‘Targeted before birth’: Baby girl born alive with shrapnel in her head in Syria

© Raheb Homavandi
A baby girl has been born with shrapnel in her forehead in the city of Aleppo in Syria. Her mother had been caught in a bombing attack.

A wounded woman, who was nine months pregnant, was admitted to Mashfa al Midani Hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo. She had been injured in an airstrike that hit the residential area where she lived with her children. 

According to doctors, the children suffered only minor injuries, while their mother received several shrapnel wounds on her face and body, with one splinter piercing her belly.

الطفلة أمل التي أصيبت بشظية فوق عينها وهي في بطن أمها كما يظهر هي وأمها في صحة جيدة 23-9-2015

Posted by ‎مشفى م1 الميداني M1hospital‎ on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fearing for the lives of the mother and her unborn child, the medics decided to do an emergency cesarean section. On the photos of the surgery (WARNING: GRAPHIC) posted on Facebook by the Aleppo City Medical Council, the baby girl is seen being pulled from her mother’s womb with a piece of shrapnel in her head.

The girl seemed to be lifeless at first, but the doctors managed to revive her. A large V-shaped shell splinter was lodged in her forehead just above the left eye. One of the medics can be heard saying, “This is shrapnel. God willing, the baby is in good condition.”

The doctors said that the metal shard had apparently pierced the mother’s belly and womb before lodging in the baby’s head. The medics removed the shrapnel and saved the baby’s eye, but the shell fragment left a big gash on her face.

The medics said on Facebook that both mother and child are now in good condition and are recovering in the hospital.

“We don’t know if the baby girl saved her mother from this shrapnel or the mother saved her baby,” one of the medics told CNN.

“She wasn’t even born, and she was targeted,” said Dr. Mohammed Tabbaa, who runs the Syria Expatriate Medical Association (SEMA) and works directly with the surgeons that performed the operation.

“I’m hoping she’ll have a better future,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

The newborn girl was named Amel, which means ‘Hope’ in Arabic.

Her story is similar to a case in August 2014, when a baby boy was born after his mother had been hit in an airstrike, with shrapnel piercing her belly and scratching the baby’s head.