19 Aug 2016

Picture of bloodied Syrian boy causes global outrage

7:40 am on 19 August 2016

A photograph of a dazed and bloodied Syrian boy rescued from a destroyed building in Aleppo after an air strike has caused outrage around the world.

Images of the boy sitting in an ambulance were released by activists and have since been shared widely on social media.

He was identified as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was treated for head wounds on Wednesday, doctors said.

His parents and three siblings are believed to have survived the attack.

The pro-opposition Aleppo Media Centre (AMC) said the pictures of Omran had been taken in the rebel-held Qaterji district late on Wednesday, reportedly following Russian air strikes that killed at least three people and injured 12 others.

The video shows the boy being carried out of a damaged building by a medic and then placed on a seat in the back of an ambulance, covered in dust and with a blood-covered face.

Omran is then left sitting quietly, appearing stunned by the ordeal. He runs his hand over his face and looks at the blood before wiping it on the seat.

Omran's picture has already led to comparisons with another disturbing image, that of three-year-old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi whose body was washed up on a Turkish beach after his family attempted to cross to Greece.

Fighting between government and rebel forces has escalated in recent weeks in Aleppo, once Syria's commercial and industrial hub, leaving hundreds dead.

Russia said it was ready to stop military operations in the city for a 48-hour period as early as next week after UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura pleaded for a "gesture of humanity" to allow aid deliveries to the two million people trapped there.

No aid has been delivered to besieged areas since the beginning of the month.

'The horror of Aleppo'

Omran was pulled from the remains of a destroyed block of flats along with his parents and three siblings, aged one, six and 11, Al Jazeera Mubashir journalist Mahmoud Raslan told AP news agency.

"We were passing them from one balcony to the other," Mr Raslan - who took the photo - said, adding that he had been handed three lifeless bodies before receiving the injured boy.

Doctors said Omran was treated for head injuries and later discharged and none of his family sustained major injuries.

The shell-shocked boy's image has prompted an outpouring of anger at the continuing fighting.

"The stunned, bloodied face of a child survivor sums up the horror of Aleppo," tweeted Adib Shishakly, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council.

Turkish-based commentator Omar Madaniah wrote: "A boy has come out from underneath the rubble in Aleppo after Russian airplanes targeted him. This is the terrorist that all states are uniting against."

Saudi media figure Jamal Khashoggi tweeted: "It is as if he is sitting at the Arab summit or the Security Council chiding those who are silent with his own silence and looks."

More than 250,000 people have died in almost five years of war in Syria, with a further 11 million people displaced by the conflict, according to the UN.


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