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MEDIA CONTACT: Mandy Simon, [email protected]

(LONDON) – A 10-year-old Syrian girl seriously wounded by sniper fire from a Syrian government forces checkpoint in Madaya was successfully evacuated last night for urgent surgery following international pressure, Amnesty International can confirm.

According to the Syrian Red Crescent, Ghina Ahmad Wadi and her mother were escorted from the besieged town to Damascus overnight last night. The move follows appeals by the girl’s UK-based aunt, supported by Amnesty International and others.

“This is clearly a very welcome move that could prove to be a lifeline for Ghina, a brave young girl who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is appalling that she was left to suffer for days on end before being granted this vital reprieve,” said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

“Amnesty International has information about many other civilians in Madaya who are critically ill or injured – in some cases for up to two months – and in need of urgent medical attention immediately.

“All parties to Syria’s armed conflict must protect civilians and ensure humanitarian aid, including critical medical supplies, are allowed into Madaya and other besieged areas as a priority. They must allow and facilitate, where possible, the evacuation of civilians who wish to leave.”

Ghina Ahmad Wadi, was shot in the leg by a sniper on 2 August at the Abdel Majed checkpoint when she was on her way to buy medicine for her mother. She was shot in her left thigh, causing a complex bone fracture and a severing of a nerve. Her eight-year-old sister who was with her was also injured.

Madaya is besieged by Syrian government forces in alliance with Hezbollah fighters, and Ghina’s family appealed to the Syrian authorities to allow her to be evacuated to a hospital in Damascus or in Lebanon – a request which had been denied for almost two weeks.

A doctor working at a field hospital in Madaya told Amnesty International that the girl urgently needs surgery that is not available in Madaya, which has been under a tight government siege since July last year. Instead, Ghina had only been provided with sedatives – including morphine – which ease her extreme pain for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time.

“Children should have no part in this terrible war… I know Ghina’s just one among many thousands of children in Syria who’re going though things they shouldn’t have to, but she can be helped relatively easily and we need to do all we can to make that happen,” Ghina Ahmad Wadi’s aunt, Fadah Jassan, who lives in the UK, previously told Amnesty International.

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Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.