Friday, 18 October 2019

'Dad stop the burning, I beg you': Horrifying footage reveals badly-burned Kurdish children in Syria amid claims Turkey is using banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus

Horrifying images have emerged showing badly burned children in Syria - amid claims that Turkey is using banned chemical weapons against the Kurds. 
Distressing footage taken at a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the border city of Ras al-Ayn which has seen the heaviest fighting, on Monday shows a boy with deep burns to his entire upper body.
As he is brought into the hospital he can be heard screaming 'Dad stop the burning... I beg you' before medics are able to give him a dose of morphine. He is thought to have spent 12 hours in agony before being treated.
Hamish de-Bretton Gordon, a British chemical weapons expert, said the burns appeared consistent with white phosphorus - a banned chemical weapon which sticks to the skin and burns in contact with moisture, meaning it cannot be put out. 

Footage taken in a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the battleground city of Ras al-Ayn, shows a Kurdish boy with injuries consistent with white phosphorous
Footage taken in a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the battleground city of Ras al-Ayn, shows a Kurdish boy with injuries consistent with white phosphorous

The boy can be heard screaming 'dad stop the burning... I beg you' before he is given morphine by medics. He reportedly spent 12 hours in agony before he could be treated
The boy can be heard screaming 'dad stop the burning... I beg you' before he is given morphine by medics. He reportedly spent 12 hours in agony before he could be treated
Meanwhile a doctor in al-Hasakah, another city near Ras-al Ayn, said he had treated several patients with injuries he believes were caused by napalm or similar incendiary bombs
Meanwhile a doctor in al-Hasakah, another city near Ras-al Ayn, said he had treated several patients with injuries he believes were caused by napalm or similar incendiary bombs
A boy with deep burns to his face, upper chest and arms is treated in a hospital in al-Hasakah
A boy with deep burns to his face, upper chest and arms is treated in a hospital in al-Hasakah
The video was released by Kurdish media along with photos of boys in another hospital in al-Hasakah, also close to Ras al-Ayn, with deep burns to their faces.
Doctor Fares Hammu, speaking to Kurdish outlets on Wednesday, said the burns appeared consistent with the use of banned chemical weapons such as napalm.   
Napalm is a mixture of gelling agent and a volatile petrochemical which sticks to its target before burning, and was used extensively in the Vietnam war.
White phosphorus can be used to create a smoke screen or as a battlefield marker, but it can also be deployed as a deadly incendiary weapon, a use prohibited under international law.  
All images and video were captured before a ceasefire, negotiated with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence, came into effect on Thursday night.
Under the terms of the deal Turkey will halt its assault on northern Syria for five days while Kurdish forces withdraw from a 20-mile wide 'safe zone' President Erdogan wants to create along the border.
The deal was agreed by Pence, Erdogan and the commander of the Kurdish-led SDF, but it was not clear whether all Kurdish militias would agree to hand over land they fought to regain from ISIS over to Ankara.
On Friday morning there were reports of shelling and gunfire in Ras al-Ayn, in breach of the ceasefire.
The city has been the centre of much of the fighting after Turkey quickly seized it, then lost parts to a Kurdish counter-attack. 
A girl who was injured in the ongoing Turkish offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria lying at a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ayn
A girl who was injured in the ongoing Turkish offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria lying at a hospital in Tal Tamr, near the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ayn
Civilians wounded in Turkish attacks on the town of Ras al-Ayn lie wounded in hospital in the nearby settlement of Tal Tamr
Civilians wounded in Turkish attacks on the town of Ras al-Ayn lie wounded in hospital in the nearby settlement of Tal Tamr
A girl whose leg was amputated after she was badly wounded in the shelling of Ras al-Ayn lies in hospital in Tal Tamr, nearby
A girl whose leg was amputated after she was badly wounded in the shelling of Ras al-Ayn lies in hospital in Tal Tamr, nearby
Military vehicles transporting Syrian regime troops and rolled up mattresses are stationed on the outskirts of the northern Syrian border town of Kobane
Military vehicles transporting Syrian regime troops and rolled up mattresses are stationed on the outskirts of the northern Syrian border town of Kobane
'We would stop the operation tonight, if they withdrew right away,' Erdogan told parliament in Ankara, calling on them to 'lay down their arms ... destroy all their traps and get out of the safe zone that we have designated'
'We would stop the operation tonight, if they withdrew right away,' Erdogan told parliament in Ankara, calling on them to 'lay down their arms ... destroy all their traps and get out of the safe zone that we have designated'
It was not clear who was firing at whom in the clashes early Friday, but the Kurds are not known to have access to heavy artillery.
Tel Abaid has also been the scene of heavy fighting in recent days, and while there were no reports of fighting there early Friday, it was unclear if the ceasefire would hold. 
Further to the West Turkey's assault had largely been halted already after Russian and Syrian government forces took control of the city of Mabij and Kobane. 
Turkish forces and Syrian rebel allies have committed 'war crimes' including summary executions during their offensive in northeast Syria, Amnesty International said Friday.
Amnesty accused Ankara's forces of 'serious violations and war crimes, summary killings and unlawful attacks' in the operation launched on October 9.
There was no immediate response from Ankara, which announced a suspension of the attacks late Thursday, but it says all possible measures have been taken to avoid civilian casualties.
Ankara's operation aims to remove the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from areas near its border in northern Syria.
The offensive has killed at least 72 civilians, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
'Turkish military forces and a coalition of Turkey-backed Syrian armed groups have displayed a shameful disregard for civilian life,' Amnesty said. 

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