UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres celebrated the extension of a “humanitarian” border crossing at Bab Al Hawa, on July 10th, as a “lifeline for millions of people” – many Syrians would rather describe it as a “lifeline” for Al Qaeda. On the 15th July I visited Jurin, a village to the north of the Hama governorate and only 5km from the Syrian allied military frontlines with the Al Qaeda-dominated armed groups controlling Idlib, north-west Syria. We arrived at around 9 am to the boom of mortar and rocket fire from the Jabal az Zawiya mountain that is under control of Turkish-backed armed groups. Jurin is in the Al Ghab plains at the foot of two mountain ranges and is an easy target for the elevated terrorist positions, occupying Jabal az Zawiya. On June 20th, a three-year-old child, Massa Akram Saleh, was murdered by the armed groups who targeted her family home, injuring her father and brother, five-year-old Akram Saleh, whose body was lacerated by shrapnel wounds. Massa was rushed to Al Sqeilbiyyeh hospital, a journey of one hour, but later died. Her brother and father are still receiving treatment. Massa’s grandfather told me: “If this had been a child of the militants, the UN would have made a big case of it. Hundreds of children have died in our area but it is as if nobody died at all”
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