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Testimonies from the photographer and rescue worker who responded to Omran Daqneesh

A video and picture of Omran Daqneesh being lifted into an ambulance has been viewed millions of time. This is the story of the response.

Last night the Syria Civil Defence [or White Helmets] responded to a Russian attack in the Qaterji neighbourhood of Eastern Aleppo. Omran was rescued with his three siblings, aged one, six, and 11, and his mother and father, according. None sustained major injuries, but their apartment building collapsed shortly after the family was rescued.

The Syria Campaign has conducted first hand interviews with Mahmoud Rislan, the photographer from Aleppo Media Centre who filmed the rescue and Bibars Halabi, the White Helmet who carried Omran to the ambulance.

The attack comes the same week that it was announced the White Helmets had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

“It was too dark for good footage but I continued and followed him.  The White Helmet carried the boy to the ambulance and laid him on the chair. I kept filming. It is then that I realized how traumatized the boy was and I changed the camera from filming to take a still picture.”

Mahmoud Rislan, Photographer with Aleppo Media Centre

“My heart breaks for Omran but people need to know this happens everyday. Everyday we rescue children and families. Every day I meet traumatized parents for losing a child or even not being able to find the body under the rubble. Just this time it was caught on camera.”

Bibars Halabi, White Helmet volunteer

You can find full transcripts for both interviews here.

Anna Nolan, Director of The Syria Campaign commented on the situation in Aleppo:

“I hope that as President Obama and other world leaders look at Omran’s face they remember there was nothing inevitable about the strike that hit his house. We need real global action to stop Russia from bombing Syrian children as they lay in their beds.  Civilians in Syria don’t want our sympathy — they want an end to these daily massacres.”

“Many are comparing Omran to Aylan Kurdi. Aylan Kurdi drowned fleeing the same airstrikes over Aleppo that hit Omran. If we do not see real action from the international community to stop these airstrikes many more children will die — whether in their beds or in boats”