A nurse checks on prematurely born baby Ali Qassoum at a hospital in Sidon, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Opening his eyes, Ali wiggles his tiny legs as an artificial respiration device grinds away next to him.At 900 grams, the 9-day-old Syrian boy is clinging on, refusing to give up even after his twin sister, Maysaa, died just four days after being born. Barhoum, who fled Syria's Idlib province three years ago to escape fighting there, had to undergo a caesarian section Aug. 20, just seven months into her pregnancy, after she fell ill. Born two months premature, both Ali and Mayssa were immediately put on incubators at Sidon's Al-Rai Hospital. So the parents were shocked when the hospital's administration told them UNHCR had refused to cover Ali's treatment.In the meantime, Al-Rai hospital agreed to keep taking care of Ali, but as the weeks dragged on, the dilemma intensified.UNHCR's one-off decision to cover 75 percent of Ali's hospitalization fees is a huge relief to both his parents and the hospital staff that have become so intimately involved in his case, yet questions over the refugee agency's general policy remain.
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