Shocking image from Syria shows girl, 5, clinging to sister's T-shirt at bombed building

A shocking photo from Syria published Wednesday shows a father in agony as his 5-year-old daughter clings to her younger sister's T-shirt while surrounded by rubble from an airstrike.

The image was taken in Ariha, a rural area of Idlib province, where airstrikes by the Syrian government and Russian forces have intensified this week.

A correspondent for Syrian news outlet SY-24 reported the airstrikes had hit the family’s apartment, causing them to fall from the fifth floor to the ground.

The correspondent who photographed the scene reportedly stopped to help the children. Moments later, the building collapsed, further injuring other apartment dwellers, the five-year-old girl named Riham, and her seven-month-old sister Tuqa, BBC reported.

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The girls initially were turned away from a clinic due to lack of resources before being admitted to a larger hospital in Idlib, SY-24 reported. The five-year-old died from her injuries while her younger sister remains in intensive care, according to the station.

The father has been identified as Amjad al-Abdullah. His wife, Asmaa Naqouhl, was also reportedly killed at the scene.

The photo has circulated on social media in a manner reminiscent of a viral 2015 photo of a drowned Syrian toddler that brought renewed attention to the eight-year-old civil war in Syria and the subsequent refugee crisis.

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Syrian Civil Defense rescuers, known as White Helmets, reported Thursday that four people killed by airstrikes in the village of Kfar Rouma and the town of Maaret Numan in Idlib, while five were killed in Aleppo province's town of Atareb and al-Bawabiya village.

The U.S. State Department said Tuesday the Syrian and Russian attacks that "deliberately strike civilian infrastructure" are an "act of desperation" that threatens the political process. It called for the return to a cease-fire that was negotiated in September last year and sponsored by Russia, and Iran, allies of the Syrian government and Turkey, which backs the opposition.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.