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Riham’s Childhood…

A five-year-old girl… her physical strength, one can readily assume… yet, she held her baby sister’s shirt in a tight grip as she dangled precariously from whatever was left of a building after it had been bombed! Riham al-Abdullah (5), who tried her best to save her seven-month-old sister Touka by gripping the latter’s green shirt, died shortly after airstrikes in the town of Ariha in north-western Syrian Province of Idlib carried out by Damascus, and its ally Russia, on July 24. Now, Touka is in intensive care after suffering wounds in her head…
When the two sisters were desperately trying to save themselves, their helpless father, standing on a damaged concrete slab, was seen watching the tragic event and slapping his hand against his forehead, with his mouth gaping in horror! He had no other option, but to look on amid the mangled wreckage…

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Just moments before a rescue attempt

The picture of two dust-covered Syrian girls, trapped in rubble and one trying to save another, was captured by Bashar al-Sheikh, a photographer working with a local news website, immediately after the fighter jets pummelled Ariha. Later, the image went viral on the social media. By that time, Riham had already left this beautiful world! Although Dalia, the third sister, is in stable condition after undergoing a chest surgery, the other sister, Rowane, died on July 26, succumbing to wounds on her chest and stomach. Amjad al-Abdullah also lost his wife and the mother of his four daughters in the airstrikes. Amjad has said that he would have to live only for Touka and Dalia, the two baby girls, from now on!
The members of White Helmets, a Voluntary Organisation in Syria, rescued Riham and other children from the rubble on that (bloody) eventful day! The organisation has claimed that the Russian Forces carried out the airstrikes on July 24. Meanwhile, a British Voluntary Organisation has confirmed that at least 20 people, including five children, were killed in the strikes in Idlib. Among them,10 were members of one single family!

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The pair were rushed to hospital by Syria Civil Defence volunteers

The local residents say that the Russian Forces have been carrying out airstrikes in North-Western Syria since April. The Russians are also bombing on Hama and Aleppo, as they believe that these two cities are strongholds of the rebels. The UN has expressed serious concern over the recent increase in the number of deaths of children and infants in the region. In its latest report, Save The Children has stated that 31 children were killed in Syria in 2018. The British NGO also said that the number of children killed in Idlib over the past four weeks had exceeded the number slain in the same region in the whole of last year. According to aid groups, the death of an alarming number of children has become a nightmare in war-ravaged Syria!
Since April (2019), around 400 people, including 90 children, have been killed in the troubled areas! The US-led allies have admitted that the Civil War has claimed 1,321 innocent lives in Syria and in neighbouring Iraq in the last 12 months. The eight-year-long Civil War in Syria has claimed more than 370,000 lives and displaced millions since it began in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests. Unfortunately, the children, as usual, are the worst sufferers…

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The eternal question goes on in the minds of conscientious people yet again: When and How do we learn to take care of our children?

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