iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — Baraa Omar recalls the moment when 4-year-old Iman was brought to her hospital for treatment.
“When I first saw her, she was bleeding heavily and had many wounds. She had been transferred from another hospital that doesn’t have a pediatric care unit,” Omar, a nurse in Syria, told ABC News. “I noticed that her bandages needed changing because they were wet with blood. We changed the bandages and treated her. She was stable and remained stable.”
The girl and her two sisters had gone outside to play on Sunday in Aleppo’s al-Zebdieh district. Near their house, they found what they thought was a ball and Iman picked it up. It exploded, wounding all three children. Yesterday, Iman died from her injuries. She was the youngest of her siblings.
“When I arrived and heard that she had died I felt very, very sad because I had treated her the day before and she was stable when I left. I thought that she was going to live. I was very shocked. I didn’t know what to do. It was a very difficult day,” said Omar.
Iman’s family had moved to Aleppo’s al-Zebdieh district from another neighborhood after their old house was bombed, according to Omar.
“And now, this happened to them,” said Omar. “They are in very bad condition. She was the youngest in the family. The mother cries constantly and the brother cries too. It’s very difficult for them.”
Omar said she is planning to visit the family again tomorrow and check on Iman’s injured sisters who are at another hospital.
Attacks on the eastern besieged part of Aleppo has intensified after a U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire ended on Sept. 19 and the Syrian military declared an offensive on the area. The cluster bomb that Iman picked up is internationally banned, yet locals and activists say that the Syrian military and Russian forces have used that type of bomb along with chemical weapons and bunker-buster bombs in attacks on east Aleppo since the end of the truce. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the number of killed civilians tripled in the 15 days following the end of the cease-fire compared to the 15 days before it went into effect. Between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29, 338 people lost their lives in east Aleppo, 106 of them children, while 846 people were injured, the U.N. said, citing health officials.
The number of wounded increases as the number of hospitals and doctors in the region declines. The largest trauma and ICU center in east Aleppo is now closed, following several bombardments in the past week. Five hospitals are currently in service and only 29 medical doctors are left in east Aleppo, according to the U.N.
The U.N. estimates that 275,000 people live under siege in east Aleppo and are in need of medical supplies, food and water. Access to clean water was significantly reduced after parts of the city were damaged following airstrikes. Meanwhile, east Aleppo is still waiting for aid — humanitarian assistance was supposed to reach its trapped residents weeks ago, but the increased violence and an attack on an aid convoy suspended the delivery.
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