A newborn baby whose mother was injured in an airstrike near Aleppo, Syria, was born with shrapnel lodged in her forehead, a hospital spokesman told CNN.
The shrapnel had reportedly pierced the woman’s womb and was lodged just above the unborn baby girl’s left eye.
The Syrian Expatriate Medical Association, an NGO operating in Syria, posted photos and video on its Facebook page of surgeons removing the shrapnel.
The baby’s mother had been injured in a government airstrike on September 18 outside of Aleppo and was bleeding from her belly. Doctors decided to perform an emergency C-section to try and save both of their lives.
“She wasn’t even born, and she was targeted,” Dr. Mohammed Tabbaa, who works with the doctors who performed the surgery, told CNN.
“We don’t know if the baby girl saved her mother from this shrapnel or the mother saved her baby” another doctor said. “but we all know that the devilish regime tried to kill them both,” another doctor said, referring to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian military’s use of barrel bombs — steel barrels packed with explosives and shrapnel — and other weapons in air attacks on rebel-held areas has killed at least 18,866 civilians in Syria since the start of the conflict, more than the number killed by ISIS and Al Qaeda combined.
Assad and his forces are known to target neighbourhoods where civilians congregate, such as hospitals, schools, and playgrounds.
As a result, “everyday decisions — whether to go visit a neighbour, to send your child to school, to step out to buy bread — have become, potentially, decisions about life and death,” Frederic Hof, a former State Department policy planner on Syria under the current White House who is now a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, wrote in an analysis of the war’s casualties.
In August, a regime barrel bomb killed over 100 people when it landed on a busy marketplace in Douma, an embattled city outside of Damascus.
The regime denies using barrel bombs and has denounced accusations that it is targeting its own people as Western “propaganda.”
More than 250,000 people have died since the start of the Syrian civil war in March 2011.
“Shells are daily thing — they have killed women, children and the elderly,” an anesthesiologist told CNN. “This shows the desperation of the situation.”
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