The Boy in the Ambulance Offers Glimpse of 'Profound Horrors' in Syria

"It didn't stop & it won't stop with Omran if the world doesn't act."
By Deirdre Fulton / commondreams.org
Aug 18, 2016
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The Boy in the Ambulance Offers Glimpse of 'Profound Horrors' in Syria
Omran Daqneesh, 5, was injured in an airstrike in Aleppo on Wednesday. (Photo: Aleppo Media Centre)

Laying bare the horrors of Syria's ongoing civil war, heartbreaking footage of a young boy rescued from the rubble following an airstrike in Aleppo has gone viral. 

Much as last year's photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi—"The Boy on the Beach"—offered a stark reminder of the human toll of the refugee crisis, the images of five-year-old Omran Daqneesh—"The Boy in the Ambulance"—are forcing many to consider the devastating realities of life in war-torn Syria, where more than 250,000 people, including many children, have died in almost five years of war.

The photo and accompanying video, taken and distributed by the activist group Aleppo Media Centre, show Omran being pulled from a partially destroyed building and placed in a chair inside a brightly lit ambulance after an airstrike Wednesday evening. His face and body are covered in ash, dust, and blood. Seemingly dazed, he says nothing.

Watch the video below [warning: graphic content]:

According to news outlets, Omran was taken to a hospital, treated for head wounds, and released. It has been confirmed that though his parents and siblings were also wounded in the attack, they survived. 

The Associated Press reports: "An hour after his rescue, the building the boy was in completely collapsed."

Eight people, including five children, are said to have died in the bombing.

As many observers pointed out on social media, young Omran represents thousands of innocent children. As journalist Raf Sanchez—whose initial tweet containing the disturbing image has been shared more than 15,000 times—wrote at the Telegraph, "Tomorrow there will, no doubt, be more strikes and more children like Omran will be hurt."

Indeed, Sanchez on Thursday posted a video of medics in Aleppo giving CPR to a child on hospital floor. The child later died.

On Thursday, the United Nations suspended its humanitarian task force in Syria amid frustration over intensified fighting that has prevented aid deliveries to besieged areas for at least a month.

"Not one single convoy in one month has reached any of the humanitarian besieged areas—not one single convoy," U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who chairs the task force and suspended Thursday's meeting after just eight minutes, told reporters. "And why? Because of one thing: Fighting."

Earlier this week, the U.N.-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria warned in a statement: "The situation in Aleppo city has been catastrophic for many years. As unthinkable as it is, the current attacks suggest the agony of its civilians is about to deepen."


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