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Middle East

Syria civil war: British doctor claims snipers ‘shoot at pregnant women’


Snipers are deliberately shooting at pregnant women in Syria as they try to win packets of cigarettes for hitting their targets, a British doctor has said.

David Nott, who recently spent five weeks as a volunteer surgeon in a hospital in Syria, said the wounds civilian victims of snipers suffered suggested the gunmen were picking different parts of the body to shoot at each day, and that sometimes it was the bellies of pregnant women selected.

“One day it would be shots to the groin. The next, it would only be the left chest,” he told 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.”

The conflict, which was sparked when President Bashar al-Addad's government attempted to crush dissent in 2011, has displaced millions and - according to the UN - claimed more than 100,000 lives.

The international community's failure to intervene strongly in the conflict was one of the reasons given by Saudi Arabia on Friday for declining a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.