A picture that shows two Syrian girls, dust-covered, trapped in the rubble, grab their baby sister from her shirt has gone viral on social media. The baby is seen dangling out from a bombed-out building. Behind the girls is a helpless man who is seen slapping his hand against his forehead. The picture has been captured by Bashar al-Sheikh, a photographer working with local news website SY24. The destruction was caused by warplanes that pummelled the town of Ariha in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
According to news agency AFP, “Of the three girls shown in the photo, one is dead and two are fighting to stay alive, after regime airstrikes hit their home, said Dr. Ismail, who treated the victims in a nearby hospital but asked that his last name not be revealed. “Riham al-Abdullah, 5, who appears in the photo gripping her younger sister’s green shirt, died shortly after the strikes on Wednesday,” the doctor said.
“She has been receiving respiratory support for 24 hours” Dr. Ismail told AFP, adding that her condition was stable.
Bombardment by the Syrian regime and its Russian ally killed 20 civilians including five children Wednesday in the latest violence to hit northwest Syria.
The Syrian regime and Russia have stepped up their deadly raids on the Idlib region since late April, despite an international deal intended to prevent a full-scale offensive on the area of some three million people.
In almost three months, 730 civilians have been killed there in air strikes and ground-to-ground fire by the Damascus government and its allies.
The bombardment has also hit two dozen hospitals in the opposition area, which is made up of most of Idlib province as well as slivers of adjacent governorates.
On Wednesday, Russian air strikes killed 10 people from the same family, including three children, on a farm near the town of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Ten others lost their lives in regime air strikes and artillery fire in other parts of the jihadist-run bastion, the Britain-based monitoring group said.
Among these, regime war planes killed five civilians including two children in the town of Ariha in Idlib province, it said.