Dr Amani Ballour, Who Ran Hospital in Syrian War Zone Receives Raoul Wallenberg Prize

A young Syrian doctor who ran an underground children hospital in the besieged region of eastern Ghouta during the Syrian civil war has been awarded a European Raoul Wallenberg prize for remarkable humanitarian acts.

Dr Amani Ballour, a paediatrician, ran a hospital in Syria from 2012 to 2018, and she now is a refugee in Turkey. Dr Ballour will be awarded on Friday with Council of Europe’s Raoul Wallenberg Prize for her courage, bravery and dedication in saving hundreds of lives during the Syrian war.

Award day January 17 also marks the 75th anniversary of Wallenberg’s arrest in Budapest by Soviet forces after the city was liberated.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić said; “Human rights and personal dignity are not a peacetime luxury. Dr. Amani Ballour is a brilliant example of the empathy, kindness and greatness that can flourish even in the most acute circumstances: in the midst of war and suffering,”

“A young paediatrician Dr Ballour just out of university, started as a volunteer serving the injured and ended up, several years later, managing a team of around 100 staff members at the subterranean hospital, the ‘Cave’, in her hometown near the Syrian capital.

“The Cave became a beacon of hope and safety for many besieged civilians. There, Dr Ballour risked her safety and security to help those in the greatest need. She and others worked day after day to save the lives of so many people, including children suffering the effects of chemical weapons,” the Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić added.