A child is treated at Atareb Hospital. (Hand in Hand for Syria/The Daily Star/Handout)
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One of the few remaining hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo will be forced to close its doors at the end of the month, after a major international NGO unexpectedly withdrew funding for the facility, leaving half a million people with access to only rudimentary field clinics.Atassi works for Hand in Hand for Syria, a British charity that established Atareb as a small community hospital. A year ago, the project rapidly expanded after a major European NGO agreed to fund it, at around $150,000 a month. The decision of the NGO to pay for the running of Atareb, but not allow its name to be made public or its staff to operate inside Syria, highlights an increasing fear among Western charities that want to provide support in one of the world's bloodiest conflicts, but feel it too dangerous to put their staff at risk and don't want to incur the wrath of the authorities in Damascus. The NGO was withdrawing its funding for Atareb.However, Dominic Bowen, coordinator of the NGO Forum, a group which represents international groups making aid deliveries to north Syria, said charities faced huge challenges to work in rebel-held areas.
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