UNICEF: 1.4 Million Children Could Die from Famine in Africa, Yemen

Yemeni child

Local Editor

Nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death from hunger in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, the UN children’s agency warned.

Yemeni child

In Yemen, with war tearing the country apart for two years, some 462,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, UNICEF said.

The Saudi-led strikes on Yemen don’t make the situation any better: in January, the UN warned that over 7,000 people had died in the attacks and about two-thirds of the population is in need of humanitarian aid.

At the same time, 450,000 children are malnourished in northeast Nigeria, and the famine early warning group Fews Net expressed concern that some remote areas of the Nigerian state of Borno are already in famine.

Fews Net also warned that should the disaster go on, aid agencies wouldn’t be able to get to the remote area.

In Somalia, the drought saw 185,000 children malnourished, and these numbers look set to skyrocket to 270,000 over the next few months, according to UNICEF.

Some 270,000 children are currently malnourished in South Sudan and a famine has just been declared in the north of the country.

UNICEF urged the world for prompt response, with Executive Director Anthony Lake saying “we can still save many lives.”

“Time is running out for more than a million children,” Lake added. “The severe malnutrition and looming famine are largely man-made. Our common humanity demands faster action. We must not repeat the tragedy of the 2011 famine in the Horn of Africa.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by Website Team

22-02-2017 | 09:22

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Video: “Saving Syria’s Children”: The Worst Case Of Fake News?

Global Research, February 17, 2017

Mike Robinson, Patrick Henningsen and campaigner Robert Stuart take a look at what is quite possibly the worst example of mainstream media fake news in history – the BBC Panorama documentary Saving Syria’s Children.

THOSE WHO TRANSMIT SYRIAN VOICES ARE RUSSIAN PROPAGANDISTS? MONITORS OF ‘FAKE NEWS’ NEGATE SYRIAN SUFFERING

In Gaza

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*In the old city of Homs, June 2014, speaking with Zeinat and Aymen al-Akhras who endured years of hell under the rule of militant factions. In May 2014, an agreement saw the reportedly 1,200 militants bussed out of Homs (as recently happened in Aleppo), bringing peace to the neighbourhoods they’d occupied and terrorized. Excerpt from my article on this visit and interviewing residents of the old city of Homs: “I dropped to 34 kilos. Aymen told me to weigh myself. I got on the scale and said, ‘What’s 34 kilos?’. A ten-year-old weighs more than that! And Aymen was 43 kilos. For a man, 43 kilos…”


“We were twelve siblings with eight houses in the area, and the family house. We all had stores of food.”


“Thirty-eight times they came to steal our food. The first couple of times, they knocked on the door, after that they just entered with guns. The last things they took were our dried peas, our cracked wheat, our olives, finally our za’atar (wild thyme). We started to eat grass and whatever greens we could find in February, 2014, and that’s all we had till Homs was liberated,”–Zeinat al-Akhras. Read: Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Russian Propagandists?

Since it is a theme that those who report differently than the MSM war propaganda on Syria must therefore work for either/both Syria or Russia, I’ll address that in this brief post, drawing on some interviews and related material, since I continue to be incredibly busy.

Some excerpts from: ‘If I write in line with Russian media, it’s because we both tell the truth’ – Eva Bartlett to RT, 17 Dec, 2016, RT

Some people have taken issue with the things I said because I was basically criticizing much of the corporate media reporting on Syria, and instead of actually digesting what I said and criticizing the details of what I said, people have gone to the usual tactic of trying to smear who I am and imply that I am an agent of either or both Syria and Russia,” Bartlett said, adding that it’s been openly implied she is on the payroll of the Syrian and Russian governments. The fact that she is an active contributor to RT’s op-edge section has also been jumped all over.

The fact that I do contribute to the RT op-edge section apparently, in some people’s eyes, makes me compromised. I began contributing to the RT op-edge section when I lived in Gaza, and this was not an issue for people who then appreciated my writing,” she stated.

What I am writing, and what I’m reporting, and who I am citing are Syrian civilians whom I’ve encountered in Syria.

“If people do not wish to hear the voices of Syrian civilians and if they want to maintain their narrative which is in line with the NATO narrative – which is in line with destabilizing Syria and vilifying the government of Syria and ignoring the overwhelming wishes of the people of Syria – then they do this by accusing me of spreading propaganda,” the journalist stressed.

The fact that my writing is in line with the Syrian people… in some respect aligns with Russian media reports, does not mean that I’m reporting Russian propaganda, and it does not mean that what Russian media is reporting is propaganda. It happened to be that I report the truth as I see it on the ground, and some Russian media happen to report the truth as they see it on the ground.

“Why do we not see these accusations when a BBC journalist goes to Syria and reports what I often believe to be not the full story? Why are they not accused of working for the State of England? Why are Al Jazeera journalists not accused of working for Qatar?”

