Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Shocking Photo of Aleppo Boy Goes Viral

Image of Aleppo boy stirs talk of cease-fire

BY PHILIP ISSA The Associated Press
Friday, August 19, 2016

A screenshot from a handout video made available Thursday by Syrian activist group Aleppo Media Center shows a 5-year-old boy with a bloodied face sitting in an ambulance after a house was destroyed in an airstrike Wednesday night in Aleppo, Syria.

The Russian military said Thursday it was ready to back a U.N. call for weekly cease-fires for Syria’s contested city of Aleppo, as haunting footage of a young boy’s rescue from the aftermath of an airstrike shook global media.
The image of the stunned and weary-looking boy, sitting in an ambulance caked with dust and with blood on his face, captured the horror that has beset the war-torn northern city as photographs of the child were widely shared on social media.
An hour after his rescue, the badly damaged building the boy was in collapsed.
A doctor in Aleppo identified the child as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. He was brought to the hospital, known as “M10,” on Wednesday night, following an airstrike by Russian or government warplanes on the rebel-held neighborhood of Qaterji, said Dr. Osama Abu al-Ezz. The boy suffered head wounds but no brain injury and was later discharged.
“We were passing them from one balcony to the other,” said photojournalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the dramatic photo. He said he had passed along three lifeless bodies when someone handed him the wounded boy. Raslan gave the child to a rescue worker, who rushed him to the ambulance.
Eight people died in the strike, including five children, according to a doctor who gave only his first name, Abo Mohammadian.
The fighting has frustrated the U.N.’s efforts to fulfill 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 United States – tasked with deescalating the violence so that relief can reach beleaguered civilians.
The U.N. envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said there was “no sense” in holding the meeting in light of the obstacles to delivering aid. The U.N. is hoping to secure a weekly 48-hour pause to the fighting in Aleppo.
Later Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russia would back the initiative on condition the aid convoys travel to both rebel-controlled and government-held parts of the city. He said Russia was ready to support deliveries starting next week.
A nurse who treated Omran said “he was in a daze.”
“It was as if he was asleep. Not unconscious, but traumatized – lost,” said Mahmoud Abu Rajab.
Medical workers feared internal injuries, but an X-ray and an ultrasound revealed his wounds were superficial. Abu Rajab stitched up the child and wrapped his forehead and left eye in a bandage.
Omran’s three siblings, ages 1, 6, and 11, and his mother and father were also rescued from the building. None sustained major injuries.
“We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance, but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued,” said Raslan, adding that the woman’s ankle was pinned beneath the rubble.
In the video posted late Wednesday by the Aleppo Media Center, 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.
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.
Such scenes 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 monitoring group.
“It’s taxing, emotionally,” said Abu Rajad. 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,” Abu al-Ezz said.

The Story Continues in the Sunday, August 21, 2016 Newpaper:

Brother of Aleppo boy in photo dies


The rescue of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, pulled from the rubble of his bombed-out Aleppo, Syria, home Wednesday, dominated media coverage of the wartorn country.

Less widely shared was the story’s devastating postscript. On Saturday, activists said, Omran’s 10-year-old brother, Ali, died from wounds sustained in the same air-strike, launched by forces allied to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“Omran became the ‘global symbol of Aleppo’s suffering’ but to most people he is just that – a symbol,” wrote Kenan Rahmani, a Syrian activist based in Washington. “Ali is the reality: that no story in Syria has a happy ending.”

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