Amnesty calls for rescue of 10-year-old Syrian girl shot in the leg by sniper

LONDON (AFP) - Human rights group Amnesty International called on Saturday (Aug 13) for the evacuation of a ten-year-old Syrian girl shot in the leg by a government sniper in the besieged town of Madaya.

Ghina Ahmad Wadi was hit at a checkpoint in the south-western town 11 days ago while buying medicine for her mother.

Amnesty is now urging the UN humanitarian task force in Syria, which is headed by US and Russian authorities, to evacuate her. Its petition has reached more than 5,000 signatures.

"We're calling on the UN humanitarian task force to ensure that Ghina is evacuated immediately to a hospital where she can get the urgent surgery she needs," Amnesty said in a statement.

"Russia and the US have the power and influence to make sure the Syrian government - and any other besieging force - allows medical evacuations so that people like Ghina do not need to suffer."

Ghina's aunt Fadah Jassan, who lives in London, also urged the British government to intervene.

"Children should have no part in this terrible war and I just want powerful countries and the UN to get Ghina out of Madaya and into a properly-equipped hospital," she said.

"If the UK government can help my niece, then I'd beg them to do so."

She added: "I know Ghina's just one among many thousands of children in Syria who're going though things they shouldn't have to, but she can be helped relatively easily and we need to do all we can to make that happen."

The Syrian government has so far refused to allow her to be evacuated to a hospital in Damascus or in Lebanon, according to Amnesty.

"The bullet shattered her left thigh, causing a complex bone fracture and a severing of a nerve," the group said. "Her eight-year-old sister who was with her at the time was also injured."

The shot shattered the ten-year-old's leg and left her in "almost constant, excruciating pain", Amnesty said.