Baby who lost an eye - new symbol of Syria's woes - arrives in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kisses Syrian infant Karim Abdallah during his visit to border units in Turkey's Hatay province on April 1, 2018.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan kisses Syrian infant Karim Abdallah during his visit to border units in Turkey's Hatay province on April 1, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - A baby boy who lost an eye in a Syrian regime air raid has arrived in Turkey, after his plight was highlighted by social media, the Turkish Red Crescent said.

"Alhamdulillah. Praise be to God... baby Kerim is safe now," Dr Kerem Kinik, head of the Turkish Red Crescent tweeted.

The child, who was just five weeks old when he was injured, will "survive on behalf of all innocent children of Syria" and "remind us that we have a conscience as humanity", he added.

President Recep Erdogan personally greeted little Karim Abdallah, now six months old, and surviving members of his family after their arrival in the Turkish border province of Hatay, according to Turkish media.

Karim lost his left eye in an air raid last October, in the opposition-held area of Eastern Ghouta, which also killed his mother.

The damage to his frontal lobe and left eye will likely leave him suffering long-term effects, said the brain surgeon who treated him and who identified himself as Abu Jamil.

"The frontal lobe plays an essential role in a human being's comprehension, intelligence, and memory," said the 50-year-old doctor who added that it could be "treatable with behavioural and cognitive therapy and cosmetic surgery, but not in Ghouta".

A final deal appeared to have been reached on Sunday (Apr 1) for fighters and civilians to leave the last opposition-held area of Eastern Ghouta, paving the way for Syria's regime to retake all of the one-time rebel enclave near Damascus.

More than 45,000 rebels and their families have been evacuated from Eastern Gouta since March 22 to be relocated in Idlib, according to Syrian authorities.