Syrian Girl Saving Baby Sister in Viral Photo Dies at Age 5

CNN Riham al-Abdallah, Tuka, and father Amjad

In a picture that stopped the hearts of anyone who viewed it, a photo that captured a harrowing scene in Syria as a 5-year-old girl, Riham al-Abdallah was seen saving her baby sister, Tuka, from a bombed building in the town of Ariha, quickly went viral. In the picture, while father, Amjad, looks on in absolute horror, Riham is seen reaching out with her arm and holding on to her 7-month sibling by her t-shirt amidst the falling rubble.

Both children fell from the building moments after the picture was taken. While Tuqa survived after being taken to the hospital in critical condition, Riham did not. SY24’s correspondent Bashar al-Sheikh said in an article, “I got to the place and the father was trying to save [Amjad’s] children trapped in the rubble, who were screaming and crying in pain.”

As reported by NBC News, the photo taken by local media activist group SY24 was snapped after Syrian government forces, backed by Russian allies, attacked the western Idlib province. Among the debris, the family fell from the fifth story of the building to the second floor following the strike. According to the White Helmets, a volunteer group known as the Syria Civil Defense, after saving her baby sister, Riham fell and hit her head on a stone. While receiving emergency medical treatment in the ambulance, Riham passed away.

Riham’s Mother and Sister Also Died

Syrian civil defense, known as the White Helmets, carries an injured Syrian child into an ambulance after pulling him out from under the rubble

As reported by the Syrian American Medial Society, Tuqa was treated in the hospital and was later discharged. While four other members of the Syrian family 12 received treatment for their injuries, Reham was not the only victim. The children’s mother, Naqouh, died from her wounds after the air strike hit the building, shortly after the viral photo was taken. Reham’s 3-year-old sister, Rawan, passed away at the hospital.

The Airstrikes in North West Syria Have Reportedly Killed 90 Children Since April

Aftermath of the airstrikes in Syria

As stated by the U.K. based non-profit Save the Children, the escalation of violence since the end of April in Idlib has resulted in deaths of 90 children, and a total of an estimated 400 people. Save the Children and the Hurras Network confirm that since June 24, 2019, a total of 33 children have died, which is in stark contrast to 2018, where the children’s death toll for the entire year capped at 31.

Sonia Khush, Save the Children Syria response director said, “The current situation in Idlib is a nightmare. The injuries we are seeing are horrific. It’s clear that once again children have been killed and injured in indiscriminate attacks.”

“The children of North West Syria have been caught in violent conflict for 80 days with no lull,” Klush added. “They have been denied education, food, healthcare and forced to sleep under the trees in open fields for months now.”

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