This shocking photo of a starving Syrian girl shows the barbarity of Syria’s civil war

Hala al-Nufi.

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Hala al-Nufi.
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Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

    This photo shows two-year-old Hala al-Nufi, who weighs just 12 pounds. She lives in eastern Ghouta, which is besieged by Syrian government troops. She is one of many children suffering from malnutrition in the city. There is still no end in sight for Syria’s six-year civil war.

If you look closely, you can see her ribcage, veins, and bloated stomach, covered by a thin layer of sallow skin.

This shocking image, captured by Reuters photographer Bassam Khabieh, depicts two-year-old Hala al-Nufi, one of hundreds of children suffering from malnutrition in eastern Ghouta amid Syria’s civil war.

Eastern Ghouta is held by one of the rebel groups against President Bashar al-Assad, and has been surounded by Syrian government forces for the past four years, according to al Jazeera. It’s located near Damascus, Syria’s capital.

Food, fuel, and medicine used to be smuggled into the 300,000-person-strong city via underground tunnels, but those routes were cut off by government forces earlier this year, Reuters reported.

hala al nufi metabolic disorder

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Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Hala suffers from a metabolic disorder, and a scarcity of food has exacerbated her illness, Reuters said. She weighs around 5 kilograms (12 pounds).

Her mother, Um Said, says she is too hungry to breastfeed any of her six children.

“I put the child to the breast, but there is no milk. I am not eating,” she told Reuters.

“Sometimes I hit myself against the wall. For God’s sake, open the road. In the name of the prophet, I kiss your hands and feet, open the road for us.

“We are going to die of hunger. We are eating from the trash bins.”

Hala being held by her uncle.

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Hala being held by her uncle.
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Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

At least 1,200 children in eastern Ghouta alone suffer from malnutrition, a UNICEF spokeswoman told Reuters.

Paediatrician Amani Ballar also said: “The child that we consider normal in Ghouta is the child whose weight is on the lowest end of the normal weight scale. We don’t have fully healthy children.”

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the UN’s human rights commissioner, said on Friday the images were “shocking” and that the “deliberate starvation of civilians as a method of warfare constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law, and may amount to a crime against humanity and/or a war crime.”

Some 470,000 people have been killed since the start of the civil war in March 2011, the independent Syrian Center for Policy Research reported last year. There appears to be no end in sight.