The number of those injured in Monday’s bomb attack in one of Damascus’ Christian neighborhoods has grown from eighteen to twenty-one. It is now being called one of the deadliest attacks in recent weeks by insurgents in the city’s suburbs. It has also been revealed that one of those killed was a three year old child. His parents remain in intensive care and do not yet know that their child was one of those killed. The toddler was their only child; the couple had spent four years trying to have a baby. Tragically, the war in Syria has made no distinction between civilians and soldiers, adults and children. Christian areas are especially vulnerable to these kinds of attacks, and they continue to be targeted by all sides of the conflict.
01/24/2018 Syria (Herald Courier) – Fadi Khoury was shopping with his wife and three-year-old boy in Damascus when the barrage of mortars crashed around them, severely wounding the couple and killing their only child.
Monday’s attack on the eastern Bab Touma district, which occurred as children were leaving schools, was one of the deadliest launched in recent weeks by insurgents in the besieged suburbs of the capital.
Fighting has intensified in recent days as government forces push into the area known as eastern Ghouta, home to some 400,000 people, which has been besieged for weeks and pounded by airstrikes and artillery. Dozens have been killed on both sides, and the siege has caused severe shortages of food, fuel and medicine.
Health Minister Nizar Yazigi said Monday’s shelling killed nine people and wounded 21. He said “terrorists” were seeking to pressure the government by firing shells into “safe areas” as government forces advance, and predicted that the insurgents would soon be defeated.
President Bashar Assad has consolidated his control over key areas of Syria in the past few years with the support of Iran and Russia, but has been unable to stop the rebels from striking at his seat of power. Damascus is relatively secure and brimming with life, but the fleeting sense of normalcy can be shattered at any time by the whistle and thud of mortar rounds and rockets.
Khoury had brought his wife and child into the city from their village of Maaret Saidnaya for some shopping earlier in the day. Bab Touma, a predominantly Christian neighborhood, is a popular shopping destination and residential district.
Just after 2 p.m., insurgents fired several shells into the neighborhood, instantly striking down and killing three-year-old Elias Khoury. His parents were left severely wounded and both are now in intensive care at the nearby French Hospital.