The little Syrian boy, whose video made headlines around the world and dubbed by some “the real face” of Syria’s five-year war, has been reunited with his parents, the ABC reported on Friday.The footage of the shell-shocked four-year-old became a symbol of suffering in Aleppo.The footage from activists at the Aleppo Media Centre shows Omran sitting quietly in an ambulance, his bare, dust-covered feet barely reaching the edge of the orange chair.
He touches his forehead with a tiny hand and seems surprised to see blood on his fingers — then wipes it off on the orange chair with the timidity of a child who feels he has done something wrong.The nurse who treated Omran has told the ABC the boy did not cry as he was being treated, describing him being “in shock”.“He didn’t say anything except to ask for his parents,” Abu Rajab from the Syrian American Medical Society said.
They arrived shortly after, in a second wave of people, and only then he (Omran) started crying.Omran’s haunting photo has sparked a series of caricatures and edited images.In one, Omran sits unassumingly between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, deep in discussion.
In another, the toddler occupies the seat held by Syria at the Arab League, as if to criticise international inaction on the crisis.And Sudanese artist Khaled Albaih drew Omran near Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old whose tiny body washed up on a Turkish beach in September after a desperate attempt by his family to reach Europe by boat.“Choices for Syrian children,” reads the bold text over the picture. Omran’s blank stare is captioned with “if you stay,” and Aylan’s crumpled body with “if you leave”.
More than 290,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict broke out, including nearly 15,000 children.At least 2.8 million Syrian children — some in their home country, others living as refugees in neighbouring countries — are without school.Across Syria, at least six million children are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.According to UNICEF, a third of Syrian children have only known war, born after the conflict erupted in March 2011 and forced to grow “up too fast and way ahead of their time”.
On Friday, 13 sick children were among 18 people evacuated from the besieged town of Madaya.The cases included children with meningitis and malnutrition, two babies with blood poisoning and a pregnant woman whose baby died in her womb.The Syrian Arab Red Crescent confirmed in a tweet that it was evacuating “36 humanitarian cases” from Madaya and two government-held towns, Kafraya and Fuaa, in northwestern Idlib province.
Under a UN-brokered agreement, aid deliveries to and evacuations from the towns always occur simultaneously.