DAMASCUS, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Syria's intellectual flight is aggravating the plight of the unrest-torn country which already has deteriorating economic and security conditions to cope with.
The departure of doctors and engineers brings more woes to the country and sent signals no less alarming than the destruction of schools, hospitals and public and private institutions.
An observer told a local website that the exposure of scientific and medical cadres, since the beginning of the crisis, to a systematic "liquidation" by armed groups, in addition to kidnapping and blackmailing, have pushed most of them to leave, either out of fear for their lives or in response to the temptations offered to them in other countries.
"My mother is sick and suffers from a chronic inflammation of the joints," Qamar, a 34-year-old Syrian woman, told Xinhua.
"We moved from one clinic to another in search of a qualified doctor, but regretfully all five clinics we visited were closed and we learned ... that the doctors have left on vacations without setting a date for return," she complained.
Syria has been ranked first in emigration of intellectuals among the Arab countries, according to media reports.
According to a medical source at a governmental hospital, a number of prominent doctors and heads of departments, some of them lecturers at Damascus University, have left the country over the past two years.
Some observers believe that their departure is unjustified especially at this critical juncture as the country badly needs them.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi had recently said that more than 25 percent of the Syrian doctors are out of the country.
However, the head of the Medical Association told local media that a significant number of doctors who left at the beginning of the crisis have returned to their homeland after finding out about the fake contracts that incented them to go to Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
He charged that militants and those who support them are killing human beings and systematically destroying hospitals and clinics, stressing that the association is in touch with the majority of doctors out of the country and that many of them offer aids and send pharmaceutical shipments to Syria.
Similarly, the country also suffers from the emigration of engineers and other elites, who are leaving the country in search of a better life and a more secured future, especially after the cessation of most engineering projects.
"It is crazy and stupid for anyone to turn down any offer to leave the country," said Ahmed, an engineer. "How can you stay in a country where there is no future for your children?"
That said, he stressed "when the destruction stops, you will find us returning for reconstruction."