CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Magazine has honored three doctors as “Chicagoans of the Year,” after they traveled to Aleppo – one of the world’s most dangerous places – to highlight the civil war in Syria.
John Kahler, Zaher Sahloul, and Samer Attar said they believe most of the world has chosen to ignore the besieged city in the midst of a civil war that has raged on for nearly six years, with more than 400,000 Syrians killed.READ MORE: California, North Carolina Now Off Chicago's Travel Advisory, No New States Added But 38 Remain
Rebel-held eastern Aleppo was home to 1.5 million people when the war began, but now just a couple hundred thousand remain.
“At least 40 percent of them are children. These will die,” said Kahler, a pediatrician with Access Community Health Network, who spent four days in Aleppo this summer.
Among the thousands of children killed during the war was 2-year-old Doaa, who clutched a surgeon’s finger as he succumbed to bombing-related injuries.
Seven-year-old Bana Alabed stood in front of her window weeks ago, trying to block out the sounds of dropping bombs by plugging her ears with her fingers. Now her house is no more. She took to Twitter on Wednesday to highlight what’s happening in her besieged city writing, “I saw deaths and I almost died.”READ MORE: Red Cross Day Of Giving: Here's How You Can Help!
“This is humans bombing other humans into submission,” Kahler said.
He saw the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II first-hand. Kahler spent days working there earlier this summer as part of the Syrian American Medical Society, and still can’t believe the choices doctors are forced to make in Aleppo.
“Of five people, what two does it look like I could save?” Kahler said.
The underground hospital where Kahler worked in June has since been reduced to rubble, after the last hospital in the city was destroyed.
Still doctors in Aleppo are working to save lives one stich and one cut at a time.MORE NEWS: Red Cross Honors 16-Year-Old Hero Blair Holt, Who Lost His Life While Shielding Classmate From Gunfire
Kahler, Sahloul, and Attar will be honored by Chicago Magazine at a luncheon next week at the Four Seasons.