Stunned, bloodied face of child survivor sums up horror of Aleppo

Video shows a child, bloodied and full of dust, after he's pulled from a bombed out building in Aleppo, Syria.
A still image from a video posted on social media said to be shot in Aleppo on Aug 17, 2016, shows a boy with bloodied face sitting in an ambulance, after an airstrike.
A still image from a video posted on social media said to be shot in Aleppo on Aug 17, 2016, shows a boy with bloodied face sitting in an ambulance, after an airstrike.PHOTO: REUTERS

ALEPPO (THE WASHINGTON POST) - The video shows a child after he was pulled from rubble in Aleppo, a city that has been devastated by constant bombardment.

A man carried the boy away from the rubble following a suspected air strike by Russia or Syria President Bashar Assad in the neighbourhood of rebel-held Qaterji. He placed the child in an orange chair. The boy brushes his eye and face after the man walks away. He wipes the blood and debris on the chair.

It was not immediately clear when the video was taken. But the video, as well as the image from the aftermath of the bombing, circulated on social media on Wednesday (Aug 17), a powerful reminder of the ongoing crisis in the Syrian city.

"This picture of a wounded Syrian boy captures just a fragment of the horrors of Aleppo," reads a Telegraph headline about the picture.

"Watch this video from Aleppo tonight," tweeted ABC correspondent Sophie McNeill. "And watch it again."

More than 250,000 people have died and millions have been displaced as the Syrian conflict has stretched on for years. And Aleppo has long been a key battleground between the regime of President Assad and rebels.

Recently, the Syrian city has garnered international attention as the humanitarian crisis there has worsened. The flow of water, which serves millions of residents, was cut off earlier this month.

The western districts held by Syrian President Bashar Assad have not experienced the severe deprivations of areas in the east controlled by rebel forces. But after an array of rebels and extremists linked to Al-Qaeda broke the brutal government siege of opposition neighbourhoods last week, the rebels escalated the assault to besiege the government side.

That has disrupted supplies of food and medicine to an area where more than a million people live, potentially testing loyalties of residents there to the embattled Syrian leader.

In response, rebels and opposition activists say, Mr Assad's forces have responded with intensified bombings that have struck hospitals and involved munitions containing chlorine gas, a choking agent.

Compounding the misery, UN officials said on Tuesday that fighting had disabled Aleppo's main power plant, which had pumped water to 2 million people on both sides of the city.

"Prices are getting expensive, and businessmen are choosing not to sell what they have because they want to profit later when prices get even higher," said Mr Hisham, a resident of a loyalist district in the city's west end who asked that his last name not be published because of concerns for his safety.

Because of Tuesday's disruptions, he added, his neighbourhood now totally depends on water that is trucked in.

Earlier this month, CNN's senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward appeared at a UN Security Council meeting and spoke about what she has seen and experienced in Aleppo.

"I have been covering conflict for 12 years," Ms Ward said. "I have never experienced anything like Syria."