This Response To Stunned, Bloodied Little Boy Is A Reminder Of Just How Bad Things Are In Syria

Footage of a 5-year-old being taken to an ambulance recalls a graphic photo that surfaced last fall.

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.

Omran Daqneesh, left, was injured in airstrikes on Aleppo on Wednesday. Aylan Kurdi, right, escaped Syria with his family onl
Omran Daqneesh, left, was injured in airstrikes on Aleppo on Wednesday. Aylan Kurdi, right, escaped Syria with his family only to die after a boat taking him to Greece capsized off the shores of Turkey.

“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.

Daqneesh first caught the media’s attention through a YouTube video posted by the activist group Aleppo Media Center. The video shows a young man carrying Daqneesh into an ambulance amid chaos.

The war in Syria began after pro-democracy protests started in March 2011. It has resulted in more than 250,000 deaths and has created almost 5 million refugees.

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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