Graphic and disturbing images of a Syrian boy covered in ash and blood stunned people the world over Thursday, acting as a brutal reminder of just how devastating the war in Syria continues to be five years after it started.
Khalid Albaih, a Sudanese cartoonist living in Doha, Qatar, tied the images of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was injured in airstrikes on the city of Aleppo Wednesday, to those of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian boy who was pictured in September face down on a Turkish beach.
Kurdi drowned when the boat attempting to bring refugees from Turkey to Greece capsized. Graphic photos of the little boy’s body prompted worldwide calls to do more for refugees fleeing Syria.
Albaih’s drawing, posted on Instagram Thursday, is titled “Choices for Syrian Children.” If children stay, according to the drawing, they suffer like Daqneesh. If they leave, they end up like Kurdi.
“It’s a choice that we think about every day,” Albaih told The Huffington Post. “I really don’t know what to do; the same thing could happen to my children.”
He noted, “It’s really a scary thought. If you think this image is sad, imagine the real situation.”
His work, part of a collection called Khartoon!, focuses on political satire about the Middle East.
The fact that Daqneesh was placed in an ambulance is particularly symbolic given that Russian-backed pro-government forces in Syria seem to deliberately target hospitals in the besieged city of Aleppo, preventing any aid convoys from reaching civilians. Only a handful of doctors remain in the city; 15 of them have urged U.S. President Barack Obama to take action to protect civilians.
The connection is not lost on Albaih, who pointed it out in another drawing Thursday.
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