My Related Comments:

 

*Please note, I do not have ‘my own blog’ on RT, as written in the RT overview of an interview I gave to the site (and as also alleged by a factually-challenged ‘fact check’ by Channel 4 News, the debunking of which will be out soon). In fact, the RT disclaimer at the bottom of Op-Edge contributions is clear: “The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.” How did the fact checkers at Channel 4 miss that?

Since April 2013, I have contributed total of 8 opinion pieces to RT’s Op-Edge section (3 of which were from or on Gaza, Occupied Palestine), an RT section which contains writings from over 70 authors.

8 articles in a period of nearly 4 years, that’s not exactly “active” writing dedicated to RT. Take a look at some of the other authors who are indeed very active.  In fact, to the claims that any of my writing is opportunism, wouldn’t one expect me to thus direct most of my articles to RT and get paid something (nothing compared to BBC, NYTimes or other fake news journalists), rather than instead directing my articles to a variety of lesser or not at all paying sources? I have no qualms about my scant contribution of opinion pieces to RT, but to paint me as ‘working’ for RT is a fact-checking error, one which I believe to be intentional.

Further, Dr. Helen Caldicott and William Engdahl also contribute to RT Op-Edge. Will Channel 4 and other smear sites now claim they are working for Russia?

Thus, I am not ’employed by’ RT, I contribute sporadically to RT, as well as more regularly to a host of independent media (21st Century Wire, SOTT.net, MintPressNews, Dissident Voice, and formerly: Al Akhbar English, American Herald Tribune, Zero Anthropology, and others).

If not already glaringly clear, the intention of such ‘fact-check’ pieces is solely to discredit myself and others like me. And even though I strongly disagree with the lexicon of ‘civil war’ and ‘rebels’ frequently used in RT reports and commentaries,  RT has been one of the few English-language media outlets to consistently have journalists on the ground, risking their lives to report the realities MSM would not report. I would encourage people to follow RT’s reports on Syria.

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*From June 2014, old city of Homs, interviewing Nazim Kanawati, who knew and was a friend of Father Frans van der Lugt and who arrived moments after the 75-year-old priest had been shot in the back of the head. From my article on this visit: “Father Frans was a peace-maker and played an important role in arranging the evacuation of civilians from the Old City during the siege. He was trusted by both sides, and didn’t distinguish between Christians and Muslims. He was concerned with humanity.” Like Father Frans, Kanawati refused to leave Homs while others fled. “I didn’t want to leave, I’m a Syrian, I had the right to be there.”

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*Entering Damascus neighbourhood by shared taxi from Beirut, Oct 2016.

On Funding:

 

Addressing the smear-tactic accusations that I’m funded by either or both the Syrian and/or Russian governments, for the sake of time I’ll share excerpts from a social media post I wrote not long ago:

Writing truth doesn’t pay. Independent sites which are courageous enough to host the truth usually cannot afford to pay more than $50/article, or often nothing at all. But for those who have principles and are not writing about Syria and related issues for profit, this is irrelevant.

So the obvious question that hacks have assumed they know the answer to: how do people like myself and colleagues manage to exist, if not being paid ridiculously-well per article as some in corporate media, often writing lies, are.

In order to go to Syria many times, I have either saved money slowly and when able traveled to the country, or I have publicly fundraised. I travel the cheapest means, always with long layovers and inconvenient routes, but ensuring airfare that is far cheaper than those in corporate media traveling to Syria. Then again, that’s me making an assumption: perhaps they also flew economy from North America to Dubai (much further east than destination Beirut), slept on the airport floor, traveled back west to Beirut, stayed in the cheapest closet-sized rooms in the city or outside where it is cheaper, and took a shared taxi to Damascus.

I’m aware of many colleagues like myself who live on the edge, sometimes down to the last dollars in their pockets until a meagre payment comes in for an article many hours/days worked on. Many I know have had to borrow money, as have I, in order to travel to Syria, or fundraise, or wait until we accumulate enough through writings and also the kind donations to our work by people who value it.

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*Castello road, shelled on Nov 4, 2016 by militants 7 times on humanitarian corridor day, twice while I was there.

Independents Only Go To Safe Areas of Syria?

 

This is another charge levied at independent journalists and others who go in solidarity to Syria to speak directly with Syrian people instead of getting the story from the one man UK-based ‘observatory’, the SOHR, or from lying corporate media whose propaganda has been debunked and–with the case of the BBC–which portrayed a photo from Iraq alleging that the photo was in Houla, Syria.

Government-secured areas of Syria are not free of danger: many have been or continue to be subject to terrorism, whether in the form of car bombings (as with the many times terror-attacked district of al-Zahra’a, Homs, which I visited some days after a major series of car and suicide bombings in December 2015 or as with the Akrama school in Homs, Oct 2014, killing at least 41 children, to cite 2 of endless examples. Some more examples here), rocket and mortar attacks, and snipings.

