ALEPPO, Syria -- Lamar and Henadi should be in class, not lying in the Razi Hospital morgue.
Out in the parking lot Lamar’s grandfather is in shock, calling for God to punish her killers.
But this is war.
The world will never know which rebel fighter shot the mortar that ripped into eight-year old Zeina’s body. Surgeons did their best, but Zeina died of devastating shrapnel wounds.
So did five-year-old Ismael, who never made it out of intensive care.
Samir Hellaq, deputy director of education in Aleppo, was overcome by the senselessness of it all.
“These kids committed no crime,” he said. “They were unarmed. They just wanted to learn.”
The mortar landed in an ordinary Aleppo residential neighborhood. It hit at 7:45 in the morning, and the children who died were just walking to school.
Nearby, the men of the Telal neighborhood are clearing up after a rocket smashed into the street and killed another five-year-old boy.
It has been an especially violent 48 hours in Aleppo, with bombs and artillery thundering down on the rebel-occupied east-side of the city and return fire crashing into the west.
Samer Samani’s shop was destroyed in the lethal tit for tat.
He said that once the bombings start across the city, he knows it will start on his side soon enough.
“They hit back and they hit back on us, on civilians,” Samani said.
Civilians on both sides of the war who were never asked if they wanted to live on the battlefield.
for more features.