US troops care for baby Fatima, abandoned in garbage

The civil war and violence between separate Muslim factions in Iraq has left so many children orphaned, maimed or just outright killed. 

American troops, while trying to keep the peace in neighborhoods rooting out insurgents and lawbreakers, have often become saviors to the tiniest victims of war.

Baby Fatima Jubouri, not even a year old yet has lost her father, then gunmen killed her mother and uncle, she was hidden amidst rubbish in one of southern Baghdad’s most violent districts until US troops were alerted by her 7-year-old brother, who led Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers to their home, where they discovered her mother and uncle had been shot at close range to the head by insurgents. Fatima lay helpless and dying in the sweltering sun on June 25 in the mostly Sunni Arab district of Saidiya, where many residents are too afraid to venture out.

Reuters speculates that the baby was hidden before her mother was murdered.

The child’s story and survival has made baby Fatima a mini miracle and media star at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“She is a baby — she is happiness in a bad place,” said Lieutenant Beth Brauchli, the hospital’s acting public affairs officer to Reuters.

The staff at the 28th Combat Support Hospital have been scheduling appointments for U.S. and other foreign television crews to visit their baby Fatima in the hope that her story will spark interest in an adoption.

Reuters reports that as in all wars, children are so vulnerable in Iraq’s sectarian violence that has killed tens of thousands of people and made millions homeless.

It is reported that the British charity Oxfam claims at least 28 percent of Iraqi children are malnourished.

Baby Fatima’s fate is worrisome, as the U.S. soldiers will have to return the infant to an orphanage to join her five siblings, according to Reuters.

“Every day we are waiting for the soldiers to come and take her to the orphanage. We are not pushing, because we know what the future could hold for her,” said the ward’s head nurse, Captain Nhan Ngo-Anderson, telling Reuters she had heard that efforts were being made to locate any extended family for these children.

After receiving adoption inquiries, the hospital’s chief doctor made enquiries at the U.S. embassy, staff said. They replied that “Iraqi law does not currently permit full adoptions as they are currently understood in the United States”.

A U.S. embassy official referred media inquiries to Iraq’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.  Brauchli told Reuters that the staff caring for the baby girl were hoping that the media interest in Fatima would “create a loophole in the policy”.

Reuters reports that adoption is forbidden in Muslim countries.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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