On 6 visits to Syria, when back  in Damascus I’ve stayed in the Old City and was in the midst of mortar attacks which in 2014 and 2015 were near-daily and quite heavy. In 2016, there were still mortar attacks but less than prior. That said, a dear friend lost her sister and that woman’s infant son to such a mortar attack in July 2016. The “moderate” “rebels”‘ idea of “revolution” is to indiscriminately shell civilian areas. These maimed children were a sampling of the injured (some critically so) when I visited Damascus’ University Hospital in February 2015. These children were injured in April 2014, when militants mortared their school in Old Damascus.

Prior to its liberation, to enter Aleppo the sole route (with the exception of the August securing of Castello road) was via Ramouseh road, known for snipings and shelling from militant factions. I traveled that road 6 times (3 visits), in times when snipings had recently occurred. Traveling the Castello road even posed a danger, as I and colleague Vanessa Beeley learned in August 2016 when leaving Aleppo. The road was being mortared by militant factions and our simple taxi, while trying to speed along, was boxed in by other trucks also leaving.

While in Taaouna this summer, taking the testimonies of Syrians from the village of Aqrab where there was a massacre perpetrated by the ‘moderates’ of the Free Syrian Army, there was great risk of shelling or sniping by the terrorists still occupying Aqrab. Of that visit, I wrote:

“Yesterday, via a winding road through the Masyaf region hills, descending to the village of Ta’aouna, I met with residents of neighbouring Aqrab, which in December 2012 was attacked by the so-called “Free Syrian Army” who massacred between 120-150 Aqrab residents (more on their testimonies soon).

Standing on the roof of the home to which three Aqrab survivors had come to give their testimonies, the village of Aqrab, roughly 500 metres away, was distinctly visible—as are any people in Ta’aouna who go rooftop (for laundry, water or other reasons) to terrorist snipers in the hills near Aqrab. The home owner pointed out holes from such snipers’ bullets prior.

Two hundred metres down a lane, some fifteen houses remain inhabited by local Ta’aouna families (including children), in homes 300 metres from where terrorists and their snipers lie.

When terrorists massacred villagers in Aqrab in December 2012, they were then known as “Free Syrian Army” terrorists.

Now, occupied villages in the region comprise terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, and Da’esh (ISIS). As most Syrians I’ve met say, they are the same, with different names and financial backers, but commit the same heinous beheadings, assassinations, kidnappings and other western-sanctioned crimes in Syria.

Rooftop the home closest to the dirt embankment beyond (this particular house uninhabited, although only 5 metres from the next inhabited one), Abu Abdo, a local defense volunteer explains how he and others in the village take night shifts to watch for attempted terrorist infiltrations. The Syrian Arab Army has hilltop posts around Ta’aouna, but nonetheless the village defenders (including many who are family men and formerly served in the SAA) watch to see if/where terrorists are shooting from/at. “We organized ourselves, since 2011. We communicate with the army and give them targets, and they do the same with us,” he says of the watch for terrorist attacks.

We sit behind a wall of tires, some concrete blocks to one side serving as a defensive wall from behind which to watch for and shoot at terrorists. A second local defender appears, greets me with a friendly handshake, explains that in late 2013 terrorists managed to advance to the low hills to our right. But not since.

I ask Abu Abdo what he did prior to the war on Syria. A school principal, and he still is, he does the defense volunteering after hours….

They point to the land between Ta’aouna and the low hills flanking the village, and the start of Aqrab beyond.

“That small cement building on the land, right near there, about one month ago, a university student was shot in his head and killed, by a terrorist sniper. He was an engineering student.”

Earlier they’d told me about this, and about another university student who roughly 2 weeks ago was torn apart by shelling from terrorists in Aqrab. “He had just finished his exams,” they had said.

Descending from the roof, we walk past a nearby house, the children on the porch stoop. The second defense soldier tells me, with a proud smile, they are his kids. He takes me to the side of the house to show three creatively covered holes, “Dushkie” shots from the terrorists about 10 days ago.” READ MORE ABOUT THAT VISIT  HERE

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At the outskirts of al-Waer, Homs, I was urged not to remain standing at the checkpoint where I’d been watching civilians re-entering their district. I was told that some 2,000 + militants (this estimate may be too low) still remained in al-Waer, under a truce, but that they could violate it at any moment, hence sniping was a risk. READ MORE ABOUT THAT VISIT HERE.

On two occasions I’ve been sniped at by militants. In summer 2014 outside the walls of the Old City of Damascus, a sniper in Jobar fired my way, bullets whizzing past, startling a number of Syrian women and men sitting on the grass.  In summer 2016, passing through the Damascus district of Barzeh, the taxi I was in was sniped at by a militant in that district (it is under a truce since early 2014. FSA within still have light arms).

