ALEPPO, Syria – A four-year-old girl has died after picking up a cluster bomb she thought was a toy in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The girl, Eman, was going out to collect water in rebel-held eastern Aleppo when she came across the bomb, her family told ITV. She thought it was a silver ball, they said.
ITV aired a video Monday showing the little girl fighting for her life in a hospital, her face bloodied and bruised. She died Tuesday.
Another girl at the same hospital was seen wailing in pain after being wounded in an airstrike. Her name and age are unknown, as no family members accompanied her. Doctors believe they were killed in the same attack.
What are cluster bombs?
Cluster bombs are explosives that project smaller “bomblets” that often lie around long after conflicts end and are difficult to clear. More than 100 countries have signed a treaty to ban their use.
Human Rights Watch, as well as many US and other officials, have accused Russia of using cluster bombs as it supports the Syrian regime.
The regime — backed by Russian air power — has intensified its airstrikes on Aleppo in recent days and appears to be deliberately targeting hospitals.
Now there are only five hospitals left in the area, and they’re swamped with casualties.
The rules of war are not being abided by, a doctor at the hospital told ITV, adding that it was not just the innocent being struck, but the places that care for the sick and wounded.
At least seven people died and more remain trapped under rubble after “bunker-buster” bombs destroyed the M10 hospital in eastern Aleppo on Monday, opposition activists from the Aleppo Media Center said.
Monday’s attack marked the third time in a week the M10 hospital was bombed. Airstrikes also pummeled the hospital last Wednesday and Saturday.
The facility, run by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), was established in 2013 and was moved underground in 2014 after multiple attacks on the facility, the organization said.
It claimed the hospital was destroyed and that the five facilities left in the area now have to care for a population of 300,000 civilians, including more than 85,000 children.
“There remain only 29 doctors to treat the overwhelming number of wounded,” SAMS said in a statement.
The Syrian regime has tried to take control of eastern Aleppo since rebels took the area in 2012. In July, regime forces encircled the area, essentially cutting it off from food and medical supplies, sparking a humanitarian crisis there.