Syrian father scrambles to reach his children after airstrike in Idlib

Raf Sanchez
The father, who has not been identified, looks on in horror as he tries to scramble down to his children - Sy24

Intense bombing in the Syrian province of Idlib left a father scrambling to rescue his children while his baby daughter dangled off the edge of a destroyed building. 

The widely circulated photograph showed the aftermath of a Russian or Assad regime strike on the town of Ariha in western Idlib, the last rebel-held bastion in Syria. 

The man, Amjad al-Abdullah, looks on in horror as he tries to reach his children. His infant daughter, Rawan, is held up by a scrap of clothing while two older daughters are partially buried in the rubble. 

Rawan fell from the ledge and was last night in critical condition in hospital. One of her older sisters also survived the bombing and was being treated in hospital. 

Another sister, five-year-old Riham, was killed, according to Syrian activists. The children’s mother, Asmaa, also died in the blast.  

A wheelchair  amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported regime air strike on the town of Ariha Credit: OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images

“He was trying to calm them down and get them away from the edge but they fell in the end,” said Bashar al-Sheikh, a photographer with Sy24 who took the picture. 

“I put the camera down and rushed to them. I have a daughter of my own the same age.” 

The Syrian Network for Human Rights estimates that more than 600 civilians have been killed by Russian or Assad regime strikes since April, when Syrian forces began offensive to try to retake Idlib. 

"Civilians in northwest Syria are paying a big price in this conflict," said Mohamad Katoub, senior advocacy manager in the Syrian American Medical Society.  

"Our hospitals are overwhelmed with injuries, we received over 4000 injuries in SAMS hospitals in the northwest since April 26. The medical teams can hardly bear the current circumstances."

The fighting has intensified in recent days and at least 59 people, including five children, were killed on Monday, according to the UN.

The bloodiest airstrikes fell on the market town of Maaret al-Numan, where around 40 people died, including eight women and five children, the UN said. 

A number of images of wounded or dead children have gained international attention during the course of the seven-year Syrian war but none have triggered much global action. 

The image of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy whose drowned body was found on a Turkish beach, was plastered on front pages around the world. 

Another image of an injured boy from Aleppo, Omran Daqneesh, also came to symbolise the suffering of children in the war.