CHICAGO — The Syrian government on Friday announced plans to allow medical teams into the Turkey-Syria disaster zone, giving new hope to local doctors and volunteers who wish to travel to the Middle East and provide medical assistance after an earthquake ravaged the countries.

Dr. Abdulgany Hamadeh with the Syrian American Medical Society welcomed Friday’s news.

“People of Chicago are generous and people of Chicago have big hearts,” Hamadeh said.

The doctor told WGN News that he is grateful for the donated medical supplies earmarked for Syria. Hamadeh’s brother is heading up the relief effort.

“In Syria, there are no resources. There’s no medical aid going in,” Hamadeh said.

Palos Heights oncologist, Dr. Mufaddel Hamadeh, also plans to head to the Middle East and face the grim reality of ravaged Syria: “People have broken limbs and problems that need to be fixed. A lot of amputations.”

Physicians with the Syrian American Medical Society hope they can depart the United States soon to relieve their desperate comrades in Syria.

“They’re exhausted beyond belief,” Hamadeh said.

In the meantime, an Orland Park warehouse remains filled with medical supplies, crutches and syringes, all for Syria.  But the frustration with relief workers is how long it takes to get medical supplies and medical personnel into the country. 

“This particular campaign is going to be facing a lot of unknowns,” Hamadeh said. “First thing is, we don’t know if we’re going to be able to go inside. We’re still waiting for permission to enter.”

The Syrian American doctors continue to reach out to hospitals and medical associations for badly needed medical equipment but add that if locals want to help, the best way is by cash donation. Click here to access the fundraiser.

Donations have already exceeded $1.5 million.