This week Syrian crisis got a new poster-boy — the five-year-old Omran Daqneesh who was photographed sitting in an ambulance following an airstrike by Russian or government warplanes on the rebel-held Qaterji.
The image of the stunned and weary-looking boy sitting in the ambulance caked with dust, with blood on his face captured the horror that has behest the war-torn northern city.
Unlike a lot of Syrians who have fled to the surrounding countries, the survivors in Aleppo cannot afford to escape.
Scenes like the airstrike that wounded Omran are commonplace in Aleppo, where 233 civilians were killed in indiscriminate exchanges of fire between rebels and government forces in the first two weeks of August alone, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The powerful imagery reverberated across social media, drawing to mind the anguished global response to the photos of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body was found on a beach in Turkey and came to represent the horrific toll of Syria's civil war.
The heartbreaking image of the three-year-old Aylan washed ashore in Turkey, after he drowned during the dangerous boat journey to Greece depicts another reality for Syrians - escape is not an option.
According to a report by activist group I am Syria, approximately 50,000 children have been killed since March 2011. Unicef has found that 8.4 million young Syrians are affected in some way by the conflict. Some are hurt by the violence in the country and some are hurt in their efforts to flee.
Social media is flooded with images trying to explain the world's apathy with the Syrian situation. Images where Omran is sitting with Russian president Vladimir Putin and US president Barack Obama are also doing the rounds.
After the haunting image of the rescued Omran's was circulated on social media, Russian miliraty said that it was ready to back a UN call for weekly cease-fires for Aleppo.
The fighting has frustrated the UN's efforts to fulfil its humanitarian mandate, and the world body's special envoy to Syria cut short a meeting Thursday of the ad hoc committee — chaired by Russia and the US — tasked with deescalating the violence so that relief can reach beleaguered civilians.
Doctors in Aleppo use code names for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government airstrikes. "We are afraid security forces will infiltrate our medical network and target ambulances as they transfer patients from one hospital to another," said a doctor.
Omran's image, sitting in an ambulance caked with dust and with blood on his face, encapsulated the horrors of war, and remains to be one of the most powerful images of our time.
An hour after his rescue, the badly damaged building the Omran was in completely collapsed.
A nurse who treated Omran said, "He was in a daze."
Rescue workers and journalists arrived shortly after the strike and described pulling victims from the rubble. In the video posted late Wednesday by the Aleppo Media Centre, a man was seen carrying Omran away from the chaotic nighttime scene and into an ambulance. Looking dazed, the boy ran his hands over his blood-covered face, then wiped them on the orange ambulance chair.
Omran's three siblings, aged one, six and 11, and his mother and father were also rescued from the building.
None sustained major injuries.
Aylan's image washed up on the beach in one of Turkey’s prime tourist resorts, had swept across social media. At least 12 presumed Syrian refugees died trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.
The picture shows the little boy wearing a bright red t-shirt and shorts lying face-down in the surf on a beach near the resort town of Bodrum. In a second image, a grim-faced policeman carries the tiny body away. The hashtag “KiyiyaVuranInsanlik” – “humanity washed ashore” – had became the top trending topic on Twitter after the picture was retweeted heavily.
The father of a three-year-old had said that his children "slipped through my hands" as their boat was taking in water on its way to Greece.
With inputs from agencies
First Published On : Aug 19, 2016 13:04 IST