The brother of an injured Syrian boy whose haunting photo struck a chord around the world died Saturday, days after he was wounded in the same bombing that left his younger sibling shell-shocked and covered in blood.
Ali Daqneesh, 10, was wounded along with his five-year-old brother Omran and the rest of the family when a Wednesday night airstrike devastated their apartment building.
The brothers were playing in the street outside when Russian or Syrian warplanes leveled their apartment building in the rebel-held Qaterji neighborhood, their father told the Telegraph newspaper on Saturday. “It is very painful to watch your children falling in front of your eyes,” he said. The father has declined to be named in full, going only as Abu Ali — father of Ali.
Over the weekend, a local rebel group posted a photo of Ali online, appearing to show him unconscious and with facial injuries, and breathing through a tube.
The images of the shell-shocked Omran — sitting inside an ambulance and covered in dust, with a blood-stained face — spread quickly across social media, intensifying international calls for an ceasefire in Aleppo.
The outcry over the image was similar to the response last year to a photo of 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, whose drowned body washed up on a Turkish beach after the boat carrying him and his family capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.
The heart-wrenching image of Omran was dubbed by Washington as “the real face” of the conflict.
On Saturday, the Syrian Obervatory for Human Rights said that more than 300 civilians have been killed in a three-week surge of fighting and bombardment in Aleppo.
The battle for Syria’s second city has killed 333 civilians since July 31, when rebels launched a major push to break a government siege of districts under their control, the monitoring group said.
The toll includes 165 civilians — among them 49 children — killed in opposition fire on the city’s government-held western districts.
Once Syria’s economic hub, Aleppo city has been ripped apart by violence since mid-2012, with warplanes bombarding the east and rockets raining down on the west.
Russia has been carrying out air raids in support of President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria since September 2015.
On Friday, Russia denied that one of its air raids hit the Daqneesh’s home in eastern Aleppo, saying in a statement that its warplanes “never work on targets that are inside settled areas.”
More than 290,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict started in March 2011, while international efforts at putting an end to the war have faltered.