Syrian girl, 5, clings to her baby sister as she dangles from a ledge

Heartbreaking moment five-year-old Syrian girl desperately tries stop her seven-month-old sister falling off high ledge after an airstrike – clinging to baby’s T-shirt despite being trapped in rubble herself before the tot slips from her grasp

  • Riham seen hanging on to her infant sister’s clothes as she dangled from a ledge
  • Five-year-old girl tried to save her sibling after a government-backed airstrike
  • Family home destroyed by either Russian or Assad forces in Ariha, western Idlib
  • Two of the sisters taken to hospital for treatment but Riham and her mother died

A five-year-old girl tried to save her baby sister by clinging onto her T-shirt as she dangled from a destroyed building in Syria moments before she was killed.

Riham was seen clutching her infant sister’s clothes in a desperate bid to stop her falling from the edge of their bombed family home.

Shocking pictures show the moment she struggled to keep hold of her sibling, Tuqa, as she began to slip out of her grasp.  

The girl’s other sister was also trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building after an airstrike in Ariha, western Idlib, by either Russian or Syrian government forces yesterday.

Father Amjad al-Abdullah was seen watching in horror with his head in his hands as he scrambled to save his daughters. 

Father Amjad al-Abdullah was seen watching in horror as his daughter held onto her infant sister to stop her falling from a ledge following a Syrian government-backed airstrike 

Five-year-old Riham was seen clinging on to her seven-month-old sister Tuqa as she dangled from the edge of their bombed home in Ariha, western Idlib 

Seven-month-old Tuqa fell from the ledge and was left in a critical condition in an intensive care unit while Riham later died in hospital. 

Moments after dramatic footage of the rescue attempt was filmed the building collapsed.

The girl’s were pulled from the ruins, but their mother Asmaa Naqouhl was killed at the scene and her other daughter is still being treated for her injuries.

Syria Civil Defence, the volunteer first responders known as the White Helmets, said they rescued another young man from the rubble of the house. 

Footage of the Abdullah rushing to save his family went viral on social media after being posted by Syrian network SY-24.

Photographer Bashar al Sheikh, a from Kafr Nabudah, was among the first on the scene after the attack and captured the dramatic moment. 

He said: ‘The airstrikes had hit their building and they had fallen from the fifth floor to the ground. They were screaming and crying, asking rescue teams to save them.’

Tuqa eventually fell from the damaged building and it collapsed moments later, killing Riham and her mother. Tuqa miraculously survived 

The family were pulled from the rubble after the building collapsed. Mother Asmaa Naqouhl died as did her daughter Riham

Syrian government forces, backed by its ally Russia, launched an offensive in April to retake strategic areas around Idlib and northern Hama as part of its bid to push the rebels from the country. 

A spokesman for SY-24 told BBC News: ‘He [the photographer] couldn’t see anything at first because of the rubble and dust – but then he heard the sounds of babies, children, and the father.’  

The Syrian Network for Human Rights estimates that more than 600 civilians have been killed by Russian or Assad regime strikes since April.

On Wednesday, 59 civilians, including five children and more than 100 injured, died in air strikes on at least three areas of Idlib province on Monday, according to the UN.

The province is one of the last rebel-held areas in Syria.

Two of the young girls were taken to hospital for treatment (pictured rescue teams picking through the rubble). More than 59 civilians were killed and 100 injured during separate airstrikes on Monday

Mark Cutts, the UN’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis said: ‘Some of the dead bodies were torn into pieces or burnt beyond recognition. 

‘Many of the victims were women and children, some of them suffering the most horrific injuries. 

‘Rescue workers have been working all day pulling people out from under the rubble. Many remain buried. The search for survivors was continuing as darkness fell.’

Russian air strikes had killed 10 people from one family, including three children, in Khan-Sheikun, according to the UK-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

The market town of Maaret al-Numan suffered some of the bloodiest strikes when around 40 people, including eight women and five children, were killed in blasts.

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