The video shows a child after he was pulled from rubble in Aleppo, a Syrian city that has been devastated by constant bombardment.
A man carried the boy away from the rubble after a suspected Russian or Syrian regime airstrike in the neighborhood of rebel-held Qaterji.
He placed him in an orange seat, and the boy brushed his eye and face after the man walked away.
Looking dazed, he then wiped the blood and debris on the seat.
After the airstrike, which reportedly shook the northern Syrian city Wednesday night during a call to prayer, the boy was rescued from the rubble that was once his home.
Mahmoud Raslan, a photojournalist who captured the image, told the Associated Press that emergency workers and journalists tried to help the child, identified as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, along with his parents and his three siblings, who are 1, 6 and 11 years old.
“We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” Raslan said, adding: “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.”
Omran was taken to a hospital for a wound on his head.
[Aleppo’s humanitarian crisis worsens while ISIS loses key Syrian city]
Osama Abu al-Ezz, a doctor in Aleppo, told the Associated Press that the boy was brought to a hospital known as “M10.” Medical workers there use code names for hospitals to help protect them from attacks, according to the news agency.
The doctor said the child was treated and later released.
“Omran was scared and dazed at the same time,” Mohammad, a surgeon who treated him, told ABC News. “He wasn’t crying at all. It seemed like he had been asleep when it happened.”
The network only identified the doctor by his first name at his request, citing concerns about safety.
“He was very lucky,” Mohammad told ABC News. “He only had a simple wound in the scalp. We cleaned and stitched the wound and cleaned his face and clothes. There was no brain damage and he was discharged after two hours.”
You have probably seen this image, watched the video or both. A Syrian child covered in dust and blood sits in an orange ambulance chair, gray and alone. His stunned, mute face has now been hailed a “symbol” of his country’s devastation and suffering. His huddled frame was photoshopped into pictures with world leaders, the latest emblem of the international community’s failure to bring to an end one of the ghastliest civil wars in modern history.
The good news is that Omran Daqneesh, the young boy pulled out from the rubble of an airstrike in the Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo, is alive. So too, according to reports, are his parents and siblings.
The bad news is that the conflict that has hollowed out his home town, once Syria’s most populous urban center, shows little sign of flagging. And that, beyond Omran’s heart-rending rescue, there are already too many stories of children who never could sit in that ambulance chair, looking back at the world’s cameras
We’ve been here before, of course. Last year, the image of the drowned toddler Alan Kurdi, his lifeless body resting on a Turkish beach, seemed to wake up the outside world to the misery and horror of the Syrian refugee crisis. But despite an outpouring of global woe and lamentation, little changed.
In the months since Kurdi drowned, fears over integration and terrorism saw Europe grow more hostile to Syrian refugees seeking sanctuary in the West. Kurdi’s father chose to return to his ruined home city of Kobani, along the Turkish border, in a move that epitomized the tragedy and futility of the moment.
“I’ve seen so many children rescued out of the rubble, but this child, with his innocence, he had no clue what was going on,” Mustafa al-Sarout, who filmed the video that went viral, told the Guardian. “He put his hand on his face and saw blood. He didn’t know even what happened to him.”
Sarout went on: “These are children bombed every day. It’s not an exceptional case. This is a daily fact of Russian and Syrian government airstrikes. They take turns bombing civilians in Aleppo before the whole world. This child is a representative of millions of children in Syria and its cities.”
The Syrian regime, backed by Russian air power, has been relentlessly bombarding rebel-held areas of Aleppo. The city and its environs are contested by a constellation of rebel factions, regime forces, Kurdish militias and the Islamic State. Tens of thousands of children have perished in Syria’s civil war, including others on the same day little Omran was rescued. The conflict has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people since it flared in 2011.
“Pieces of children’s bodies being pulled from rubble are photographed with appalling regularity in a war of indiscriminate attacks, most often from government airstrikes and shelling but also from rebel mortars,” writes Anne Barnard in the New York Times.
Those images of dead kids are less shared, out of propriety and squeamishness. But it’s a reality that shouldn’t be ignored. Nor too the other real excesses and brutality of the government in Damascus that purports to represent all Syrians.
On Thursday, Amnesty International released a new report looking at the abuses carried out in the Assad regime’s prisons, based on the testimony of dozens of “torture survivors.” The rights group estimates that 17,723 people died in Syrian regime custody since March 2011, when the uprising against the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began.
To be sure, as a February U.N. human rights report documented, both loyalist and antigovernment forces committed possible war crimes.