doctors war
© RT
ome of the medics working in Stepanakert: Shahen Danielyan (upper left), Atom Ter-Grigoryan (upper right), Norayr Zakharyan (lower left) and Jean-Michel Ekherian (lower right).
Medics from as far away as France who came to help as fighting between Armenians and Azerbaijanis erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh, have told RT they weren't fully prepared for the atrocities and have called for the fighting to stop.

Intense clashes between ethnic Armenian and Azeri forces over Nagorno-Karabakh have been raging since late September. The mainly Armenian-populated region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, declared independence from Baku in 1991 and has since been backed by Armenia, which has stopped short of officially recognizing it. Azeri authorities consider Nagorno-Karabakh illegally occupied by Yerevan, proclaiming that they want to get their territory back. Baku is being backed by Turkey in this latest flare-up, and reports have claimed that Syrian mercenary fighters have been airlifted to fight against Armenians.

The warring parties are unwilling to share information about their losses, but numerous people are reportedly being killed and maimed on both sides every day. In Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh's main city, foreign medics mainly of Armenian origin, are working almost 24/7 to tend to the wounded.

Jean-Michel Ekherian, an anesthesiologist who came from Paris, has described the conflict as "monstrous" and "appalling." Ekherian says that the hospital is receiving "more and more young guys with horrible injuries."

"Some will die. Some will be disabled. It's very hard from a psychological point of view. It's a real shock for us, even though it would seem that we're used to pain."

The type of wounds delivered by modern weaponry are never encountered in civilian practice, Atom Ter-Grigoryan, a trauma surgeon from Moscow Regional hospital, has said.

"At first sight these are minor injuries, small scratches... in fact, x-rays show us splintered bones and torn muscles," he pointed out.



Very few of Ter-Grigoryan's patients have gunshot wounds; most injuries come from "explosive mines, cluster rockets and so on," he explained.

"They're high energy explosives, which leave incomparable damage."

"I can't understand the enthusiasm of some to continue this war," Norayr Zakharyan, who heads an orthopedics department at one of Moscow's hospitals, said. With so many people getting killed or severely wounded, "an adequate response is needed here to ensure a way to end this."

Swapping one of Moscow most famous clinics - Sklifosovsky Research Institute for Emergency Care - for a war zone was "no easy decision," surgeon Shahen Danielyan told RT's crew. "But having broad experience in emergency medicine, I didn't want to sit idle... I just followed my heart," he added. Similar thoughts and feelings seem to have brought many of his colleagues to Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Here, of course, it's not hand-to-hand combat," Danielyan said of his medical work in Stepanakert, "but the threat is there every second." On Wednesday, Armenia accused Azerbaijan of shelling a hospital in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku has denied the accusations.