By Muhammed Boztepe
ANKARA (AA) – Fresh from the baby’s safe arrival in southern Turkey, the Turkish president on Sunday met an infant who came to symbolize the plight of Syrian civilians victimized by regime attacks.
Baby Karim and his family arrived in Hatay, southern Turkey, just across the border, following their evacuation from the besieged Syrian enclave of Eastern Ghouta.
Before attending a provincial congress of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met the baby Karim, his father Abu Muhammed, and his two sisters.
In his arms Erdogan held the baby, who lost one of his eyes when he was just 1 month old, as well as his mother in an Assad regime artillery strike on Eastern Ghouta.
Despite serious head and skull injuries, Karim miraculously held onto life. He is now in the care of his young sisters.
-Evacuation after social media support
Karim and his family left Eastern Ghouta and came to Idlib as part of compulsory evacuations under a cease-fire agreement offered by Russia, although attacks on civilians there have continued unabated.
Baby Karim became a symbol of the siege of Eastern Ghouta last December after Anadolu Agency publicized his story to the world, spurring social media campaigns to aid the infant.
Social media also saw an outpouring of support for the injured baby.
Twitter users across the world posted pictures with their hands clasping their left eyes shut. “#BabyKarim I see you” and “#EasternGhouta siege must end” became trending Twitter hashtags.
Statesmen and celebrities also joined in, including Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Britain’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, and French footballer Franck Ribery.
After going for six months without medical treatment in Eastern Ghouta, Karim’s family has gotten intense support from the Turkish Red Crescent. His medical treatment will also be taken care of in Turkey.