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Aleppo: Image of Five-Year-Old Syrian Boy Omran Shocks the World

For months, it’s easy to get distracted—consumed—by news about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But once in a while a striking, brutal image reminds all of the world outside of the U.S. presidential race and beyond the country’s border.

The Guardian reports that 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh was injured during a military airstrike on the rebel-held neighborhood of Qaterji in Aleppo, Syria. He was taken to a hospital—codenamed M10 to avoid targeting—and later discharged. Violence in the nation’s most populated city has reportedly escalated in the past few weeks as opposition forces have made gains against the Assad regime.

The Aleppo Media Center, which supports the Syrian opposition, released a video of Omran’s rescue. The footage shows the little boy being pulled from rubble and loaded into an ambulance. He sits silently on an orange chair, and we see he’s covered with soot and blood. He looks dazed, bewildered, terrified. He rubs his face and then looks at his hand, realizing he’s been injured.

Omran was rescued along with three siblings and their parents. None suffered serious injuries, but their apartment building collapsed shortly after they were rescued. In total, eight people died in the airstrike, including children. Shortly after the attack, rescue workers and journalists arrived. Photojournalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the photo of Omran, said he had to pass along three dead bodies before getting to the child.

“We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” he told the Associated Press. “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.” He captured Omran along with his sister being treated in the ambulance.

The image of Omran has eerie echoes of another viral photo from the crisis. Last year, an image of Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed ashore in Turkey, gave a face to the horrors of the Syrian conflict and the resulting refugee crisis.

According to CNN, more than 300 people have been killed in Aleppo in the last two weeks. One out of three victims have been women and children.

Fewer than one out of three hospitals are functioning in the eastern area of the city, which is currently held by rebel forces. On Thursday morning, UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura asked for a “gesture of humanity from both sides” in the form of a 48-hour ceasefire in Aleppo so aid workers could help the two million people still in the city, according to the BBC.


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Copyright 2015 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant sources.

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