On Nov 4, I was at the Castello road humanitarian crossing, along which in theory civilians (and even militants) who wished to leave militant-occupied areas could do so. While there, the road was shelled 2 times by militant factions. This video captured the 2nd shelling.

These are just some examples to highlight that even when reporting and taking testimonies of Syrians living in government-protected areas, it is not without great risk. The smear tactic of implying otherwise completely negates the hell that Syrian civilians have been living for years under these various types of attacks.

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*Gas canister bombs litter the roads between Aleppo and the northern villages of Nubl and Zahra’a, which I visited in July 2016. It is such bombs, and larger water heater bomb variations (as well as Grad missiles, mortars and explosive bullets), which for years militant and terrorist factions were firing near-daily on the 1.5 million people of greater Aleppo, before liberation.

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*Aleppo University residences housing well over 10,000 internally displaced Syrians from militant-occupied areas of Aleppo and its countryside for around 4 or more years. One of the residences was hit by a terrorist missile days prior to my 2nd November visit, killing four from one family alone.

Related:

Aleppo: How US & Saudi-Backed Rebels Target ‘Every Syrian’, MintPressNews, Nov 29, 2016, Eva Bartlett.
Aleppo and nearby villages ravaged by the U.S.’s “moderate” terrorists (Photo Essay), SOTT.net, Sep 8, 2016, Eva Bartlett
Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors, SOTT.net, Aug 14, 2016, Eva Bartlett

 

SYRIA: The Children of Kafarya and Foua are Crying in the Dark


Eva bwEva Bartlett

21st Century Wire

A true humanitarian crisis of malnutrition, starvation, and untreated diseases has been occurring for over a year in Syria far from cameras and headlines, and has been steadily worsening under the total siege, imposed since March 2015 by terrorists of the Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) coalition on the two northern Syrian villages of Foua and Kafarya, completely isolated and surrounded by Western-backed terrorists.

The Syrian poster child of suffering is not the ‘Aleppo boy‘ whose image was recently splashed on front pages and social media in a coordinated act of propaganda. The Syrian poster children of suffering—starvation, murder, maiming, and denial of medical care, thanks to Western-backed terrorists—are many, but perhaps the most severe and continued examples these days come from Foua and Kafarya.

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Photo from inside Kafarya & Foua. The true face of starvation.

Under siege, the diseases and illnesses of children (and adults) go untreated due to a lack of medicines and for want of a properly-equipped and functioning hospital.

Under siege, the critical injuries of children (and adults) in many instances result in death, otherwise in prolonged suffering due to the same, preventable, denial of medical care.

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Photo: Kafarya and Foua

Ali Wael Karabash, 5, is believed to have skin cancer and must avoid bright lights and sunlight. Photos of the boy from several months ago to the most current images being shared on social media by Foua residents show a drastic worsening of his skin cancer. Until now, there have been no campaigns by human rights groups, the UN, or media to inform people of his treatable disease, nor to advocate for that treatment. Instead, the boy suffers the physical pain of the festering lesions on his face and the psychological pain of knowing he could have treatement, and of a childhood robbed of peace and even sunlight.

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Photo: Kafarya and Foua

On August 27, Laith al-Haj, 6, was shot in the head by a terrorist of Jaysh al-Fateh in neighbouring Binnish village. Until recently, Laith was in critical condition, only some day agos showing signs of mild improvement. Laith’s 4 year old brother Mohammed was likewise sniped that day, shot in his neck.

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Whereas the Aleppo boy had front page coverage and world-wide sympathy, these two boys, among a tremendous many more, who continue to need urgent medical care, are pointedly ignored by the media, as are the documented maimings and killings over the years of children and other civilians in the villages.

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Photo: Kafarya and Foua

On August 30, Jaysh al-Fateh from 2pm until evening heavily bombed the two Idlib governorate villages with well over 200 missiles, Grad rockets, tank shells, Hell Cannon-fired cooking gas canister bombs, and mortars.

The following day, the terrorists, which include al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra and Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham, fired another over 60 of these bombs at estimated 23,000 residents. The mercenary coalition surround Foua and Kafarya from all directions, making it impossible for residents to flee the bombings, let alone escape the siege.

Kafarya and Foua residents defend their villages, but with no where near the arsenal with which Western, Turkish, and Gulf-backed mercenaries routinetly attack. In addition to the array of bombs these terrorists possess, they also use tanks to fire upon the village residents.

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Aya Steeh, 11 years old. Murdered by NATO terrorists besieging Kafarya & Foua

According to local journalist, Jameel al-Sheikh, the August 30 bombardment injured at least nine people and killed an eleven year old girl, Aya Steeh, who died of her wounds during surgery.

As of September 6, no major English-language media have reported on these attacks, athough on social media, supporters of the besieged villages continue to actively share photos, videos and tweets of the carnage.

