The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The stunned, bloodied face of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh sums up the horror of Aleppo

Video shows boy rescued from rubble in Syria (Video: Aleppo Media Center)
Placeholder while article actions load

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."

The video footage, as well as the image from the aftermath of the bombing, circulated on social media — a powerful reminder of the ongoing crisis in the Syrian city.

"Watch this video from Aleppo tonight," ABC correspondent Sophie McNeill tweeted. "And watch it again."

The photo has gone viral, too.

"This picture of a wounded Syrian boy captures just a fragment of the horrors of Aleppo," read a Telegraph headline about the picture.

The International Business Times said: "Heartbreaking video of little boy dragged from Aleppo rubble shows Syrian children's suffering."

The haunting image was also shared by David Miliband, former British foreign secretary and now president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee.

At least 400,000 people have died and millions have been displaced as the Syrian conflict has stretched on for years.

And Aleppo has long been a key battleground between the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and rebels.

An airstrike in Syria killed entire families instead of ISIS fighters

Recently, the Syrian city has garnered international attention as the humanitarian crisis has worsened. The flow of water, which serves millions of residents, was cut off earlier this month.

Here's more on the crisis in Aleppo, via The Washington Post's Louisa Loveluck and Hugh Naylor:

The western districts held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have not experienced the severe deprivations of areas in the east controlled by rebel forces. But after an array of rebels and extremists linked to al-Qaeda broke the brutal government siege of opposition neighborhoods last week, the rebels escalated the assault to besiege the government side. That has disrupted supplies of food and medicine to an area where more than a million people live, potentially testing loyalties of residents to the embattled Syrian leader.
In response, rebels and opposition activists say, Assad’s forces have responded with intensified bombings that have struck hospitals and involved munitions containing chlorine gas, a choking agent. Compounding the misery, U.N. officials said Tuesday that fighting had disabled Aleppo’s main power plant, which had pumped water to 2 million people on both sides of the city.
“Prices are getting expensive, and businessmen are choosing not to sell what they have because they want to profit later when prices get even higher,” said Hisham, a resident of a loyalist district in the city’s west end who asked that his last name not be published because of concerns for his safety. Because of Tuesday’s disruptions, he added, his neighborhood now  depends on water that is trucked in.

Earlier this month, CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward appeared at a U.N. Security Council meeting and spoke about what she has seen and experienced in Aleppo.

"I have been covering conflict for 12 years," Ward said. "I have never experienced anything like Syria."

This post, originally published on Aug. 17, has been updated.

Read More:

Battle for Aleppo may be the most crucial of the Syrian civil war

The last few doctors still in Aleppo sent a letter to Obama pleading for help

A church is planning drone strikes over Syria — with Bibles not bombs