Unknown No. 14: Syrian hospital trying to ID dead children

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<p>The lifeless faces of 20 children stare out from the wall of a Syrian hospital where workers are still struggling to identify the youngest of the dead six days after a suspected chemical weapons attack killed hundreds.</p> <p>The hospital in Arbin, in east Damascus, took in 600 patients after last week's poisoning and officials there said 110 of them died. Thirty-five, more than half of them children, had not been claimed.</p> <p>"We still have those 20 children," Abu Akram, a hospital worker, said of the photos on the wall.</p> <p>He pointed to one girl and said, "One of her relatives came today and tried to identify her by the necklace she was wearing."</p> <p>Then he came to another, perhaps the tiniest of the group.</p> <p>"We still have this infant. Her age may be about one month old, and we put her as Unknown No. 14," Akram told independent filmmaker Humam Husari, who provided the footage to NBC News.</p> <p>The little girl had died in the arms of volunteer paramedic Abu Ahmed, who described how he tried in vain to save her life.</p> <p>"She was the youngest martyr," he said, "and the rest of them between 14 and less."</p> <p>Other footage provided to NBC News showed Ahmed cradling the newborn after the attack, a bib still around her neck and her lower body swaddled in a blanket with the word: Baby.</p> <p>He placed her on the ground, where the motionless forms of several other children could be seen under sheets.</p> <p>"The children were laying here," he said, pointing to a now-empty room days later. "I counted them. There were 34 children."</p> <p>The children came in blue, witnesses said. The paramedics doused them with water in a futile attempt to revive them, Ahmed said.</p> <p>"She was an innocent girl," he said of one young victim. "She sniffed and died. We sprayed water on her [but] we couldn't do anything."</p> <p>He said he didn't know anything about her parents or whether they survived the attack that has the U.S. <a href="" target="_blank">weighing missile strikes</a> against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.</p> <p>"We wished that we all are her family," he said. "This innocent child that went to sleep and never woke up."</p> <p>"May God have mercy on us," he said.</p> <p>Wednesday's attack in the suburbs of Damascus may be the worst chemical weapons assault since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein fatally gassed thousands of Kurds in 1988.</p> <p>Doctors Without Borders said three of its affiliated hospitals treated roughly 3,600 patients with neurotoxic symptoms in a three-hour period, and 355 of them died.</p> <p>A U.N. team investigating the attack had to delay a planned outing on Tuesday to improve their security after being fired on Monday by unidentified snipers. The State Department said it was already "crystal clear" that Assad was responsible.</p> <p>Ahmed said the killing of women and children was an act of cowardice.</p> <p>"What is she to him?" he said of one dead girl. "She will bring him down? He should fight with those who want to bring him down ... Let him go to the battlefield."</p> <p> <em>NBC News' Geraint Vincent reported from Tel Aviv. Tracy Connor reported from New York.</em> </p> <p> <strong>Related:</strong> </p> <ul> <li> <b> <a target="_blank" href="">Military strikes on Syria 'as soon as Thursday,' US officials say</a> </b> </li> <li> <a target="_blank" href=""> <strong>How a US strike on Syria would reverberate around the world</strong> </a> </li> <li> <a target="_blank" href=""> <strong>McCain: Syria strikes must have 'lasting impact'</strong> </a> </li> </ul>