Syrian girl born without legs walks on new prosthetics

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Syrian Maya Merhi holds her prosthetic legs inside a tent at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria next to Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Syrian Maya Merhi poses for a picture in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria next to Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Syrian Maya Merhi poses for a picture next to her prosthetic legs that are decorated with the Turkish flag inside a tent at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria, next to Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Syrian Maya Merhi removes her artificial legs inside a tent at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria next to Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Maya Merhi stands with the support of crutches next to her disabled father (C) outside their tent in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria next to Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
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Maya Merhi (C) plays with her friends in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp of Serjilla in northwestern Syria next to Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, on December 9, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 December 2018

Syrian girl born without legs walks on new prosthetics

SERJILLA, Syria: Eight-year-old Maya Merhi had to struggle around a Syrian displaced persons camp on artificial limbs made of plastic tubing and tin cans.
But now the girl, who was born with no legs due to a congenital condition, is walking on new prosthetics after undergoing treatment in Turkey.
Pictures of her plight, including those taken by AFP in Syria, were seen around the world in June, and she was taken to Istanbul for the life-changing procedure.
Dressed in a pink sweater and matching shoes, Maya on Saturday was able for the first time to walk along the rutted roads of the Serjilla camp after arriving back.
Finally she joined in the games and dancing with the other children.
“I was so happy when I saw her walking,” says her father Mohammed, sitting in their makeshift tent.
“The whole family and all our loved ones were so happy.”
Mohammed suffers the same condition as his daughter, known as congenital amputation which means the person is born without lower limbs.
He cobbled together the homemade prosthetics on which she used to shuffle around the camp.

Originally from Aleppo region, the father and daughter had to move to rebel-held Idlib province as fighting from Syria’s civil war began to rage around their home.
After the pictures of Maya’s difficulties sparked attention across the globe, the Turkish Red Crescent intervened.
The father and daughter were evacuated from Syria by the Turkish authorities and brought to Istanbul for treatment at a specialized clinic.
Mohammed received prosthetic limbs as well, but admits that he isn’t yet as steady on them as his daughter.
Sitting on a foam mattress, his daughter unwraps the artificial legs and attaches them.
“To begin with there were difficulties getting used to them,” says her uncle Hussein, who accompanied his brother and niece to Turkey.
“All of a sudden she found herself up high on the new prosthetics.”


US reaches ceasefire deal with Turkey in northern Syria

Updated 16 min 54 sec ago

US reaches ceasefire deal with Turkey in northern Syria

ANKARA: Turkey has agreed to completely end military operations in northern Syria after Kurdish fighters withdraw from a safe zone, US Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday.
Turkey's operation "will be halted entirely on completion" of the pullout, Pence told reporters after talks in Ankara.
"Great news out of Turkey," Donald Trump tweeted, shortly before Pence announced in Ankara that Turkey had agreed to end its military operation once Kurdish fighters withdraw from a safe zone.
"Millions of lives will be saved!" Trump wrote.


Trump's chief of staff had earlier said the president may revoke a White House invitation extended to Erdogan, depending on the outcome of the talks in Ankara.
"It's still on the schedule," Mike Mulvaney told reporters, "but I think that's one of those wait and see things."
"The president's been very clear about what he wants to see out of President Erdogan," he added.