A crying mother cradles and moves her dead baby to the floor, yelling out, "My child, my child." Outside, another woman shakes and gestures in a fit of absolute grief as she piercingly screams, "Pray to God and his prophet sister."
Both women had brought their children to a clinic in a rebel-held part of northwestern Syria, hoping to help save their lives. Instead, at least 15 children -- all under the age of 2 -- died after receiving measles vaccinations through a U.N.-sponsored program. As many as 50 other children got sick after what a U.N. report described as a "bungled immunization."
Syria's foreign ministry blames "this catastrophe (on) leaders of the armed terrorist organizations" -- a term President Bashar al-Assad's government uses for rebel groups -- "and their supporters ... the Turkish authorities," according to a report from the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA).
In a joint statement, the World Health Organization and UNICEF said Wednesday that the groups' vaccination program in Idlib and Deir Ezzor provinces has been halted as a team of experts try to get to the bottom of the situation. A spokesman for the WHO, the public health arm of the United Nations, said a preliminary investigation suggests the deaths can be attributed not to a criminal act but simple human error.