02:17 GMT +319 January 2020
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    Jamal speaks on the phone in a low voice, agreeing on a meeting with the little hero Isa, who, at just five years old, has already suffered substantially from terrorism.

    DEIR EZ-ZOR(Sputnik) — The boy and his family have experienced tragedy in their lives, and though they survived, they could not get used to it. Dialogue with the family was interrupted by terrorist shelling, and we witnessed the consequences of this and took part in saving the child.

    Eleven Shell Fragments

    With the crew of VGTRK reporter Evgeny Poddubny and local elderly man Jamal, we arrived in the Al-Qusur quarter of Syria's Deir ez-Zor.

    "My name is Isa ['Jesus' in Arabic], I'm five years old. Yes, it hurts, you want to talk about it," the child says, sitting on the couch and looking away.

    Isa has a scar along his entire face and one toe missing on his left foot.

    "I have six children, Isa is the youngest, but has suffered the most. When he was ten months old, a shell landed near the house. It tore off his toe, injured his arms and legs, left a scar on his face, knocked his jaw out, and could not even drink breast milk. Lord, when it will end?" his mother cries, showing her injured child.

    This incident was not the only one in the boy's life. Six months ago, a shell fell near the house while Iisa was playing football. A shell fragment hit him in the back less than an inch from the spine.

    The mother raises Isa's t-shirt and points at the scar.

    "Tell me, should I cry or rejoice? Why is this happening to us?" says the woman, trying to control herself.

    There were 11 iron shell fragments in the child's body. The family hopes that an opportunity will arise to send the child to Damascus for an operation.

    "Yes, they hurt, it's difficult for me to play football. This one in the leg is the nastiest," the kid says quietly, lifting up his trousers.


    Before Isa puts his T-shirt back on, a deafening explosion is heard, after which his horrified mom takes her son to a back room.

    "My daughter is out in the street, my God! Help me, return her, please!" she screams, returning to us.

    There is absolutely no time to think — there was a tragedy in the street that is very hard to estimate. The only thought is that there may be more than one bomb. Jamal, the cameraman and I are pushing children who had gathered around us and our equipment into the back room.

    Dust And Bodies

    The rocket fell 50 meters (164 feet) from the house where Isa lives. The dust from the rupture begins to dissipate, and people start to run to the intersection where the tragedy happened. It is necessary to help the victims.

    It's evening, and at this time, many children play in the street while adults go shopping.

    As the dust settles, the outlines of bodies begins to appear on the ground.

    With fear in her eyes, Isa's mother rushes to the intersection in search of the eldest daughter.

    "Do you have a car? Please, please! We must go to the hospital! Help!" Shouts a man carrying a girl of about 12 in our direction. Her knees have been turned out, the shell has gouged out her eye and has broken her nose. But the child remains conscious, she quietly asks: "What's wrong with me?"

    It is not Isa's sister. We drive the car to the scene. Poddubny jumps into the back of the truck and we hand the wounded child to him.

    "Take your belts off quickly! We need to stop the bleeding!" he shouts. As we remove our belts, Poddubny tightens them on child's limbs around the injuries.

    "Be patient, girl, everything will be fine. Do not shake much," he says from the back of the truck.

    "Wait, take the leg, I do not know whether it's her leg or not, but you need to go to the hospital, take it for God's sake," screams a man, running to our car with a severed leg. Jamal grabs the leg through the window and commands: "Move on!" Pedal to the floor, we are rushing towards the military hospital.


    A truck of the Red Crescent and the pickup truck are approaching the hospital before us. The bodies of the dead are in the far corner. A girl of about 15, whose leg has been torn off, is neatly carried on a stretcher.

    A Russian Navy ship launches a Kalibr cruise missile at the Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist groupfrom the Mediterranean Sea. File photo
    © Photo : Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation
    We quickly put the girl from the back of our truck onto one of the bloody orange stretchers thrown to us. She is still conscious and howling in pain.

    A male nurse picks the separated leg from the car.

    Poddubny's operator and technician take on the role of paramedics, carrying stretchers with the wounded to the hospital.

    "Everything else does not depend on us, you were here by chance, let's go back and see what's there," Jamal says.

    On the Scene

    A homemade missile made by militants destroyed the school wall and part of a classroom on the ground floor. A tent selling chocolate is fuming on the opposite side.

    Blood and pieces of human flesh are dispersed all over the pavement. A boot with the a detached foot of a policeman who was on duty here at the moment of the shelling lies near the patrol car.

    "The seller was my friend. He was killed on the spot, just like the three policemen here," the man says to the camera.

    There is a pool of blood in the courtyard of the house opposite the school. An eight-year-old boy was killed there.

    "His head is torn apart, a hand apart, and a body in his mother's hands, it's her crying that you can hear her even here," says the man, pointing to the yard.

    People go past us and, weeping, reading lines from the Quran. We and the local residents bend down to the ground with every slight rustle in anticipation of an explosion.

    "Let's talk to people tomorrow. Now is not the best time, as you can see, thank you for your help, friends. You did a lot," pale Jamal tells us, shaking our hands.


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    children, VGTRK, Deir ez-Zor, Syria
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