File - A wounded Syrian refugee who fled the violence from the Syrian town of Flita, is pictured at a hospital at the border town of Arsal, in the eastern Bekaa Valley March 20, 2014. (REUTERS/Hassan Abdallah)
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Using intimidation and force, armed groups in Lebanon are delaying or preventing the movement of wounded patients for sectarian and political motives, medical professionals say, leading to further injuries and, in some cases, death.It's a familiar story to Dr. Kassem al-Zein, a Syrian national who runs a field clinic in Arsal and said several of his patients had been beaten at an informal checkpoint in the Labweh area before reaching the hospital.While patients with manifest injuries are mostly allowed to pass without much hassle, Zein said, those who appeared only lightly wounded or had internal injuries were often harassed at the checkpoint. Some – though not all – of the patients being transferred from Arsal were wounded while fighting against the Syrian regime and its ally Hezbollah.When someone from the neighborhood is injured and needs to be evacuated, the Lebanese Red Cross is required to call the operating militia leaders in the area and ask them to stop shooting so they can retrieve the patient.
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