A heart-rending image of a heavily scarred Syrian baby whose mother was killed after two separate Syrian regime attacks on his besieged town has sparked an outpouring of sympathy on Twitter and other social media platforms.
The 40-day-old baby, known only by his first name, Karim, was first wounded on the 29th of October when artillery shells struck a market in Hammouria, a suburb of Damuscus, in opposition-held eastern Ghouta, killing his mother.
Over a week later, after the weeks-old baby was discharged from a hospital, shrapnel tore through the roof of his house and the infant was picked up by rescue workers from underneath the rubble. Karim is currently being cared for by his brothers, the oldest of whom is just 11 years old, and their father.
A portrait of Karim by the Syrian refugee artist, Fares Jasem, which shows a rose covering the child's scars, helped raise social media awareness about the boy's plight and highlight the desperate situation of many like Karim trapped inside Eastern Ghouta.
Residents of the besieged town, people in Syria and across the world have come together and are supporting Karim by covering their eye in photos and sharing them online using the hashtag #SolidarityWithKarim.
Amer Almohibany, a Syrian freelance photojournalist documenting Syria’s six-year war spotted Karim in early December and the sight of the child left an impact.
"I was very touched by this sad story. Even after I left Karim [he] did not leave my memory," he told BuzzFeed News via Twitter DM. "When I returned to the house stood in front of the mirror and covered my eyes with my hand and tried to live that experience", Amer added.
I'm in solidarity with karim a syrian child two-month-old, lost his eye and broke the skull of his head and lost his mother when they came under artillery bombardment of the Assad regime on the #EasternGhouta— Amer almohibany (@amer_almohibany) December 17, 2017
He lives alone without a mother.#SolidarityWithKarim
Join our campaign pic.twitter.com/13xS97N7Kx
#SolidarityWithKarim even reached the United Nations, where British ambassador Matthew Rycroft tweeted a photograph of himself at the Security Council, his right hand over his eye.
When we sit around the #UNSC & warn that inaction will mean more people are going to die. More schools bombed. More children scarred. This is what we mean.— Matthew Rycroft (@MatthewRycroft1) December 19, 2017
We must see an end to the bombardment & siege of #EasternGhouta.#SolidarityWithKarim pic.twitter.com/8Io85VlDdF
As the social media campaign took hold, many other Syrians and their children also tweeted pictures of themselves with a hand covering one eye in support of Karim, using the hashtag #SolidarityWithKarim.
My little brother Muhammad appears his solidarity with Karim and says, "We children hate war and hate #Assad who is killing us by his warplanes, it's hard to live, read and play in one eye".#SolidarityWithKarim pic.twitter.com/BZgINVba0c— Firas Abdullah (@firasabdullah_) December 18, 2017
I'm in #solidaritywithkarim a syrian child two month-old, lost his eye and broke the skull of his head and lost his mother when they came under artillery bombardment of the Assad regime on the EasternGhouta— Majd khalaf ( مجد خلف ) (@majdkhalaf1993) December 18, 2017
He lives alone without a mother.#SolidarityWithKarim pic.twitter.com/IOfivXeZtl
The White Helmets, also called the Syria Civil Defense, also tweeted their support. The group has worked throughout the war, rescuing people from the rubble left behind from airstrikes and bombings.
متطوعوا الدفاع المدني متضامنون مع كريم— الدفاع المدني السوري (@SyriaCivilDefe) December 18, 2017
الطفل كريم فقد عينه وكسرت جمجمته و استشهدت والدته بعد تعرّض منزل عائلته في غوطة دمشق الشرقية لقصف مدفعي شنه نظام الأسد. #الدفاع_المدني_السوري #متضامن_مع_كريم #SolidarityWithKarim pic.twitter.com/8Y7zlMp7oj
Solidarity with Karim ...— mohamed aldamashqi (@mohamedsyrian10) December 18, 2017
Civil Defense teams and men in the #Alatarip #Aleppo are united with the #karim of the child who lost his eye and his mother in the bombing of a criminal from the criminal gangs Lion in the #Ghouta#SolidarityWithKarim pic.twitter.com/HGAz8qLwzj