His face wet with tears, a rescue worker clutched 30-day-old baby Maartouk to his chest as she wailed in distress, her yellow baby grow covered in dust from the attack that almost killed her.
However, he was unaware that he would be the only person connected to the story crying, and he is hoping that the raw emotion shown by BBC presenter Kate Silverton as she broadcast the story will help highlight the severity of their situation.
Told that Silverton had cried after presenting the video of him saving baby Maartouk, Abu Kifah told MailOnline that anything that helped to convey what was happening in in Syria was helpful.
‘It is normal to cry at this and if it helps the west understand the voice of the Syrian people that is a good thing,’ he said.
He was praised as a hero after rescuing the baby from a suspected Russian warplane attack that left her trapped under rubble for two hours in the northern city of Idleb.
‘I was happy last night – it was very emotional because we saved three people: the mother and her two baby girls’, he added.
‘It is not the first time that we have saved people, but when it is kids, it is very sensitive and affects us a lot, so what can you imagine about that baby? It is normal to feel happy for her.’
Saved: Syrian White helmet volunteer Abu Kifah and his colleagues were able rescue a 30-day-old baby from under the rubble in the city of Idlib on Thursday
Heartbreaking: After recovering the baby girl, Abu Kifah burst into tears and held her tight to his chest while he got into an ambulance and took her to one of the makeshift hospitals in Idlib
Although the 22-year-old is childless, he said that he felt like, ‘I was her father and she was my real daughter.’
The volunteer with the Syria Civil Defense team was filmed sobbing helplessly as he rushed the baby girl to hospital in an ambulance, crying, ‘Oh Lord, oh God.’
He clutched baby Maartouk to his chest, her tiny fists waving, as a medic put iodine and a white bandage over her forehead. Later footage showed the month-old child being placed on a black hospital bed before receiving further medical attention. MailOnline understands she is doing well.
‘I always hide my feelings, but yesterday I failed’, Abu Kifah told MailOnline. ‘I am a strong and serious man, but the situation yesterday was very powerful, and even now I cry when I watch the video again.
All people who watched it also cried, and this video is only one per cent of what is happening to us.’
Inhumane: The tiny baby girl wailed after she suffered cuts and bruises to her face but survived being crushed under rubble
Indiscriminate bombing: Abu Kifah is seen holding the baby girl to his chest and weeping
Thousands of children have been killed in the five-year long Syrian conflict, while two million are out of school.
Abu Kifah saved baby Maartouk from a blistering attack in which at least six people died, although some sources put the death toll as high as 21. Her mother and two-year-old sister were also rescued from under the crumpled buildings and were hospitalised. Her father is not thought to have been badly hurt.
Footage from the scene showed bloodied bodies being pulled away on stretchers, and another baby being carried to safety.
Since 2013 Abu Kifar has been a volunteer in the Syria Civil Defense group, also known as the White Helmets, after the headgear that protects them from falling masonry.
Frantic: Syrian men carry injured people amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following an air strike on the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib on Thursday
Innocent: Wounded Syrian children await to receive treatment at a hospital following the air strike on the rebel-held northwestern city of Idlib on Thursday
With the help of UK government funding, they have saved more than 60,000 lives and have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
They rush towards the scenes of attacks blamed on Syrian or Russian aircraft, which drop barrel bombs and missiles onto civilian areas, hospitals and market places.
But the work is highly dangerous.
Syrian regime aircraft are accused of ‘double-tap air strikes’, meaning they circle round to bomb the same location twice, killing the emergency response teams who rushed to the victims of the initial attack. More than 145 White Helmets have been killed while working since 2013.
A growing number of their offices have also been damaged or destroyed in apparently targeted attacks by Assad regime forces.
Abu Kifar said that moments like the rescue of Maartouk motivated the teams to continue their work, despite the grave dangers they face.
‘When we saved her [Maartouk] after more than two hours, we were happy, and that leads us and push us to continue our job despite the risk, because we save people.’
The footage proved too much for BBC newsreader Kate Silverton, who cried live on air after watching the clip.
Emotional: BBC presenter Kate Silverton broke down in tears as she reported the story
She later tweeted: ‘To all of you sending thoughts – thank you – no words really – my job to be inscrutable impartial but I am also human’
She continued reporting the next story but tears could be seen running down her cheeks.
Speaking about the display of emotion, Silverton later tweeted: ‘To all of you sending thoughts – thank you – no words really – my job to be inscrutable impartial but I am also human.’
