MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The child sits still. He’s covered in dust and blood – but he’s not crying. Not even making any sound. But the terror and the shock is clearly seen on his blank face.
The trauma of the hundreds of thousands of children caught in the seemingly endless civil war in Syria can be summed up in a viral video posted online Wednesday, August 17.
The 1:48-minute video clip, uploaded by the Aleppo Media Center on Wednesday, showed the aftermath of an air strike on the rebel-held Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo, The Guardian and the Associated Press reported.
It starts with a rescue worker carrying the child – later identified as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh – into an ambulance, where the boy is placed a seat.
As the rescuer rushes out of the vehicle to help get other victims from the rubble, the camera focuses on the boy who, instead of crying, is eerily and heartbreakingly silent, covered in dust and blood.
Omran then proceeds to wipe the blood off the left side of his face, looks at his hand, and then proceeds to look around, as if inspecting his seat.
The boy, dubbed by TIME as “the boy in the ambulance,” is later joined by two more children pulled out of the rubble, a girl and another boy. All 3 are silent, stunned by what just happened to them.
The AMC, the group that posted the video, is a well-known activist group in the city. The air strike is being blamed on Syrian government and Russian forces, CNN reported.
The AP reported that the boy suffered head wounds, but there was no major injury, and he was later released. CNN also reported that the boy’s immediate family survived the air strike.
Aleppo, once Syria’s economic heartland, is now one of the bloodiest battlefields in the war-torn country.
Since mid-2012, Aleppo has been roughly split between opposition control in the east and government forces in the west.
Fighting for Syria’s former economic hub has intensified since regime troops seized control of the last supply route into rebel-held areas in mid-July.
More than 290,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since the beginning of Syria’s civil war, which started in 2011 with anti-regime protests. – With reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com
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