Photo of Wounded Child Captures Horror of Aleppo Siege

An activist group released a photo that is going viral.

— -- Photos of an injured Syrian boy covered in soot and blood have sparked outrage online over the humanitarian disaster taking place in Aleppo, several weeks into a major Syrian government offensive on a rebel stronghold in the city of two million people.

Social media posts of the images and video, which show the boy as he was rescued from the scene of an apparent explosion and placed in the back of an ambulance, have racked up thousands of shares over the past day.

The photos were published online by the Aleppo Media Center, an activist organization looking to draw attention to the plight of civilians inside the besieged city.

An estimated 250,000 to 275,000 people live in rebel-held areas that have come under intense airstrikes and artillery bombardment. Rights groups say they have documented the use of internationally-banned weapons that are known to wreak indiscriminate and widespread harm on civilians, such as cluster bombs, incendiaries and chemical weapons.

In an around the city of Aleppo, an estimated 2 million people are now living without regular access to electricity and water. In addition, the city's health infrastructure is collapsing, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with eight out of ten hospitals and 13 out of 28 healthcare centers out of service or functioning only partially.

More than 15,000 Syrian children have fled the country unaccompanied by adults. In total, as many as 3.7 million Syrian children have been born since the conflict started in 2011 and have lived with the war for their entire lives.