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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 12/21/16

Will proxy politics bring death for Madaya siblings Manal and Mohammed-Kamal?

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Message Franklin P. Lamb
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Outside of Madaya, Syria

It was this past July that ten-year-old Ghina and six-year-old Nagham, sisters of four-year-old Manal and three-year-old Mohammad-Kamal, left their apartment near the main street in Madaya, Syria, to collect some medicine from the nearby town's clinic for their mother Sahar. As they left the clinic and headed back home a sniper, one of the Lebanese or Iraqi militiamen who have enforced the siege of Madaya since overrunning it 18 months ago, fired two shots at the girls, hitting Ghina in the upper thigh and Nagham in her hand and arm. Ghina's life-threatening badly infected wound became known via social media (two links to OEN articles about Ghina and Nagham: A Children's Story: Panic from Outbreak of Meningitis in "Death camp" Of Madaya September 9, 2016 and A Children's Story in Syria , September 2, 2016) and the Beirut, Nice, and Washington DC-based NGO, Meals for Syrian Refugee Children Lebanon (MSRCL) (, has been advocating to reunite the mother, Sahar, with her still trapped in Madaya with her little ones.

Four year old Manal and three year old Mohamand-Kamal shown above in better days. Like literally hundreds among the thousands of children still trapped in Madaya, the children are fading fast from malnutrition and related illnesses without much  to eat, a
Four year old Manal and three year old Mohamand-Kamal shown above in better days. Like literally hundreds among the thousands of children still trapped in Madaya, the children are fading fast from malnutrition and related illnesses without much to eat, a
(Image by Sahar)
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Because there are only three medical attendants to treat approximately 40,000 Madaya residents, one being a veterinarian and the other two dental students, and without medicines or equipment, the tentative decision was made to amputate Ghina's badly shattered leg. According to former dental student Mohammad Darwish, he and his two colleagues have been forced to do amputations on many patients because of lack of equipment and medical knowledge, and they were simply unable to effectively treat Ghina's leg and thigh splintering wound caused by an exploding bullet, A media campaign about her case and urging medical evacuations from Madaya was successful in getting Ghina out of Madaya and into a Damascus hospital. She is now much better and is learning to walk again with help from younger sister Nagham and Syrian Red Crescent Society (SARCS) supplied crutches.

Nagham and Lucy with their new puppy,
Nagham and Lucy with their new puppy, 'Lucy' on December 6, 2016. Ghina's leg is much better and she is also receiving physical therapy in Damascus.
(Image by Franklin Lamb)
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Those remaining is mountainous Madaya, 5000 feet above sea level, which last week got its first snowstorm of the December-February snow season, and where there continue to be more reported cases of death threatening starvation, sniping by militia manning the towns 65 checkpoints, and dozens of attempted suicides, some resulting in death, continue.

Two recent sniping victims were 30 year old Mohammad al-Mowwil who, this past month on Saturday November 12th was walking to his home in Madaya on Saturday November 12, when a sniper's bullet pierced his abdomen and he died due to lack of emergency medical care. Three days later a 13 year old boy, by coincidence from a Madaya family known to Sahar, was killed by another sniper bullet. And the killing of innocent civilians continues as sectarian hatred spreads and intensifies in Syria and the region.

Noted below are a few current cases here, involving Shia-Sunni sectarian politics and hatred raging across the Middle East that may seal the fate of Manal and Mohammad-Kamal trapped inside Sunni Madaya as well as countless others in East Aleppo as well as Shia in other areas.

For example, Iran's IRGC (al-Quds Force) leader Qasem Solemani has reportedly arrived in Aleppo to oversee a population transfer that would move Sunnis from Madaya and nearby Zababani on the outskirts of Damascus near the border with Lebanon approximately 220 miles north to the Shia villages of Foah and Kefraya. The Shia residents of these villages would be uprooted and transferred south to Sunni Madaya and Zabadani. Over the past 18 months all four villages have been under siege either by militia supporting the government or the opposition.

Why is Solemani insisting on the population swap before East Aleppines can be evacuated? Because Iran expects that when the carnage in Syria finally ends, the geopolitics in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon will have been deeply altered and the nascent Shia crescent will become fortified from this population transfer. This will help assure Iranian free access from the suburbs of Damascus 30 miles West to Lebanon's Bekaa valley, and on down to South Lebanon and the border with Palestine.

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)

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