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This Syrian Baby Lost His Eye in the War — And Now the Whole World Is Taking Notice

Every now and then, a viral internet campaign comes along that everyone should see.

A powerful reminder of this comes in the form of #StandWithKarim, a Twitter-focused movement that emerged after a heartbreaking image of a Syrian baby who lost his mother and one of his eyes in a bomb strike carried out by the Syrian government was widely circulated on social media.

Twitter immediately reacted to the images of Karim after photographer Amer Almohibany captured and shared them on social media. The 3-month-old child suffered major wounds after shelling struck his home in Damascus earlier this month.

"I was very touched by this sad story,” Almohibany told BuzzFeed News. “Even after I left Karim [he] did not leave my memory.”

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The photographer tweeted out another photo depicting his own young child holding one hand over his eye in a gesture of solidarity that would also go viral. His intention was to bring attention to the countless innocent children that are affected by the violence of the Syrian Civil War, which has raged since 2011.

For the last four years, the Syrian government has targeted the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, blocking aid and medical supplies as a punitive measure. Bombing of the area, where an estimated 400,000 Syrian civilians live, is a regular occurrence.

Before long, the hashtags #StandWithKarim and #SolidarityWithKarim spread across the internet like wildfire. Syrians posted pictures of themselves and their children holding one hand over their eye to demonstrate their support of Karim.

Activists, parents, and even politicians took part in the campaign, including UK Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Roycroft.

In a speech on the Syrian conflict, Roycroft said that the Syrian government’s siege of the Damascus neighborhood where the child lived was resulting in immense suffering.

“The people of Eastern Ghouta have suffered enough,” he said. “We must stand in solidarity with Karim.”

Global Citizen campaigns on the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Achieving good health and well being, and fighting for peace, justice, and strong institutions are goals 3 and 16 respectively. You can take action on these issues here.

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In the same speech at the UN, Roycroft urged Russia to pressure the Syrian government to allow food and medical supplies into Eastern Ghouta. Currently, the Syrian government not only blocks the flow of these materials, but also prevents the movement of injured civilians into areas where they might receive treatment. Roycroft said these actions were unacceptable.

“The siege must end,” he said. “It really is a matter of life and death.”