A six-year-old girl has starved to death after her father chained her up and kept her in a cage, local media have reported. Nahla Al-Othman died in Faraj Allah camp in Idlib due to hepatitis, starvation and thirst. Her father had apparently beaten her, then chained her and locked her in a cage, where she was neglected and left without food.
A photograph of Nahla has been circulated widely on social media. Her death has sparked angry reactions denouncing the father's crime against his daughter.
"Nahla lived with her father, who divorced her mother, married another woman, and chained the child in a cage because she was hyperactive, even though she was healthy and smart," said Syrian journalist Ibrahim Tiresi, who published the child's photograph. "She was able to survive for several months despite the scarcity of food and water. She used to walk in the camp tied with a chain in front of everyone, to shelter in the cage that became a permanent home for her. Nahla died yesterday from malnutrition, thirst, hepatitis and other diseases, as a result of the harsh conditions that she had to endure."
One twitter user blamed everyone who saw her in such a condition for not doing anything to help the child. "The people's humanity died before the child did," commented another. A third described this as "an unspeakable crime."
UNICEF has issued warnings about the difficult situation faced by children in Syria. It revealed that there are about 4.8 million Syrian children in need of humanitarian aid.
Save the Children, meanwhile, has warned of a potential mental health crisis among Syrian children. Around one in five children under the age of 18 has tried to commit suicide in the camps in Syria, it reported.