This heartbreaking photo of an injured boy captures the endless horror of the war in Syria

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On Wednesday, a chilling photo of a 5-year-old Syrian boy rocketed around the world.


The boy, identified as Omran Daqneesh, was one of 12 people injured in a Russian airstrike on a residential neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo. The photo of him siting in an ambulance chair, shocked, speechless and covered in grime, could not fail to resonate with people.

Daqneesh is not the first Syrian child to bleed hopelessly while the world is watching. In fact, the Syrian government's torture and murder of a child in 2011 was one of the things that led to an uprising from the Syrian people. The Syrian police had detained a group of 9 year old kids for writing anti-Assad graffiti on their school walls. When news broke that one of them had been killed,  all hell broke lose and people starting demonstrating against the oppression of the regime.

Five years later, the situation on the ground is as complex and terrible as ever.


Currently, Russia is aiding the Assad regime with airstrikes, they claim to be targeting ISIS and extremists groups where in reality Russia had been bombarding Syrian residential neighborhoods in rebel-held areas. By weakening the anti-Assad neighborhoods, Russia is supplying a life line for Assad to stay in power and continue to bombard the opposition with TNT barrel bombs. It's not clear when the bloodshed will end.

So Daqneesh's photo may have gone viral, but that's not enough. Soon a new photo of another child in Syria will go viral, and that won't be enough either. Things will only change if people keep paying attention every day, and demand that the world stand as one against this carnage.


Alaa Basatneh is a human-rights activist and a writer at Fusion focusing on the Arab world. She is the protagonist of the 2013 documentary "#ChicagoGirl."