Turkish shelling causes chronic diseases to children in Syria’s Manbij 

MANBIJ, Syria (North Press) – Ibrahim Sam’ou has been accustomed to take his child to the doctor to analyze his case after suffering from  lot of crises and troubles as he grows up. Whenever a “good” doctor is mentioned to him he takes his child to, but to no avail.   

Sam’ou, a local from the village of al-Jat, some 17 km in north of Manbij, northern Syria, has a 5-year-old child who suffers from nerve related illnesses, post-traumatic stress disorder and urinary incontinence.

He said that since his child was a baby “he used to be scared of loud shelling on the village. He used to scream. Now, he is five, his condition deteriorates with the passage of time.”

Shells fired from areas under the control of Turkish forces and their affiliated armed opposition factions, known as Syrian National Army (SNA), cause horror and panic to the children. People say there are children diagnosed with diseases due to panic and horror caused by sudden shelling and loud sounds.  

One of these diseases is urinary incontinence and others related to horror such as post-traumatic stress disorder and shivering.

For six years, villages on the frontline with Turkish forces and SNA factions in Manbij undergo constant shelling. The Sajur River that passes the village of al-Jat serves as a border between Manbij Military Council, affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and areas controlled by the SNA factions.   

Although Turkey signed the ceasefire agreement in 2019, however, it repeatedly shells villages on the whole frontlines.

What is being caused by shelling of nerve and psyche disorders a breach of all international agreements and conventions notably the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC) which was adopted in 1989.

Khaled al-Ahmad, 43, said the shelling carried out by the Turkish forces stationed in the regions of “Euphrates Shield Operation”, Aleppo eastern countryside, on his village located on the frontline and the loud sounds of shelling “had women miscarriages and caused nerve and psyche disorders.”

The “Euphrates Shield” is the name of a military operation launched by Turkey and its armed factions in 2016 which resulted in the occupation of the cities of al-Bab and Jarablus in Aleppo countryside.  

Villages on the frontline undergo every kind of shelling, artillery, mortars, drones and barrages of light weapons, all cause panic and horror.  

Al-Hassan called on human rights organizations and those advocating children’s rights to stop breaches upon civilians and children, calling as well on NGOs to closely watch such villages to be informed on the situation and document offences and “inhumane crimes,” as he put it. 

While Khaled al-Alo expressed hope NGOs provide aid to his child that has nerve related disorder due to the horror caused by shelling.

Al-Alo refused to comment on the case of his child girl. However, according to a report the child has shivering caused by scare as the father cannot take her to the doctor due to his dire economic condition.  

According to locals in al-Jat, the shelling caused chronic diseases to children aged 5-12.   

On June 29, Ahmad Fouad al-Hanafi, 12, and Muhammad Abdullatif, 13, from the village of Arab Hassan, north of Manbij, lost their lives in a Turkish shelling on their house, according to the Facebook account of Manbij Military Council.

Since the Islamic State (ISIS) was expelled from the city of Manbij in August 2016 villages on the frontlines are shelled in a blatant violation of all international conventions.

Although a number of crimes against children and civilians were documented, there is no reaction from human rights organization to condemn such “crimes”. As silence continues, breaches upon villages on the frontlines go on. 

Reporting by Ahmad Abdullah