BEIRUT — The Russian military said Thursday it was ready to back a U.N. call for weekly cease-fires for Syria's contested city of Aleppo, as haunting footage of a young boy's rescue from the aftermath of an airstrike shook global media.
The image of the stunned and weary-looking boy, sitting in an ambulance caked with dust and with blood on his face, captured the horror that has beset the war-torn northern city as photographs of the child were widely shared on social media.
An hour after his rescue, the badly damaged building the boy was in completely collapsed.
A doctor in Aleppo identified the child as 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. He was brought to the hospital, known as "M10," on Wednesday night, following an airstrike by Russian or government warplanes on the rebel-held neighborhood of Qaterji, said Dr. Osama Abu al-Ezz. The boy suffered head wounds but no brain injury, and was later discharged.
Rescue workers and journalists arrived shortly after the strike and described pulling victims from the rubble.
"We were passing them from one balcony to the other," said photojournalist Mahmoud Raslan, who took the dramatic photo. He said he had passed along three lifeless bodies when someone handed him the wounded boy. Raslan gave the child to a rescue worker, who rushed him to the ambulance.
Eight people died in the strike, including five children, according to a doctor who gave only his first name, Abo Mohammadian. Many doctors working in Aleppo's opposition areas do not give their full names for fear of reprisals against their relatives in government areas.
A nurse who treated Omran said "he was in a daze."
"It was as if he was asleep. Not unconscious, but traumatized — lost," said Mahmoud Abu Rajab.
Medical workers feared internal injuries, but an X-ray and an ultrasound revealed his wounds were superficial. Abu Rajab stitched up the child and wrapped his forehead and left eye in a bandage.
Omran's three siblings, ages 1, 6, and 11, and his mother and father were also rescued from the building. None sustained major injuries.
"We sent the younger children immediately to the ambulance, but the 11-year-old girl waited for her mother to be rescued," said Raslan, adding that the woman's ankle was pinned beneath the rubble.
In the video posted late Wednesday by the Aleppo Media Center, a man was seen carrying Omran away from the chaotic nighttime scene and into an ambulance. Looking dazed, the boy ran his hands over his blood-covered face, then wiped them on the orange ambulance chair.
The powerful imagery reverberated across social media, drawing to mind the anguished global response to the photos of Aylan Kurdi, the drowned Syrian boy whose body was found on a beach in Turkey and came to represent the horrific toll of Syria's civil war.
The fighting has frustrated the U.N.'s efforts to fulfill its humanitarian mandate, and the world body's special envoy to Syria cut short a meeting Thursday of the ad hoc committee — chaired by Russia and the United States — tasked with deescalating the violence so that relief can reach beleaguered civilians.
The U.N. envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said there was "no sense" in holding the meeting in light of the obstacles to delivering aid. The U.N. is hoping to secure a weekly 48-hour pause to the fighting in Aleppo.
Later Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russia would back the initiative on condition the aid convoys travel to both rebel-controlled and government-held parts of the city. He said Russia was ready to support deliveries starting next week.