A photo has emerged of a father and son who were victims of airstrikes in Syria. The image, released by the White Helmets, also known as Syrian Civil Defense, has been widely distributed online.
It shows the final poses of the pair; the father protecting his face with his arm and his son’s lifeless body lying next to him- both covered in blood and dust.
They were from a family of five where another child was also killed and only the mother and a daughter survived.
Though most of the images coming from Syria are harrowing and heart-breaking, the most recent one has become the face of the heartbreak of Syrian conflict.
A number of photos of the conflict have stirred the public over recent months.
Who can forget the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi?
"I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon. I realized she was terrified after I took it, and looked at the picture, because she bit her lips and raised her hands. Normally kids run away, hide their faces or smile when they see a camera,” said Osman Sagirli, the journalist who took the photo. "You know there are displaced people in the camps. It makes more sense to see what they have suffered not through adults, but through children. It is the children who reflect the feelings with their innocence."
Remember the 5-year-old boy covered in a thick layer of dust with blood running down the side of his face sitting dazed and confused on a bright orange chair inside an ambulance with his tiny feet dangling near the edge of his seat?
But the world has a short-term memory. We see the images, they tug at our hearts, we start relating to the misery the lives of so many millions have become - till the next news grabs our attention.
That is the unfortunate truth.
The five-year Syrian civil war is by far the worst humanitarian crisis of this century. Child casualty rates were the highest recorded in any recent conflict in Syria, according to a 2015 United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund report. At least 10,000 children have been killed in the conflict but unofficial death toll could be a lot more.
“The dangers for children go beyond death and injury," UNICEF said. "Boys as young as 12 have been recruited to support the fighting, some in actual combat, others to work as informers, guards, or arms smugglers."
Around 2 million Syrian children, of the total 5.5 million, have been psychologically affected by the civil war.
Here is a glimpse- a dark reminder of a country and it's thousands of children the world forgets till the next image appears:
The last weekend of September 2016, has been one of the deadliest. According to the White Helmets more than one hundred people died and hundreds others were seriously injured during two hundred airstrikes making it one of the heaviest attacks since the war began in Syria in March 2011.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters