equipment for the hospital worth $34,000.

More than 600,000 Syrians have fled their country to Lebanon, according to the United Nations escaping a conflict now in its third year that has killed more than 100,000 people.

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