Thursday 19 April 2018

Brother of 'boy in the ambulance' dies of injuries from airstrike

Three-yearold Omran Daqneesh, with bloodied face, sits with his sister inside an ambulance after they were rescued following an airstrike in the rebel-held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo
Three-yearold Omran Daqneesh, with bloodied face, sits with his sister inside an ambulance after they were rescued following an airstrike in the rebel-held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo
Ali Daqneesh (10), the brother of Omran Daqneesh, in hospital in Aleppo, Syria, shortly before his death. Photo: Reuters

Lizzie Dearden

The brother of a Syrian boy whose photograph has come to symbolise the suffering of civilians in war-torn Aleppo has reportedly died of his injuries.

Ali Daqneesh (10) was injured alongside his little brother Omran and the rest of his family when an airstrike reduced their apartment building to rubble on Wednesday night. He was taken to hospital with his parents and siblings, but died of his injuries yesterday, activists in Aleppo said, adding that mourners were gathering at the family's temporary home.

The UK-based Syria Solidarity Campaign also reported the death, calling the strike a "war crime".

A local opposition group posted a photo of Ali online, appearing to show him in a hospital bed with facial injuries, unconscious and breathing through a tube.

Ali and the rest of the Daqneesh family initially survived the bombing after being pulled out of the rubble by volunteer rescue workers and transported to hospital.

Abu Ali, the children's father, said Ali - his oldest son - was outside in the street playing with friends when the blast struck. He described how he was sitting on the sofa next to Omran at the time, with his wife, another son and two daughters elsewhere in the first-floor flat. "It is very painful to watch your children falling in front of your eyes," the father said in an interview with 'The Telegraph'. Images of Omran sitting dazed and silent in an ambulance, covered in dust and blood, spread around the world and has intensified calls for an immediate ceasefire.

His parents and siblings were also transferred to hospital for treatment and their condition could not immediately be confirmed.

Russia has denied responsibility for Wednesday's airstrikes in the Qaterji district, which killed at least eight people, including five children.

Aleppo, which is split between regime and rebel control, has been at the epicentre of continued battles and bombings despite successive attempts at ceasefires. More airstrikes were reported on Saturday, with pro-rebel activists saying one bombing killed seven members of the same family - including six children - early in the morning.

Aid convoys have not been able to access the city for months, with fighting continuing as a coalition of Islamist militants, including former al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, fight to open up a corridor out of besieged areas.

Russia, which has been conducting airstrikes in support of the Syrian regime since September, said it was willing to support weekly 48-hour ceasefires to allow aid to reach besieged areas. But battles continued on Saturday as forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad attempted to reinforce their positions.

Independent News Service

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