With the end of the conflict nowhere in sight, a British report points to new levels of depravity as part of the battles tearing Syria apart – bored snipers have begun taking practice shots at pregnant women, specifically aiming for their unborn fetuses.
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The testimony of a British doctor who spoke with ITV claims that snipers have been engaging in a "death game" in which they target specific body parts of innocent civilians as target practice.
Death games: Fetus shot in head in utero
The doctor, David Nott, said that he began noticing the phenomenon after identifying certain trends in the victims he was treating: "One day we'd have pregnant women being brought in with gunshot wounds to the uterus. Not just one or two, but seven or eight, which meant to me they (the snipers) must be targeting pregnant women.
"And the following day, we would get people coming in with chest wounds to the right side of the chest. The next day it would be the left side and no other injuries. Then it would be groin… so it seemed to me that there was a death game going on with the snipers," Dr. Nott said.
Nott is convinced the snipers are playing with their victims, specifically with the attempt of wounding them:
"Most of the victims are woman and children. I've seen very few fighters since I've been here. There are gunshot wounds to the groin, chest and abdomen but very few wounds to the head, so it means sometimes the snipers are out there to wound and hurt people rather than to kill them outright."
According to the Daily Mail, as part of the sniper games, snipers receive a cigarette for every such hit.
"It's pitiful because we receive cases of pregnant ladies who are shot in the uterus and removing dead babies from the uterus is a very unpleasant experience," Nott told ITV.
Meanwhile, in a strongly-worded statement, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki condemned the regime's continued siege of Ghouta and other Damascus suburbs, such as Mouadimiya, citing attacks on humanitarian aid convoys.
There were now "unprecedented reports of children dying of malnutrition-related causes in areas that are only a few miles from Bashar Assad's palace in Damascus," Psaki said.
She added that the "people of Mouadimiya have been without basic necessities for nearly a year, and the regime's deliberate prevention of the delivery of lifesaving humanitarian supplies to thousands of civilians is unconscionable."
"We call on the Syrian regime to immediately approve relief convoys into these areas," the spokesperson said.
Psaki also warned the Assad regime against using limited evacuations of some civilians as "an excuse to attack those residents who remain behind. Those who are responsible for atrocities in the Damascus suburbs and across Syria must be identified and held accountable," she said.
Saturday, at least 16 soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack and fighting that followed between Syrian government forces and Islamist rebels near, a monitoring group said.
The bombing, carried out by a suicide bomber from the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, triggered heavy fighting at a key checkpoint between the rebel-held town of Mleha and Jaramana, a pro-regime area populated by Christians and Muslim Druze, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
AFP contributed to this report
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