Every week, Truthdig’s editors will present an image that singularly renders the world’s triumph, trouble or toil. We begin the series with a photograph that captures the desolation and anguish of Syria’s 5½-year-long civil war.

Freshly pulled from rubble in eastern Aleppo, 5-year-old Syrian Omran Daqneesh peered at viewers worldwide this Thursday through the lens of photographer and activist Mahmoud Raslan. Covered in blood and filth, his hair tousled, Omran looks shocked but serene, a picture of resignation that suggests a long familiarity with the horror that has struck him.

Omran is a “very lucky child,” said a doctor who operated on him. His brother was not so “lucky.” Ten-year-old Ali Daqneesh died three days after a missile struck their family’s home. He was at play in the street while his younger brother was inside.

Who’s to blame? Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad or his Russian allies launched the bomb into rebel-held Aleppo more than five years into a war that has spanned the whole of Omran’s life. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, Russian bombings recently overtook Islamic State as a cause of civilian deaths in the country.

The Guardian called Omran’s portrait “a heartbreaking image that ought to bring the combatants to the peace table” and, anticipating that it won’t, urged its readers to support officials seeking to provide Syrians asylum in the West. Said a mother of two who fled to Aleppo’s countryside: “All Syrians, and me, thank the world for their feelings of sorrow, but why don’t you help us to find peace?”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.