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Infant Rimas Al-Nayef was one of at least 5 children killed by NATO-backed terrorists’ shelling on August 10, 2015 in the northwestern Syrian village of Foua.

One year ago, I wrote of the murder of infant Rimas al-Nayef, whose August 10, 2015 killing was not reported by corporate media. Nor were those of four other children, and 25 other residents, killed the same day in a bombardment of up to 1,500 terrorist rockets, missiles, mortars and other bombs on the villages.

At that time, I also quoted Syrian journalist Saer Asleam who reported:

“There are more than 60 critically ill people, and others who have been seriously injured by the shelling. Heart and kidney patients, and those with cancer and other severe diseases, are at risk of dying due to the lack of the necessary medicines and drugs for treatments.”

This was one year ago. By now, the number of critically-ill and seriously-injured is exponentially higher. And still, silence in the United Nations and corporate media.

Nuermous other children in the villages have since been killed by terrorist bombings and snipings, or by the siege. Some of these deaths include:

Retal Haj Hasan, 5, killed by missile fire on Foua, June 2016.

Najeb Ahmad Hallak, 10, shot in the heart by a sniper while returning from school in February, 2016.

Zahra Mohammad Haj Saleh, an infant, died of malnourishment and cold in February 2016.

Fatma Nour al-Deen, just under a year and a half old, died in January 2016 from a lack of medical care.

“People Are On The Edge of Death”: Siege Testimonies

In Damascus this August, I met with a number of Foua residents who had been evacuated in late December 2015, a rare evacuation which saved a proportionately small number of injured or ill residents.

The exchange allowed 336 severely-injured or ill from the villages, including some defenders of the village, to be transported out for needed medical care, in exchange for the transfer from Zabadani and Madaya districts of 126 people, including an unknown number of terrorists.

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Abeer Mando, aged 32 from Foua.

The evacuees spoke of the hellish conditions the had endured until December, stressing that eight months later, life is unbearable, “people are on the edge of death.”

They also spoke of an increase of water-borne diseases—particularly among children—with the population drinking whatever water they could find, often contaminated.

Although there are wells and water pumps, the people lack the electricity or fuel to operate the pumps. Some people have gone so far as to press olive oil to run the pumps, but even that only lasted so long and depleted a vital food source.

In the August 30 bombings of Foua and Kafarya, Jaysh al-Fateh mercenaries destroyed the towns’ water tanker which had been used to distribute what water could be pumped to residents.

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Photo: Kafarya and Foua by Jameel Alshaikh

Due to sniping and shelling attacks of the mercenaries besieging them, the residents have lost access to farmland, thus a food source, and to trees for winter heating and cooking.

One of the residents, Maher, said that he had lost 20 kg from the March 2015 siege until his departure in December. “Imagine how people are now.”

According to Foua residents in the village, Zainab Waheed Muhsen, 65, needs unavailable oxygen therapy once every three days for her Pulmonary fibrosis. She is reported to also have Parkinson’s, the medications for which she cannot receive, and suffers from liver and heart problems.

Patients with heart, liver, kidney and other common diseases remain without adequate treatment.

In February 2016, Foua residents and the few doctors there issued a statement regarding a desperately-awaited shipment of aid finally received. They noted that it was inadequate, with perished food items, and no meat or produce included. Regarding needed medical aid, the statement read in part:

International Organizations consistently ignore very specific and clear needs and are assiduously failing to meet those needs time after time. Especially for some medical supplies and essential medicines, like the anaesthesia drugs, sterilization and hygiene products.

The hospital is also surprised by the lack of supplies of diabetes medications in particular, especially insulin, as well as anti-hypertensive drugs, diuretics and many other chronic disease medications.

As for our suffering children, our medical staff here are demanding to know why, for 10 months, you have not supplied any vaccines. …thousands of children trapped in our towns are at risk of getting sick from diseases that could be prevented by these vaccines…”

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Iman Rehal, 39. From Foua.

Iman Rehal, 39, one of the evacuated residents, was shot in her head on August 15, 2013, while in her home, by one of the snipers besieging Foua. She stayed in a coma for six months, and has since endured fits of shorter comas.

In the first two months of her coma, Rehal was stuck in Foua because the roads out were not safe. After two months, she was transferred and treated in a Latakia hospital. When months later she was to go back for further medical care, a terrorist missile hit near her house, preventing her from leaving that day.

Months later, the siege on Kafarya and Foua began, eleminating any possibility for further medical treatment. She was included in the December 2015 evacuation, along with her two young children, due to the shrapnel that remains in her head and the paralysis affecting the left side of her body.

Her request:

“We want this suffering to be conveyed to the UN.”

NATIONS UNITED IN SILENCE

An August 2, 2016, United Nations Security Council session revisited a 1996 report on violations against children during armed conflict. The UN’s press release noted that Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, “said many of the impacts of conflicts on young people could not captured by statistics. Children lost parents, were disabled due to curable illnesses and suffered long-term psychological trauma.”

