TeleSur | – –
The image is haunting:
A boy sits silent and stone-still in an ambulance, hands resting in his lap, his feet dangling from the chair as though suspended in mid-air, staring straight ahead, dust and dried blood covering his face like a mask. With a shock of thick, brown hair dissecting his face and bearing down into his eyes, he looks at once oddly calm and bewildered, sober yet dazed, afraid and resolute, boyish and ancient, like something dug up.
He is 5.
The boy was pulled from the rubble following airstrikes that bombarded the Syrian city of Aleppo Wednesday, the photograph of him, taken minutes later, went viral, spreading across the Internet and social media like wildfire, as an uncomfortable reminder, perhaps, of war’s unimaginable toll, on body and soul.
Doctors at the Aleppo Media Center identified the boy as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, He was pulled from the rubble in the aftermath of the airstrike, along with his siblings aged 1, 6, and 11, and his parents.
None of them sustained major injuries, but their building collapsed entirely soon after the family was rescued.
Rescue workers and journalists arrived in the rebel-held neighborhood of Qaterji soon after the strike and began pulling victims out from from the carnage.
"We were passing them from one balcony to the other," said photojournalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the iconic photo, as reported by AP. He recounts passing along three lifeless bodies before receiving Daqneesh.
A doctor at the hospital known as “M10,” where victims were treated, later reported eight dead, among which five were children.
In the video that was posted late Wednesday by the Aleppo Media Center, a man is seen plucking the wounded boy away from the scene, and carrying him inside the ambulance. The boy is seen running his hand over his blood-covered face, which he looks at before silently wiping it on the ambulance chair.
The image is also reminiscent of the anguished global response to the pictures of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a beach in Turkey, both coming to encapsulate the horrific costs of Syria’s 5-year civil war.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 233 civilians have been killed in Aleppo in just the past two weeks alone.
Additionally, the United Nations envoy to Syria, Stefan de Mistura, has halted his humanitarian task force as the fighting continues. Mistura said no aid has reached the city in a month, and has urged international powers to come to an agreement for the 48-hour ceasefire.