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Omran Daqneesh: Haunting image of Syrian boy 'brings home the horror of life in Syria for many children'

Published 18/08/2016

Syrian opposition activists have released haunting footage showing five-year-old boy Omran Daqneesh rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating air strike in Aleppo.

The image of the stunned and weary looking Omran, sitting in an orange chair inside an ambulance covered in dust and with blood on his face, encapsulates the horrors inflicted on the conflict-hit northern city and is being widely shared on social media.

Dr Osama Abu al-Ezz confirmed he was brought to the hospital known as "M10" on Wednesday night following an air strike on the rebel-held district of Qaterji with head wounds, but no brain injury, and was later discharged.

Doctors in Aleppo use code names for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government air strikes.

Dr Abu al-Ezz said they do that "because we are afraid security forces will infiltrate their medical network and target ambulances as they transfer patients from one hospital to another".

In the video posted by the Aleppo Media Center, a man is seen plucking the boy away from a chaotic night time scene and carrying him inside the ambulance, looking dazed and flat-eyed.

The boy then runs his hand over his blood-covered face, looks at his hands and wipes them on the ambulance chair.

Opposition activists said there were eight casualties overall from the air strike on Qaterji, among them five children.

The image of Omran in the orange chair is reminiscent of the image of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body was found on a beach in Turkey and came to encapsulate the horrific toll of Syria's civil war.

Save the Children partners there say they are no longer able to treat patients in their ambulances because they are in such a bad state, with most missing doors and windows. Two of their eight ambulances were hit in airstrikes last week.

Kirsty McNeill, Director of Advocacy, Policy and Campaigns at Save the Children, said: "The photo of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, quietly sitting dazed and bloodied in the back of an ambulance in Aleppo, has bought home the horror of life in Syria for many children.

"Yesterday one of our partners sent us a photo of another little boy. They had taken him to hospital following an airstrike, wearing special traditional Aleppo clothes that children wear for celebrations like birthdays. His gold and velvet jacket was ripped open, a bloody bandage on his head.

"They took him to hospital – but he died of his injuries. Our partner said that the boy 'turned from a future dream for his parents into a dead body – they only kissed him a goodbye kiss and that’s it'.


"He was one of dozens of children who are reported to have been killed in Aleppo over the last few weeks. Across Syria, children are being bombed in their homes, schools and playgrounds.  They are also being besieged – we heard today from the UN that no aid has entered areas like Daraya for a month now. The situation is dire.

"We urgently need a 48 hour ceasefire this week as a first step to get injured children out of Aleppo and bring aid in. But that is not enough – we must find a way to bring the siege and bombardment of civilians in Syria to an end. Children have already suffered too much."

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