But the children of Foua and Kafarya’s curable illnesses and long-term psychological traumas go unaddressed by Zerrougui or the United Nations.

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, addressed the session. Speaking at length on the real causes of the suffering of children in Syria and in refugee camps, Ambassador al-Ja’afari highlighted that Saudi Arabia’s perverted Wahhabi ideology has been actively enacted against Syrian children by Saudi-backed terrorists in Syria.  Translated from his speech in Arabic, excerpts of his address include:

The whole world has been shocked by the horrendous crime of the slaughter of the Palestinian child, Abdullah Issa, who sat wounded, stunned, surrounded by human beasts…Such a group which has been considered by some as ‘moderates’.

Thus, that child was slaughtered according to the Wahhabi ISIL legitimacy, in order to commit this disgusting crime.

But it is a genetically-modified crime.  A group of ‘moderate’ thieves, called Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a group manufactured in Turkey, which was described by the United States ambassador in a previous session as ‘rebel fighters’, as you might recall; which is a terrorist group which practises the Wahhabi perverted thinking, and receives financial and arms support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Western powers and the Erdogan regime, this group has committed this ‘moderate’ criminal act.

The images and stories coming out of Foua and Kafarya are so appalling that they should be highlighted in the United Nations and in Western media, both of which purport to care about Syrian civilians.

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Attempts to save eleven old Aya Steeh failed. Another life lost to the NATO war against Syrian children. Photo: Jameel Alshaikh

But because these realities do not fit the warped and untruthful narratives of “moderate rebels” and a “dictator” killing his people, the suffering of Foua and Kafarya residents goes unmentioned in the media which hypocritically and immorally champions terrorists in Syria as “rebels”, and unmentioned in the United Nations, which systematically works to silence the Syrian voice.

The people of Kafarya and Foua, and of everywhere ravaged by death squads deemed “moderates” in Syria, must not only to be heard, but their siege and terrorism-imposed suffering must cease. These children, adults, and elderly are the faces which people who cry for the Aleppo boy- and every propaganda campaign before him- need to know of and need to advocate for.

***

Follow Eva Bartlett at www.ingaza.wordpress.com

Childhood for Sale: Children of the Syrian Crisis

19-01-2017 | 09:27

It’s 2:00 p.m. on a Thursday, and I’m caught in a massive traffic jam in one of Beirut’s busiest streets. I turn on the radio to keep myself preoccupied while I wait for my turn to pass through one of the security checkpoints.

Childhood for Sale: Children of the Syrian Crisis

The checkpoints had been placed a couple of years ago, after suicide bombers and occasional explosions struck Lebanon a while after the start of the crisis in Syria.

As I tuned into the radio, a boy – not older than 10 years old – knocked on the car window.

“Do you want a CD?” the boy asked. “It costs 2000 L.L. but if you buy 2 CDs, you can have them for 3000 L.L.”

The moment the boy speaks, you’d realize he’s not Lebanese; he uses a North Lebanese dialect but with a Syrian twist.

A long line of cars to the checkpoint was still ahead of mine, so I took the time and had a little tête-à-tête with the boy.

“Shouldn’t you be at school right now?” I asked.

The boy said, “I don’t go to school,” adding that he hasn’t been enrolled in school for a couple of years now since he came to Lebanon.

“My name is Abdullah, by the way,” the boy said.

I was surprised by the young boy’s outgoing personality. It is rare to meet children with such characters – a personality forged and hardened by experience.

Abdullah had met more people than I had in my childhood. Why not? If he roams the streets from dusk to dawn, talking to thousands of people passing by, drivers and passengers, just to sell a couple of CDs.

His family came with some relatives to Lebanon when the war in Syria began.

Abdullah told me that he is the oldest of 5 brothers and sisters, pointing to a 5-year-old boy selling packs of tissue papers at the far end of the street.

The young boy knows Beirut and its streets like none of us ever knew it before.

For him, these streets are the air he breathes; the streets are what keep him and his family alive.

Abdullah said that before they came to Lebanon, his family lived in a farmhouse in their village in Syria. During weekends, he would help in feeding the animals while his father ploughed the farm.

He said he was not that bright at school, but of all subjects, he liked Maths the most.

In his eyes, you’d see the sorrow of an aged man! A boy burdened with the responsibility of an entire family.

Abdullah said he misses his cousin, Yasser.

Both boys strolled the streets of Beirut together; that was then, when Yasser’s family hadn’t left Lebanon yet.

Unlike Abdullah, Yasser was an only child. His parents, Abdullah’s relatives, had fewer mouths to feed. That’s why they were able to save some money and take refuge in Germany two years ago.