One viewer tweeted: ‘[D]emonstrating utmost poise professionalism following an extremely distressing piece on Syria. Kudos, Kate.’
At least 11 civilians, including seven children, died during attacks on Idlib, nearby Jarjanaz and central Hama province on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
An agonising 365 days have now passed since Russia began its ‘barbarous’ and relentless bombing campaign on Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Putin’s bombs have killed more than 3,800 civilians in this time, a monitoring group said on Friday as international outcry mounted.
A baby receives medical treatment at a field hospital after Syrian regime carried out airstrikes
A Syrian man receives treatment another regime hospital after attacks by the Assad regime in Damascus
Regime and Russian aircraft have carried out a barrage of strikes across the country since the Syrian government announced an offensive last week
‘Bombs are raining from Syria-led coalition planes and the whole of east Aleppo has become a giant kill box,’ Doctors Without Borders (MSF) director of operations Xisco Villalonga said on Friday.
The aid charity appealed to the Syrian government and its Russian ally to stop bombing rebel-held eastern Aleppo, warning they were provoking a ‘bloodbath’ among civilians in the city.
‘The Syrian government must stop the indiscriminate bombing, and Russia as an indispensable political and military ally of Syria has the responsibility to exert the pressure to stop this,’ he said.
The United Nations has warned that a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Aleppo unlike any witnessed so far in Syria’s brutal five-year war, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives.
Another young victim of the brutal warfare, which has so far claimed more than 300,000 lives
Bloodbath: An injured Syrian man receives treatment after the air strike on Idlib. Numerous doctors and nurses and medical facilities have been hit or targeted in recent weeks
Rescuers from the Syrian Red Crescent and the White Helmets struggle to free civilians trapped under the rubble in Idlib on Thursday
According to the UN, only around 35 doctors remain in eastern Aleppo, where an estimated 250,000 people have been under siege by government forces since early September.
The MSF statement cited numbers from the east Aleppo health directorate, showing that from September 21 to 26, the few hospitals still functioning in the rebel-held part of the city received some 278 dead bodies, including at least 96 children.
More than 822 wounded were also taken in, including at least 221 children, it said.
‘All intensive care units are full. Patients have to wait for others to die so they can be moved to an available bed in intensive care,’ Abu Waseem, manager of an MSF-supported trauma hospital in east Aleppo, warned in the statement.
‘We only have three operating theatres and yesterday alone we had to do more than 20 major abdominal surgeries,’ he said, pointing out that ‘hospital staff is working up to 20 hours a day. They cannot just go home and let people die.’
MSF said it had last been able to deliver medical supplies to east Aleppo in August, and warned that the huge number of wounded was rapidly depleting the stocks in the remaining hospitals.
Syrian men search for people under the rubble of destroyed buildings after at least five air strikes hit various areas in the city of Idlib on Thursday
Crying out for help: A Syrian boy awaits treatment at a make-shift hospital following air strikes on rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo on September 24
‘Now, with a complete siege on the city, attacks on humanitarian convoys and intensive bombing, we are powerless,’ Villalonga said, warning that ‘if this intensity of bombing continues, there may not be a single hospital standing in a few days.’
He demanded that the bombing stop, and that the sick and wounded be evacuated from the city.
‘Anything short of this is confirmation of what many are dreading, that the world has abandoned the people of Aleppo to a violent, agonising death,’ he said.
Fighting in Syria’s besieged eastern Aleppo has killed 338 people in the past few weeks, including 106 children, and 846 have been wounded, including 261 children, a World Health Organization official said on Friday.
‘We are asking for four things: stop the killing, stop attacks on health care, let the sick and wounded out and let the aid in,’ Rick Brennan, WHO’s head of emergency risk management and humanitarian response, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.
‘The situation really is unfathomable.’
Assad’s regime and its key backer Russia are under growing pressure from world governments to halt a new offensive pounding rebel-held areas of Aleppo.
A Syrian man carries a baby after removing him from the rubble of a destroyed building following a reported air strike in the Qatarji neighbourhood of Aleppo
A Syrian man carries his son to a field hospital after the Syrian and Russian army carried out an airstrike on Merce town in Aleppo
Children play with water from a burst water pipe at a site hit by an air strike in Aleppo’s rebel-controlled al-Mashad neighbourhood on Friday
More than 100,000 children remain trapped in east Aleppo
AS THE WORLD WATCHES IN HORROR, RUSSIA BEEFS UP ITS AIRFORCE IN SYRIA
Russia has reinforced its air base in Syria with several bombers and is ready to send ground attack aircraft as it intensifies support for Syrian government troops after the collapse of a ceasefire plan, Russia’s Izvestia daily reported on Friday.
