Dhaka, August 18, 2016: A photograph of a boy sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance after surviving a regime airstrike in Aleppo has highlighted the desperation of the Syrian civil war and the struggle for control of the city. the guardian
The child has been identified as five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was injured late on Wednesday in a military strike on the rebel-held Qaterji neighbourhood.
The image is a still from a video filmed and circulated by the Aleppo Media Centre. The anti-government activist group has been contacted to confirm details about when and where the footage was shot. The group posted the clip to YouTube late on Wednesday, shortly after Omran was injured.
The fight for control of Aleppo has intensified in recent weeks following gains made by rebel groups battling the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
The fighting has frustrated the UN’s efforts to fulfil its humanitarian mandate, and the world body’s special envoy to Syria on Thursday cut short a meeting of the ad hoc committee chaired by Russia and the United States tasked with deescalating the violence so that relief can reach beleaguered civilians.
The UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said there was “no sense” in holding the meeting in light of the obstacles to delivering aid. The UN is hoping to secure a 48-hour pause in the fighting in Aleppo.
Rescue workers and journalists arrived in Qaterji shortly after the strike and began pulling victims from the rubble. “We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” said Mahmoud Raslan, a photojournalist who captured the footage. He told the Associated Press he had passed along three lifeless bodies before receiving the wounded boy.
Omran was rescued with his three siblings, aged one, six, and 11, and his mother and father, according to Raslan. None sustained major injuries, but their apartment building collapsed shortly after the family was rescued.
“We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance, but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued. Her ankle was pinned beneath the rubble,” Raslan said.
A doctor at M10 said eight people had died in the airstrike, including five children. Doctors in Aleppo use codenames for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government airstrikes.
The image has been shared thousands of times by people on social media, including by David Miliband, the former UK foreign secretary and now president of the International Rescue Committee. The initial tweet by the Telegraph reporter Raf Sanchez has been retweeted more than 12,000 times.
David Baines, a campaigner for Labour in the UK, remarked on the “horror” in Aleppo. “That little boy in the back of the ambulance, alone and dazed. Bloody awful. What can we do??” he asked.
Lydia Shelly, an Australian lawyer and community advocate, tweeted: “We need a political & social resolution to conflict in Syria & Iraq. We are losing a whole generation of children.”
Last week an alliance of Syrian rebels and Islamist groups broke the longstanding government siege on the eastern half of the city. Since then, the frequency and intensity of airstrikes has reportedly increased, despite an announcement from Russia that action over Aleppo would be suspended for three hours a day.
The horror generated by the image of Omran echoes the anguished global response to pictures of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body was found on a beach in Turkey. Those pictures came to encapsulate the horrific toll of Syria’s civil war.