The crisis in Syria had torn families apart. It had killed thousands of innocent civilians and displaced hundreds of thousands of others to neighboring countries.

More than 80 per cent of Syria’s child population are now affected by the conflict, which is some 8.4 million children.

Based on a United Nations High Commission for Refugees [UNHCR] estimate, the toll of displaced Syrians is 4,862,778 with more than 2.3 million of them children.

According to a UNICEF report, an estimated 3.7 million Syrian children – 1 in 3 of all Syrian children – had been born since the conflict began five years ago, their lives shaped by violence, fear and displacement, with more than 151,000 children born as refugees since 2011.

Providing children with learning has been one of the most significant challenges to the conflict in Syria. School attendance rates in the country had hit rock bottom with more than 2.1 million children inside Syria, and 700,000 in neighboring countries, are out-of-school.

It makes you wonder, what kind of a world it would be for Syrians with a large number of its youth growing illiterate?

In his life, days are running into days that are exactly the same. At least until Abdullah goes back to Syria – the Syria which has changed a lot since he had last been there.

The war-torn Syria. The standing-strong Syria. The persevering Syria. The prevailing Syria.

It was my turn to the checkpoint. I didn’t buy the CD. But what I’m sure of is that I’d always meet Abdullah, or many other Abdullahs in the streets of Lebanon.

Al-Ahed News

Mirror, Mirror, who is the Victim?

Zeinab Daher

While the entire world sympathized with the death of the three year-old Aylan al-Kurdi off the Mediterranean, the exact same world remained silent towards the martyrdom of the 12 year-old Yemeni girl Ishraq al-Muafha whose life was taken last week in a Saudi massacre at the al-Falah Primary School in the District of Nihm.

Mirror, Mirror, who is the Victim?

A schoolbag, a severed limb and an innocent body lying on the desert, is what was left from the young Ishraq. The little girl was a victim of one of the many Saudi massacres that do not receive much condemnation – or at least attention – of the global media, the international public opinion and the world leaders’ ‘sympathy’.

The dominant hypocrisy of the mainstream media, the biggest liar influencing public reactions to ongoing developments, is the main cause of injustice practiced against people of Yemen. While militants in Syria are referred to as rebels, the resistance in Yemen conduct ‘attacks’ according to media outlets.

The media blackout surrounding the humanitarian situation in Yemen is evidence that children there are the number one victim of the ongoing aggression. Only in the impoverished war-torn Yemen do six children die every hour due to various preventable diseases.

Meanwhile, 9.6 million children are in need of humanitarian and health care and 2.2 million children are suffering from malnutrition, almost all of severe cases.

Besides, 1.8 million of the Yemeni children are, unfortunately, out of school. But wait, perhaps those out of school are luckier than the others. Maybe those deprived from education are likely to be martyred next to their families instead of dying alone on the way back home from school or vice versa, just like the case of Ishraq.

An image of a soulless body, sadly, didn’t touch the ‘hearts’ of those who claim to defend human rights, and the rights of children and their childhood in particular.

In this regard, Professor of Media in the Faculty of Media and Documentation at the Lebanese University Dr. Abbas Mzannar said to Al-Ahed News in an exclusive interview that “On the level of hiding the news of the Yemeni children, it is a sort of bedimming propaganda in such media war. Such blacking out aims at hiding the humanitarian image that was pretty much activated with media globalization. Media globalization originated at the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The humane speech during war there emerged and was being used by NATO, stressing the humanitarian role of power.”

Dr. Mzannar further explained that: “The image proved in the wars of the so-called Arab Spring its major role, especially in the presence of the multimedia devices that can reveal the image but can also fake it. As for Yemen, even the very simple images were not circulated; we have always seen destruction but we haven’t seen victims and images didn’t reflect this flagrant aggression.”

The expert in media stressed that Yemen represented a symbolic icon of perseverance and not surrendering to the so-called Arab deterrence, which is in fact American deterrence with Arab coalition and sponsorship.

“The Yemeni example, frankly speaking, is legendary and miraculous. What is going on in Yemen, resisting this flagrant aggression for almost two years, is a giant persistence. The Yemeni people offered enormous patience and persistence and revealed the historic image of the revolutionary Yemen which doesn’t surrender. They are trying to break this exemplary image,” Dr. Mzannar noted.

He went on to say that in modern history, such a destructive war on infrastructure, children and schools is unprecedented. This blackout of the humanitarian side is to continue the war and destroy this example and try to deter all those who belong to the axis of resistance. They didn’t exclude any means to achieve their futile goal in settling their deterrence power. The Yemeni resistance continues, and all what belongs to the humanitarian face, ending the war and the civilians, will remain undercover.

