Omran Daqneesh is a 4 or 5-year-old Syrian child, and now, the heartbreaking face of a civil war.
Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Raslan captured Daqneesh's photo as medics pulled him from the rubble of his home in Aleppo, Syria on Wednesday. The child and his family — three older siblings, along with his mother and father — were injured in a government airstrike on Syria's largest city.
At least three other people in the vicinity were killed, according to Raslan.
Video released by the Aleppo Media Centre
shows Daqneesh sitting silently in the back of an amublance, looking
stunned as he touches the blood seeping from his head. As he was treated
in — and eventually released from — an Aleppo hospital, the photograph
of his frightened face made waves across the world.
The first reported tweet of Daqneesh’s photo, by Telegraph journalist Raf Sanchez, has been retweeted more than 15,000 times. Citizens from across the globe responded to the image, expressing their horror and asking how they could help. One day later, UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura plead for a 48-hour cease-fire to allow aid into the city. No aid has reached the city for a month.
Syria has been in a state of civil war for five years — the entire span of Daqneesh’s lifetime. Rebel forces within the country rose up against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011. Assad responded with Iranian- and Russian-backed airstrikes, leaving the 2 million residents of Aleppo caught in the crossfire. Over 400,000 people have been killed to date, according to the U.N. special envoy’s office.
Previous awareness campaigns, such as Save the Children’s 2014 “Second a Day” video, have had little effect to curb hostilities. The BBC reports that fighting in Aleppo has only escalated in the past few weeks. ABC News reporter Sophie McNeill shared photos of more children injured in the crisis the day after Daqneesh’s home was attacked.