Syrian airstrike aftermath photo shows girl saving sister


This desperate moment is captured in a grainy image taken on Wednesday in the Syrian town of Ariha, Idlib province, by local media activist group SY24. It reveals the aftermath of an airstrike conducted by Syrian government forces, backed by Russia. Not pictured is their mother, who died in the attack.

In recent days, scores of civilians have become the victims of the government’s Russia-backed offensive to regain control of Northwestern Syria. Over the past week, nearly 100 civilians died in similar bombings, according to the White Helmets, a volunteer rescue group also known as the Syria Civil Defense.

Over the past two months, Syria’s government has intensified air attacks on Idlib and surrounding areas — the last remaining areas controlled by the opposition. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and tens of thousands are believed to have been displaced, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The last few weeks have been particularly deadly for children, according to organizations operating in the area.

More children have been killed in the last four weeks in Idlib province than the total number killed during 2018 in the same area, the charity Save the Children and its partner organization Hurras Network said in a statement released on Wednesday.

At least 33 children have been killed since June 24, compared to 31 children killed during all of 2018, the charity said.

“The current situation in Idlib is a nightmare. The injuries we are seeing are horrific,” said Sonia Khush, Save the Children Syria response director in a press release. “It’s clear that once again children have been killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks.”

Since the violence escalated at the end of April, at least 400 people—including 90 children—have died, estimates Save the Children.

“Mr Trump, please stop this. Stop this shelling. Stop the killing of these innocent people,” said one Syrian-American woman, Rania Kisar, in an emotional Facebook video earlier this week. Standing amid rubble after an airstrike in the city of Maarat al-Numan, she said, “Please America. Please do something,” before breaking into sobs.

CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.

Last week, UN Humanitarian Affairs chief Mark Lowcock warned the United Nations Security Council that “attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure need to stop immediately.”

Local hospitals have closed out of fear of being attacked and 94 schools are being used as shelters, according to the UN.

“These attacks don’t just claim innocent lives,” said Lowcock. “They also deprive thousands of civilians of basic health services, even as fighting intensifies around them,” he added, calling the attacks on civilian infrastructure “appalling.”

Over 5.6 million people have fled Syria since 2011, and millions more have been internally displaced, according to the latest UN numbers, as hope for peace and normalcy fades.

Ghazi Balkiz in Abu Dhabi, Jomana Karadshed in Istanbul, and Sharif Paget in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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