More heartbreaking news from Syria: conjoined twins born a month ago in a beseiged hospital in rebel-held territory have died. The baby boys succumbed to heart failure on Wednesday before they could be moved abroad for life-saving treatment, the Wall Street Journal reports. Joined at the abdomen, with their hearts sharing the same sac, Moaz and Nawras al-Hishoysh weighed less than 12 pounds when they were born on July 23 in the Ghouta region outside Damascus. After repeated appeals and a social media campaign hashtagged #EvacuateTheTwins, the government allowed them to be moved to the capital on Aug. 12. But Damascus also lacks the medical facilities the babies needed, and with time running out, relief officials scrambled to get the boys out of Syria.
The Syrian American Medical Society accuses the government of failing to grant the twins permission to leave the country in time because of political reasons, reports the BBC. The charity says it obtained commitments from hospitals in the US and Saudi Arabia (both oppose President Bashar al-Assad) to treat the babies, but the government stalled in granting them passports, the baby’s father, Muneer al-Hishoysh, tells the Journal. But a spokeswoman for the government-sanctioned Syrian Arab Red Crescent denies that Syrian officials were uncooperative and says her agency had gotten the thumbs up to transfer the babies to an Italian hospital on Monday. But by that time, she said, the twins were too sick to travel. (Last week, the fate of two young Syrian brothers made headlines.)