Heartbreaking video of Syrian boy shows horrors of war

Posted at 9:01 AM, Aug 18, 2016

Aleppo, Syria – His name is Omran. The image of him, bloodied and covered with dust, sitting silently in an ambulance awaiting help, is another stark reminder of the toll of the war in Syria.

He is young — one witness puts him at four, perhaps five years old, but his chubby arms and legs and the way he clings to the man who pulled him from the rubble of his bombed-out home suggest he is still a toddler.

He lives with his mother, father, brother and sister in the Syrian city of Aleppo, a contact on the ground tells CNN.

He and his family were injured when their house was destroyed by an airstrike Wednesday. Miraculously, everyone survived.

Aleppo, in northern Syria, has been besieged for years during that country’s civil war. Thousands of people have been killed there, and many lives have been upturned.

Omran’s family are among them.

The haunting, heartbreaking video of Omran has been circulating on social media.

It shows a civil defense worker carrying him to an ambulance. His cartoon character T-shirt is covered in dust, the left side of his face is bloody. He is silent despite the cacophony of screaming men around him.

He was not crying at any point during the rescue.

“He was in extreme shock,” according to a spokesman for the Aleppo Media Center, an activist group.

His eyes look glassy as he sits on the vehicle’s orange seat, his hands on his lap as he awaits treatment.

He raises his left hand to his eye and feels the area around his temple as if he has been hit there. He wipes his face and looks down at the blood.

But Omran has had a lucky escape — he appears to have been one of the first pulled out of the rubble before his parents, the Aleppo Media Center says.

Omran has now been released from the hospital and he and his family are staying with relatives.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of video and its content. It was posted by the Aleppo Media Center.

On Wednesday, three more people died and at least 12 others were wounded in the rebel-held al Qaterchi neighborhood in eastern Aleppo, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Aleppo Media Center. One of those killed is believed to be a relative of Omran’s family.

The disturbing pictures have emerged as more details of the suffering in Syria are highlighted by Amnesty International.

It says nearly 18,000 people have died in custody since the crisis began in March 2011, but the group believes that number is a low estimate and the true figure is much higher.

Using survivors’ accounts, the Amnesty report details the harrowing conditions for inmates and the brutal methods of torture including rape, sexual violence, flogging, burning and scalding.