Robin Wright writes: Last month, four newborns in incubators fought for their lives in a small hospital in Aleppo, the besieged Syrian city. Then a bomb hit the hospital and cut off power — and oxygen to the incubators. The babies suffocated. In a joint letter to President Obama this month, fifteen doctors described the infants’ deaths: “Gasping for air, their lives ended before they had really begun.” The doctors are among the last few in the eastern part of Aleppo, the historic former commercial center where a hundred thousand children are now trapped.
“Young children are sometimes brought into our emergency rooms so badly injured that we have to prioritize those with better chances, or simply don’t have the equipment to help them,” the doctors wrote. Only a trickle of food is making it through a land blockade imposed by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. “Whether we live or die seems to be dependent on the ebbs and flows of the battlefield,” the doctors said. “For five years, we have faced death from above” — bombs — “on a daily basis. But we now face death from all around.”
More than a third of all casualties in Aleppo are now kids, according to Save the Children. Among them is Omran Daqneesh, the toddler with the moppish Beatles haircut whose picture captivated the world this week. He was shown covered with blood and dust after being dug from the debris of a bombing in Syria on Thursday. Rescuers placed him, alone, on an orange seat in an ambulance. His stunned, dazed expression mirrored the trauma of a war-ravaged generation. (On Saturday, we learned that Omran’s older brother Ali, who was ten, had died from wounds sustained in the attack.)[Continue reading…]