Sitting alone in an ambulance, the boy – identified by doctors as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh – looked dazed and shocked, staring silently as he tried to wipe the blood off his head, seemingly unaware of his injuries.
The hashtag #Syrianboy was one of the top trending topics in the United States and Britain. More than 10 tweets posted every minute on Twitter with the hashtag, according to social media analytics company Zoomph. Many linked images of the child with a picture of Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body was found on a beach in Turkey last year.
Video of #Syrianboy saved from rubble sparks social media storm
— ARY News (@ARYNEWSOFFICIAL) August 19, 2016
The video of Omran and other children being pulled from the rubble caused widespread upset and condemnation over the harrowing reality of Syria’s five-year-old civil war.
Aleppo, split into rebel- and government-controlled areas, has become the focus of the fighting in Syria.
— Kaltrina (@kaltrinahoxha) August 18, 2016
Rebel-held areas suffer heavy air strikes daily as pro-government forces try to retake territory lost to rebels two weeks ago in the southwest of Aleppo.
The video, shot on Wednesday in the rebel-held al-Qaterji neighbourhood, shows an aid worker carrying the little boy out of a building and seating him inside the ambulance, before rushing back to the scene of the bombing. The boy sits alone, stunned, before two more children are brought into the vehicle. A man with blood on his face then joins them.
— Sanjukta Mukherji (@sanjukta_hued) August 18, 2016
Aleppo-based freelance photographer Mohammed Raslan Abu Sheikh, who was at the scene, said civilian rescuers and aid workers were elated as Omran was pulled from the rubble alive with the rest of his family of six.
— Fahrettin Isci (@fahrettinisci) August 18, 2016
“He was in a state of shock, not even crying, he made us cry while he himself was silent, just watching us,” Abu Sheikh told Reuters.
— Mehreen Zahra-Malik (@mehreenzahra) August 18, 2016
Last year, international sympathy for victims of Syria’s war was heightened by a photo of a drowned 3-year-old refugee from Syria, Aylan Kurdi, who washed up on a Turkish tourist beach. The image of Aylan, who died when a smugglers’ boat taking his family and other refugees to a nearby Greek island capsized, swept across social media and was retweeted thousands of times.
— Sadia (@Saadiisays) August 19, 2016
— Aaron Heslehurst (@bbcaaron) August 18, 2016
— Voice of America (@VOANews) August 18, 2016
— Julia Macfarlane (@juliamacfarlane) August 18, 2016