"We have been negotiating for medical evacuation for some days now," World Health Organization representative Elizabeth Hoff told Reuters. The twins' mother and aunt are accompanying them to the Children's Hospital, Hoff said.
Everyone should be pulling for Nawras & Moaz, lifting all obstacles to ensure they get the surgery they need https://t.co/UnSP14fRAv
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power tweeted a message of support for the rescue efforts. "Everyone should be pulling for Nawras & Moaz, lifting all obstacles to ensure they get the surgery they need," she wrote.
The family received good news this morning, SAMS advocacy manager Mohamad Katoub said on Twitter: the twins have two conjoined normal hearts. Now, he said they hope to evacuate Moaz and Nawras to Beirut, Lebanon, and have received "several offers for treatment abroad."
The lengthy negotiations to evacuate the twins point to broader issues with access to health care across Syria, especially in areas under siege. "Throughout the crisis, medical evacuations have been subject to negotiations between the Syrian government and humanitarian actors as well as other stakeholders and armed groups in Syria," the Syrian American Medical Society wrote in their letter. "The medical needs of the patients have remained a secondary consideration."
The World Health Organization "has received a list of 16 critical medical cases in the government-besieged town of Madaya who need evacuation and two adults in the opposition-besieged Foua and Kefraya area, in Idlib province," as Reuters reported.
"The UN is ready to evacuate them, they are in desperate, urgent medical emergency, why on earth this should not be possible?" he said. "These are not numbers, these are people who are waiting to be medically evacuated, in what has become a medieval approach to a conflict."