@PsychologyDocUn mes de edad Dofdaa Sahar murió ayer de desnutrición porque el régimen de Assad no permite ningún alimento o medicamento pic.twitter.com/JlNMuyEGHx— Repuestos para Autos (@argenis32259712) October 24, 2017
Sahar Dofdaa only lived for 34 days.
She weighed 4.4 pounds, had sunken eyes and her ribs protruded through her pale, paper-thin skin.
Her crime: She was born in the war-torn Syrian city of Ghouta, which has been under siege for four years. Her mother was too malnourished to breastfeed her and her father was too poor to afford supplement formula.
Her parents brought her to a clinic hours before her death, but it was too late for the doctors to save the emaciated newborn. This is when freelance journalist Amer Almohibany saw and photographed Sahar, bringing the world’s attention to plight of civilians in Syria once again.
With the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad closing in on the opposition factions, the conditions in the city have deteriorated immensely. There is a dire shortage of food, water and medicines. The city is home to 400,000 people who are unable to leave the misery they are living in and the last time they received any humanitarian aid was over a month ago.
They do not have running water, electricity or any other basic facilities. Most of the families living in the city are barely able to afford one meal per day.
Sahar was just one of more than 200 innocent children who have so far died in Ghouta due to malnourishment.
Unfortunately, she will not be the last one as according to UNICEF, more than 1,100 children in the rebel-held enclave are suffering from acute malnutrition.
“It is not only that the Syrian regime used siege as a mean of warfare, but the siege is now beyond military necessities and their proportions, as the siege has turned into a matter of starving and restricting civilians,” stated Fadel Abdul Ghany, the chairman of Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR). “Its cost is higher than any anticipated military objective, and has become a form of collective punishment that denied civilians basic services and food.”
Between 2012 and 2017, nearly 400 civilians in Ghouta — including 206 children and 67 women — died from starvation and shortage of medicine, according to SNHR. If the conflict continues to worsen, doctors on the ground fear many more children, elderly, sick and the disabled might die.
“Today eastern Ghouta is suffering from the worst kind of criminality,” said an activist named Raed Srewel, according to the Guardian. “Thousands of children are in danger, and if there is no international movement or a U.N. initiative to resolve this, the consequences will be extremely dangerous and Ghouta will become a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Russia Turkey brokered a deal to create several “de-escalation” zones earlier this year — and Eastern Ghouta is one of them. However, if the Syrian government doesn’t allow the humanitarian aid back into the city, more people might lose their lives to a war that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Bassam Khabieh