'We have only beds': Makeshift hospitals await Aleppo wounded
Medical workers are ready to tend to the wounded being evacuated from east Aleppo but have nothing but beds, according to a British doctor in Idlib province.
Shajul Islam, a volunteer from London who has been providing medical care in rebel-held areas, said in a video posted online that medics in Idlib were waiting for the injured to arrive at makeshift hospitals setup for those arriving.
But Islam said the facilities lacked basic equipment.
"The difficulty we have as doctors here is that we are so under-equipped," he said.
"None of these beds have any patient monitoring equipment. They are just beds. We have nothing."
Islam's statement came as the first wave of critically injured refugees were being evacuated from eastern Aleppo after repeated delays following ceasefires being broken by Iranian and Syrian government-backed militias.
Speaking from a makeshift medical facility in Idlib, he said: "We are now waiting for the injured to arrive at our hospital... and have a lot of ambulances now at the Ramoussa border crossing."
Turkish government-backed humanitarian aid group IHH said that it was observing the evacuation process in Aleppo and had welcomed the first group of refugees who were leaving the area.
Pictures posted on Twitter showed its aid workers handing out "aid packs" and carrying the wounded on stretchers.
"So far, 1,500 have been evacuated," Huseyin Oruc, vice president of the Turkish NGO the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), told Middle East Eye on Thursday.
According to Oruc, the evacuation of east Aleppo is being handled by four main organisations: IHH, UNOCHA, ICRC and the Syrian Red Crescent.
"Our teams have gone to east Aleppo along with the others to help take the pepole to Idlib," said Oruc. "Those who are heavily injured have been taken to hospitals."
"We are coordinating with the Turkish Red Crescent to receive them and we have already started setting up tents for them to live in," he added.
Zouhir al-Shimale, a journalist in east Aleppo, told Middle East Eye earlier today that evacuations were going "smoothly" and that civilians were being evacuated gradually over the next few days.
Shimale said: "They evacuated the injured people and now they are taking the families of the severely injured people."
Islam posted videos on Twitter of children injured by Syrian government air strikes, saying: "This is the terrorist Assad and Russia are saying they are killing... every day we are seeing this."
Early estimates by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is coordinating with the Syrian Arab Red crescent, said 20 buses and 13 ambulances had left eastern Aleppo with critically wounded on board.
Reuters reported that the first convoy contained 950 people. No confirmation was given as to how many of the civilians on board the convoy were rebels or severely injured civilians.
The exact number of wounded civilians has not been confirmed but rebel groups claim that 500 people who are in critical condition are in need of emergency evacuation.
Middle East Eye's Arwa Ibrahim also contributed to this report.