Syria conflict: Image of injured boy in Aleppo draws outrage

Syrian activists have released striking pictures of a young boy rescued from a destroyed building after an air strike in the divided second city of Aleppo.

Video and photos of the boy sitting dazed and bloodied in an ambulance were shared widely on social media, with many expressing shock and outrage.

He was identified as Omran Daqneesh, 5, who a local doctor said was treated for head wounds on Wednesday night.

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

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

On Thursday morning, UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura asked for a “gesture of humanity from both sides” and urged them to agree to a 48-hour pause in the hostilities in Aleppo to allow aid deliveries to the two million people trapped there.

He had earlier abandoned a meeting of the UN’s humanitarian task force for Syria after only eight minutes, because not a single aid convoy had been allowed to reach besieged areas since the start of the month.

The pro-opposition Aleppo Media Centre said the pictures of Omran were taken in the rebel-held Qaterji district of Aleppo late on Wednesday, reportedly following Russian air strikes that killed at least three people dead 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.

Chart showing causes of death for Syrian children between March 2011 and February 2016

The medic then leaves the vehicle and Omran is 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.

He is later joined by two other young children and a man injured in the air strike.

“We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” Al Jazeera Mubashir journalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the photo, told the Associated Press, adding that he had been handed three lifeless bodies before receiving the injured boy.


Diplomacy sidelined – Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva

Staffan de Mistura is, even in the face of the enormous diplomatic challenge of bringing peace to Syria, normally a genial man. Not on Thursday.

He was visibly angry as he described how he had suspended the humanitarian task force after just eight minutes. There was no sense in meeting, he said, when no aid had been delivered to any besieged areas since the beginning of August. This is despite weeks of pleas from senior aid officials.

The move by Mr de Mistura may be seen as measure of last resort. Since no negotiations are taking place, the UN may be hoping to shame the warring parties – and their backers like the United States and Russia – into, at the very least, a pause in fighting to allow aid in. But as the battle for Aleppo rages, the UN’s diplomacy in Syria looks increasingly sidelined.


Omran was pulled from the remains of a destroyed block of flats along with his parents and three siblings, aged one, six and 11, according to Raslan. None sustained major injuries.

“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.

Media captionQuentin Sommerville reports: “Samia’s grandfather was with her during the attack. He says the world has turned its back on Syria”

A doctor in Aleppo, Osama Abu al-Ezz, told AP that Omran was brought to a hospital known as M10 following the attack on Qaterji with head wounds and was later discharged.

“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.

Turkey-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.”

Doctored image showing injured Syrian boy sitting at empty seat of Syria at Arab League meeting (17 August 2016)Image copyrightTWITTER / @ABOYOSHA3HOMS
Image captionAn activist superimposed the photo of Omran on another of Syria’s empty seat at a meeting of the Arab League

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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