‘Will my foot grow back?’ Aleppo kids mutilated by rebel shelling tell their stories (EXCLUSIVE)
WARNING: You may find footage disturbing
In the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo, children are the most vulnerable victims of war. While everything possible has been done to protect them from shells coming from the Islamist-held part of the city, living on the frontline still takes its toll.
Reem, a slim 13-year-old girl, lost her leg in a shelling while walking home from school several weeks ago.
“It feels like my leg being sawn apart,” Reem told RT’s Murad Gazdiev in an overcrowded Aleppo hospital. While she was lucky to have survived the shell blast, which struck just one meter away from her, adapting to the new reality appears to be tough.
“Will my foot grow back like before?” she said. “I want my foot back.”
Painkillers given to Reem have not proven effective enough, and doctors can now do little to relief her suffering.
“I never imagined such a thing could happen to my daughter,” Reem’s mother told RT. “I have no words to describe the pain.”
Next door in intensive care, a 6-year-old boy is lying in a coma after taking four pieces of shrapnel to the head. Doctors are unable to say whether the boy will ever wake up again, as the damage to his brain is enormous, Gazdiev reports.
“How inhuman do you have to be to target children?” the boy’s father said, addressing the Islamist militants. “What did he do to deserve this? What crime did he commit against you?”
Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation in Aleppo is “beyond alarming and only continues to deteriorate,” Krista Armstrong of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told RT in a statement last week.
“While the humanitarian situation is particularly dramatic [in the east], the whole of Aleppo is affected by the ongoing violence. Thousands more families have been displaced within or to western Aleppo recently, and civilians are also being killed by the ongoing shelling,” the ICRC spokeswoman said.
Less than a third of the hospitals are still functional in eastern Aleppo, and there are only 14 trained doctors left there, the ICRC said, while noting that people are still in desperate need of healthcare, water, and sanitation.
“What concerns us is that all parties to the conflict are committing violations against children,” UNICEF spokesperson for the Middle East and North Africa Juliette Touma told RT the previous week. “Violations against children in Syria should come to an end.”
In the meantime, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced a 48-hour ceasefire in the embattled city starting on Thursday to allow civilians to leave Aleppo and pave the way for aid deliveries.
“The goal of this work is to separate the terrorist from the ‘moderate opposition’ and get them out of eastern Aleppo,” the minister said.
This did not change the situation on the ground much, however, Murad Gazdiev reported after the statement was made.
“Syrian and Russian jets have been absent from Aleppo skies for many hours now. But there has been no lull in the fighting – fighting continues, shelling continues – of rebel-held areas, of government-held areas. The death toll is climbing every day; it’s big,” he said.