A group of Su-24 and Su-34 frontline bombers have already arrived at the Hmeymim base, Izvestia wrote, quoting an unnamed military official. ‘If need be, the air force group will be (further) built up within two to three days,’ he said.
‘Su-25 ground attack fighters designated to be sent to Hmeymim have already been selected in their units and their crews are on a stand-by, awaiting orders from their commanders.’
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday said there is no point pursuing further negotiations with Russia over Syria, leaving Washington without a backup plan and scrambling to develop new options to stop the mounting carnage.
As the U.S.-Russian ceasefire plan for Syria fell through, U.S. officials have told Reuters that President Barack Obama’s administration had begun considering tougher responses – including military options – to the Russian-backed Syrian government’s assault on Aleppo, the country’s largest city.
However, Russia said it would press ahead with the air war in support of the regime, warning that Washington’s refusal to work with Moscow on a settlement would be a ‘gift to terrorists.’
‘If Washington’s threats to halt cooperation become concrete decisions, then there is no longer any doubt that the rebels are under the White House’s protection and in the streets, terrorists will celebrate,’ Russian foreign ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said.
Russia and the United States have traded blame for last week’s collapse of a ceasefire deal that would have marked the first step in a new effort to end the war that has killed 300,000 people since 2011.
An estimated 10,000 Syrian-led ground troops have amassed east of Aleppo on Friday, CNN reports, in what is believed to be preparation for a final ground assault on rebel-held areas.
Russian and Syrian war planes have been accused of using incendiary devices on civilians
More than 9,300 people have been killed in the Russian raids since September 30, 2015, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The toll includes more than 2,700 jihadists from the Islamic State group and around 2,800 fighters from various rebel factions, the British-based monitor said.
At least 20,000 civilians have been wounded in the Russian raids, it said.
The Observatory — which relies on a network of sources inside Syria for its information — says it determines what planes carried out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said the death toll from Russian strikes could be even higher given the number of people killed by unidentified warplanes.
Moscow said on Thursday that it would press on with its bombing campaign in Syria, ignoring a threat by Washington to suspend its engagement over the conflict following escalating attacks on rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
Syrians react as the bodies of children are pulled from the rubble of a budling following government forces air strikes in the rebel held neighbourhood of Al-Shaar in Aleppo on September 27, 2016
A Syrian man walks past a bus set ablaze following a reported air strike in the rebel-held Salaheddin district of Aleppo
Regime and Russian aircraft have carried out a barrage of strikes on east Aleppo since the Syrian government announced an offensive last week to retake all of the divided city.
The bombardment has been some of the worst in Syria’s five-year civil war, and follows the failure of a short-lived ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States.
Moscow and Washington have traded blame for last week’s collapse of the ceasefire deal that would have marked the first step in a new effort to end the war that has killed 300,000 people since 2011.
US Secretary of State John Kerry admitted Thursday that months of diplomacy to end the war had hit a dead-end.
People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings at a site hit overnight by an air strike in the rebel-held area of Seif al-Dawla neighbourhood of Aleppo on Friday
Injured Sabah Sheikh Qasim, six, was taken to hospital after she was pulled out from the wreckage of a five-storey building hit by Assad regime forces’ air strikes in Shaar town of Aleppo
‘I think we are on the verge of suspending the discussion because, you know, it’s irrational in the context of the kind of bombing taking place, to be sitting there, trying to take things seriously,’ he said.
US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned what they called ‘barbarous’ Russian and Syrian regime air strikes on Aleppo during a phone call, the White House said.
UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien told the Security Council in New York that Aleppo is descending into a ‘merciless abyss of a humanitarian catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed so far in Syria.’
More than 100,000 children remain trapped in east Aleppo, he said.
Two of the largest hospitals in the city’s east were bombed on Wednesday in what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described as a war crime.
Save the Children said that bunker-busting bombs meant it was too dangerous for children to return to even underground schools in Aleppo when classes resume this weekend.
The ‘ferocious assault’ on Aleppo could deprive almost 100,000 school-age children of an education, said the charity, which supports 13 schools in the city, eight of them underground.