Making clear how much pressure image circulation can exert on the level of stopping a war, or at least reaching a ceasefire agreement, the media professor used the July 2006 ‘Israeli’ war on Lebanon as an example: “This had previously happened in the July 2006 war on Lebanon. When the Qana Massacre 2006 came to the surface, a ceasefire immediately took place and the ‘Israelis’ were confused. This makes clear how serious the humanitarian side is and the role it plays.”

“Even in the Vietnam War, when the images of the American soldiers killed were published, the American people and public opinion moved on the spot, and deterred the war,” the man added.

As for now, people, who can play major roles, are being totally misled by globalized media that is controlled by a coalition hostile to the real Islam and all that belongs to the axis of resistance.

“Frankly speaking, there is a lot of images published by the Guardian, the BBC, western and French media, for children supposedly from Syria that turned out to be fake. The images rather belonged to kids from Iraq and Palestine.”

Dr. Mzannar stressed that there is deliberate misleading [of public opinion] and an attempt to humanize a war like that in Aleppo, where the humanitarian face is very significant; at the same time, there are counter attempts to totally make absent the aspects of the war on Yemen in favor of continuing the aggression.

Almost two years have passed since the first day of the brutal Saudi aggression, yet the Yemenis are still showing unprecedented resistance, defending their nation and defeating the cruel attacker.

Until then, few are the mirrors that can eye the victim wherever he/she happens to fall, and so many are one-eyed [and] fabricating news, hiding many innocent martyrs, and trumpeting the aggressors’ propaganda by showering public opinion with a lot of fake news.

May the souls of all children rest in peace, the victims of terrorism, media bias, hypocrisy and the polishing of the monster’s image in the eyes of the world.

Source: Al-Ahed News

16-01-2017 | 09:54

قصّة الطّفلة فاطمة انتحاريّة منطقة الميدان في دمشق

نتشرت على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي مقاطع فيديو عدّة للطّفلة التي دفعها والدها لتنفيذ عملية انتحاريّة في مركز شرطة داخل منطقة الميدان في دمشق قبل أيّام.

ومن خلال الشّريط، تبيّن أنّ الطفلة تُدعى فاطمة، وتبلغ من العمر حوالي تسع سنوات. وقد جهّزها والدها، ويُدعى عبد الرّحمن شداد، لتنفيذ العمليّة.

وفي قسمٍ من الشّريط يظهر شداد وهو جالسٌ إلى جانب ابنتيه إسلام (سبع سنوات) وفاطمة ويبدو علم تنظيم جبهة “فتح الشّام” (النّصرة سابقاً) في الخلفيّة. ويبيّن الفيديو محادثة بين شداد وطفلتيه، حيث يسأل فاطمة عن وجهتها اليوم، فتخبره بأنّها متوجّهة لتنفيذ “عمليّة استشهاديّة في دمشق”، فيتساءل “في دمشق؟ وإنتِ صغيرة وعمرك تسع سنوات؟ ما تخلي هادا الأمر للرّجال؟، ليعقّب بعدها “الرّجال هربوا، طلعوا بالباصات الخضر”؟

ثمّ يسأل الإرهابي طفلته “بدّك تسلمي حالك يقتلوكي ويغتصبوكي الكفّار”؟ فتجيبه الطّفلة “لاء”. ثمّ يقول لها “بدّك تخطفيهن، نحنا دين عزّة”.
بعد ذلك، يتوجّه شداد إلى ابنته إسلام (سبع سنوات) بالسّؤال حول ذهابها لتنفيذ “الجهاد”، طالباً منها عدم الخوف لأنّها “ذاهبة إلى الله”.
وفي مقطع فيديو آخر تظهر والدة الطّفلتين وهي تودّعهما قبل توجّههما “لغزو دمشق”، قائلةً “اصبروا وصابروا”. وعندما يسألها زوجها عن سبب إرسالهما إلى “الجهاد”، فتجيبه بالقول “ما عاد في حدا صغير، لإن هلق الجهاد انفرض على كل مسلم”، لينتهي الشّريط بطلب الوالد من طفلتيه التّقدّم من أجل “الغزو في سبيل الله، وقتال من كفر بالله”.

ولم يُعرف ما إذا كانت الطّفلة إسلام قد شاركت في تنفيذ العمليّة الانتحاريّة في دمشق.

وفي شريط فيديو آخر يعلن شداد أن طفلته لم تفجّر نفسها من المرة الأولى، مشيراً إلى أنّها امتنعت عن ذلك لعدم وجود عددٍ كافٍ من عناصر الشّرطة السورية. وعندما أرسلها في اليوم التالي ولم تجد عدداً مطلوباً، رفضت العودة إلى المنزل وأصرّت على تنفيذ العمليّة لأنّها “تريد أن تلقى الله”. عندها توجّهت الطّفلة إلى قسم الشرطة في الميدان.

ويوضح الوالد أنّ العملية الانتحاريّة أتت لـ”الانتقام لأطفال حلب”.
(“موقع السّفير”، “الميادين”)

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