It seemed a small miracle when 3-year-old Hassan emerged unharmed from underneath the rubble of his bombarded house in Syria's Aleppo. On Monday, a Syrian army helicopter had reduced the three-story compound to mere dust, killing the toddler's parents, his cousins and all of his siblings.
Residents told GlobalPost they had found the boy cradled in his mother's lifeless arms. Her embrace had protected him from the falling concrete.
Syrian security forces have pounded Aleppo for weeks in an attempt to drive out opposition fighters. Reuters reported that the army's brutal shelling has failed to crush the rebel forces, however, with both sides locked in a stalemate for control of the city's rebel neighborhoods.
Activists estimate more than 26,000 people have lost their lives since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, including 18,500 civilians.
Earlier this week, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned that foreign arms sales are aggravating the crisis. "This conflict has taken a particularly brutal turn," Ban said, according to Reuters. "The continuing militarization of the conflict is deeply tragic and highly dangerous," he added.
Watch Tracy Shelton's report from Aleppo in the video above or read more on GlobalPost.