36-year-old dentist Muhannad Qabtur has offered to help refugees by working around the clock to provide dental check-ups to those fleeing war-torn Syria.
Nearly half of the 22 million people living in the country have been displaced since the its civil war began in 2011. It has not been easy for those refugees as many countries around the world have either turned their backs on them or begrudgingly accepted them.
For some Syrian refugees, it has made them question whether leaving the country or standing up to the regime was worth it in the first place.
Despite the countless who have closed doors to refugees leaving Syria, some have welcomed them with open arms. Others have done whatever they could to help their fellow men and women, offering services otherwise on obtainable.
Qabtur’s converted office is a campervan where he tends to more than a dozen patients a day. Located near the Turkish border in the Azaz region, Qabtur provides treatment to patients with dental ailments.
“The importance of my work is in helping people in terrible conditions,” the dentist said. “I could have emigrated and lived peacefully like other doctors, but I chose to stay, to live and to die by the side of my people, to live and die in my country.
“I don’t think about what will happen after the war. I want this war to end, but for the moment, I want to treat people with what I have at my disposal. I have no other ambitions than that.”
Qabtur’s campervan is complete with modern dental technology. Opened in October, the dentist receives a monthly payment from the Independent Doctors Association. The organization is trying to improve the level of healthcare in the region.
The campervan dental clinic is busy throughout the day and Qabtur is constantly welcoming patients before examining their mouths. It is not just the dentist who is continually rushing around treating patient after patient. His assistant is also constantly busy, signing up new refugees each day.
The campervan dental clinic is far removed from the life Qabtur once lived before the war broke out in Syria. There, the dentist managed a modern dental clinic. Now six years on from the start of the war, it does not look like Qabtur will return home anytime soon. Something he longs to do.
Although the dentist dreams of returning to the home that has been destroyed by both the country’s president Bashar-al Assad and ISIS, he is living in the now. Qabtur knows that working with his refugee patients is important work that must be done.
While the politicians are unable to find solutions and the fighters just cause more destruction and misery, Qabtur is able to truly help those in need.
“The importance of my work is in helping people in terrible conditions,” Qabtur said. The Azaz region has so many refugees currently, it looks like Qabtur’s work will keep him busy for the foreseeable future.