Syrian children urge action not condemnation after gas attack

Sunita Patel-Carstairs, News Reporter

Syrian children staged a protest with duct tape over their mouths to condemn the global inaction over a suspected chemical weapons attack.

The attack in Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province killed more than 80 people, including up to 30 children , according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

The image posted on social media by a journalist shows 14 children.

One girl is holding a sign which reads "Friends of Syria".

Beside her are another seven youngsters bearing the flags of countries and organisations who have condemned the atrocity and have shown no signs of intervening in the bloody civil conflict .

Rami Jarrah, who took the photograph, wrote on Twitter: "Children of Idlib, in response to the chemical attack, each representing a state with mouths wide shut."

They are not the only children appealing to the world for help.

Bana Alabed, who has been tweeting about life amid the devastation in Syria, reached out to US President Donald Trump directly on Twitter in the aftermath of Tuesday's atrocity.

The seven year-old, who was safely evacuated from Aleppo in December, posted an image of some of the child victims of the attack and wrote: "This is today in Syria in #Idlib. Hi @realdonaldtrump do you love this?"

In addition, she posted a video of herself, saying: "This is my message to the leaders of the world: it's never too late, save the people of Syria now."

She added: "My message to the @UN, @kingsalman, @hhshkmohd & @justintrudeau: I have only one wish & that's END THE WAR IN SYRIA NOW. please. Thank you.

"The people of Syria don't want condemnation, they want to be saved. Condemnation doesn't save lives but actions do. #EndSyriaWar now."

The airstrikes have been blamed on President Bashar al Assad's regime, which has denied ever using chemical weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the allegations are "groundless" .

Damascus says its military bombed an arms depot belonging to al Qaeda affiliate, the al Nusra Front, now known as the Fateh al Sham Front - echoing an earlier claim by the Russian defence ministry.

Mr Trump has described the attack as an "affront to humanity" which "crossed many, many lines".

He has criticised Moscow's involvement in the long-running war and suggested the US may take a more forceful approach in Syria, but has stopped short of elaborating on exactly how.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said a United Nations resolution should be passed before any unilateral action can be taken on Syria.

Britain, France and the US are pushing for a UN resolution to condemn the attack which happened three-days-ago.

France's foreign minister has called for a resumption of Syria peace talks and has warned against military strikes "under the pretext that the US president may have a rush of blood to the head, and get onto a war footing".

Meanwhile, a defiant Mr Assad has said in an interview: "We do not have any other option except victory.

"If we do not win this war, it means that Syria will be deleted from the map.

"We have no choice in facing this war, and that's why we are confident, we are persistent and we are determined."