Images of a Syrian boy covered in ash and blood are shedding new light on the country’s ongoing civil war.
The nonprofit Syrian American Medical Society told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the boy, whom they identified as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, was injured in an airstrike that hit Aleppo, northern Syria, on Wednesday.
In a video that activist group the Aleppo Media Center posted to YouTube, a young man carries the child from the night-shrouded rubble and places him in a chair inside a brightly lit ambulance. The boy looks confused, scared, and restless in the aftermath of his rescue. His silence is a chilling contrast to the cacophony of voices coming from outside.
Doctors told The Daily Telegraph that Omran was released from a local hospital later that night.
You can watch the scene play out in the video below, but be warned: it’s graphic.
Syria’s civil war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians, including many children.
Aleppo in particular has been hit badly in the five years since the conflict began and life has only gotten worse for the thousands of people left in the area. In recent weeks, rights groups and locals have accused Russian-backed pro-government forces of targeting hospitals, violating a ceasefire meant for humanitarian aid delivery, and attacking the city with chlorine gas.
At least 25 medical centers in the opposition area of Aleppo have been destroyed in strikes this year alone, according to the United Nations’ Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic.
“Access to medical care in these areas is largely non-existent,” the commission said.
Some of the city’s few remaining doctors penned an urgent plea to U.S. President Barack Obama, urging the international community to take action before the remaining survivors are killed in strikes or starved to death.
“We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers,” they said. “We need your action.”
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