6-year-old Palestinian boy is the latest victim of Syrian refugee crisis

(CNN) — A mourning Palestinian family huddled together for warmth under a blanket outside a makeshift refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Sunday, as they watched the body of their 7-year-old son spread out…

6-year-old Palestinian boy is the latest victim of Syrian refugee crisis

(CNN) — A mourning Palestinian family huddled together for warmth under a blanket outside a makeshift refugee camp in southern Lebanon on Sunday, as they watched the body of their 7-year-old son spread out on a blanket.

The body of Mu’ath Shammas was taken home to Palestine on a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance for burial. It had been transported from Lebanon to Gazan refugee camp Beit Hanoun.

The boy was one of the first Syrian child victims to die in the 2017 Mediterranean Sea refugee crisis, Beirut’s Al-Jadeed reported.

Muhannad Shammas, Mu’ath’s father, was also injured. “I heard a loud sound and I run and when I go outside there were people everywhere, shouting and they tell me I shot my son,” he told the Lebanese-based broadcaster. “I don’t know how is it possible that I kill my son.”

At the funeral, Mu’ath’s heartbroken mother, Fatima Shammas, revealed she had warned the boy’s father not to allow him to cross the Gaza-Israel border because the crossing was unsafe.

After crossing the border, Mu’ath was brought to Shammas’ house where he was shot twice. “All I ask is that these people who killed my son … get arrested,” Fatima Shammas said, according to Al-Jadeed.

The Lebanese Red Crescent dispatched an ambulance to Beit Hanoun after the boy’s family reported his death to the Beirut office, which sent an ambulance to Haifa, Israel, where a Hamas bodyguard has died of his wounds.

Israel’s military said a mortar had struck near the border fence on Saturday. There was a relative lull in conflict between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian Hamas militants last week.

The boy’s death is the latest in a string of Syrian refugee deaths on the Mediterranean Sea.

In a separate incident, a mother and daughter died in eastern Turkey on Saturday after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

In September, a Syrian toddler was found dead in a pile of refugees stranded on the Greek island of Kos, hours after their boat was turned away by the Greek coast guard.

Two other Syrian refugee children died off the coast of Turkey in August. A 13-year-old girl was killed on the Turkish island of Kos and a second Syrian child died on the Greek island of Lesbos after their boat capsized.

Hundreds of refugees attempt to cross from Syria into Greece and then to Germany each week, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

More than 4 million Syrian refugees have fled the country since the conflict began in 2011, according to the UN.

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