Sonny Bill Williams posts pictures of dead children in Syria: 'What did they do to deserve this?'

In early December Sonny Bill Williams visited a refugee camp in Lebanon.

It obviously made an impact.

The rugby union star posted a tweet last night that contained pictures of dead children, victims of the Syrian war.

The caption reads: “What did these children do to deserve this? This Summer share a thought for the innocent victims of war.”

Sonny Bill Williams in Lebanon in early December.

The pictures show two boys, not older than 10, lying dead on the ground – one with injuries to his face and chest, the other with damage to his arm, leg and torso.

It looks as though they have been victims of bomb blasts.

We have chosen not to publish the pictures but if you want to see them, here’s the link to Williams’ Twitter account.

Fans have had a mixed reaction to the tweet, with some saying they understand why he did it, but others suggesting that the pictures were just too graphic to post without a warning.

“Let’s pray they see the day when birds will cover the sky, not bombs,” wrote one person.

Another said: “Although I sympathise w ur reasons for posting this, it’s not wise. It can be a trigger for some pple. Also young followers.”

Many commenters echoed Williams’ own sentiment: “Thanks for posting. We need to be shaken out of our comfort zones from time to time. Reality bites!”

Watch Williams’ video diary of a trip to the Bekka Valley:

Video via UNICEF NZ

Williams visited a camp in Lebanon, near the Syrian border, with UNICEF New Zealand at the beginning of December.

He was there as a UNICEF ambassador, with the goal of raising awareness of the conditions in the region.

While there he met a number of children who were trying to get by in the middle of a war zone, including a 12-year-old girl who he bonded with.

Fatima and her family escaped Syria two years ago and have lived in a refugee camp ever since.

Williams has said the trip really opened his eyes to the conditions in the region.

“I came here and what I’ve heard, what I’ve seen, I’ve just been shocked and it’s just made me realise how ignorant I was,” he said.

Since war began in Syria, Lebanon has taken in over 1.2 million refugees fleeing the conflict.

It is estimated that 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict so far – although the real number could be much higher.