Tim Montgomerie has a horrifying story in the London Times about women and children being targeted in Syria:
David Nott, who has just spent five weeks volunteering in a Syrian hospital, said that he and his despairing colleagues started to notice a disturbing pattern among the women and children who were being shot as they ran the daily gauntlet across a divided zone to buy food and supplies in a major city.
“One day it would be shots to the groin. The next, it would only be the left chest. The day after, we would see no chest wounds; they were all neck [wounds],” he said in an interview with The Times. “From the first patients that came in in the morning, you could almost tell what you would see for the rest of the day. It was a game. We heard the snipers were winning packets of cigarettes for hitting the correct number of targets.”
He said local rumours suggested that the snipers were mercenaries from China and Azerbaijan, working for the Assad regime. This cannot be verified.
Mr Nott has been volunteering as an emergency surgeon in war zones in countries such as Bosnia, Libya, Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past 20 years. However, he said that Syria was the only place in which he had witnessed civilians, and in particular pregnant women, being targeted.
On one day, more than half a dozen pregnant women were caught in sniper fire. On another day, two consecutive patients were heavily pregnant women. Both survived but their babies were dead on arrival.
In one case, a baby had a bullet in its brain. “The women were all shot through the uterus, so that must have been where they were aiming for. I can’t even begin to tell you how awful it was. Usually, civilians are caught in the crossfire. This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. This was deliberate. It was hell beyond hell.”