Warning: this post contains content that may be distressing for some readers.
When she cries, hardly any sounds come out.
Sahar does not release the familiar, full screams of a newborn, but small, faint wails with no tears, as though she is struggling to breathe. She is 34 days old and weighs just 1.8 kilograms – less than a 2L bottle of milk, and the typical weight of a baby at 34 weeks gestation. Her skin is so tight and so stretched over her tiny body, she looks almost translucent.
She’s been taken to a clinic in Hamouria in rebel-held East Ghouta by her mother, who is so malnourished she cannot produce milk to feed her baby, and her father, who has no access to supplements. They are living under siege by forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assadin, in the suburb of Damascus, where merchants are hoarding food supplies.
All night, Sahar lays in a crib, wailing for food it is too late for. Less than a day later, her cries stop, and her life ends before it began.
Sahar's pained, tired body has been seen by millions since photos of her were released on Monday. The images serve as a harrowing mirror to the reality of her war-torn birthplace - a striking example of the broader suffering of millions of Syrians, who live in besieged areas, encircled by the Assad regime.
Her family are not alone in their tragedy.
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, deliberate starvation of civilians is a war crime, but in Syria's state of unrest, it has been used as a tactic by the government to encourage the people to turn against opposition fighters. The overwhelming shortage of supplies (the government has also limited international aid to certain areas) means even staples are too expensive, and products such as formula are almost non-existent.