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.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig