A young Syrian boy has been labelled a hero after video footage emerged appearing to show him braving a shower of bullets to rescue another child trapped in the middle of a shoot-out.
Footage released by the Shaam News Network, a news channel run by Syrian activists in Damascus, appears to show the boy initially lying on the ground as gunfire shots ring out near piles of bricks and rubble. The child is then seen getting up and running towards the burnt out shell of a car.
As he runs, he is seemingly hit by sniper fire. The boy stumbles and collapses to the ground, apparently dead.
Seconds later, he clambers back up off the floor and darts towards a terrified girl crouching behind the vehicle. A group of men can be heard exclaiming “allahu akbar” (God is great) when they realise he is still alive.
The boy then grabs the girl’s arm and pulls her back through sniper fire before disappearing behind the wall of a building. Both children appear to survive the ordeal.
Some viewers have suggested the boy may have been pretending to be dead in order to prevent the sniper from firing any more bullets.
It is not known where the footage was taken or what happened to either child after the incident.
The authenticity of the video has not yet been independently verified and many discussions are now focusing on whether it is legitimate or not.
Some reports suggest the events within it could have been staged, with doubts cast over the moment the boy appears to be shot.
Charlie Winter, a researcher at counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, told The Independent there is no real way of knowing at this stage if the video is real. He said it is also difficult to ascertain if the shooters are government troops or militant fighters.
In pictures: Syria conflict
In pictures: Syria conflict
1/32 Syria crisis
Syrians carry children amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
2/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
3/32 Syria crisis
Syrians react as they stand amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
4/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian man carries a girl amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
5/32 Syria crisis
An injured Syrian man walks out from the rubble of a destroyed building following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
6/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian woman makes her way through debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
7/32 Syria crisis
People stand on the rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the Al-Fardous neighbourhood of Aleppo
8/32 Syria crisis
Syrian residents stand amid the rubble of destroyed buildings
9/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian resident grasps a mattress amid rubble in the al-Firdous neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo
10/32 Syria crisis
A bullet-riddled parking sign stands amid debris in a deserted street leading into the old city of Homs
11/32 Syria crisis
A general view shows abandoned buildings on a deserted square in the old city of Homs after Syrian government forces regained control of rebel-controlled areas
12/32 Syria crisis
A mosque is pictured through shattered glass in the old city of Homs, as rebel fighters withdrew from the city centre in line with a negotiated withdrawal deal with the government after having held out under tight siege for nearly two years
13/32 Syria crisis
Buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad's rule, earning it the nickname of "capital of the revolution"
14/32 Syria crisis
Syrian government forces hold up a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad (L) while others raise the national flag on top of a pole in the old city of Homs
15/32 Syria crisis
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad run through Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr crossing after their release by rebels. They were freed as part of a larger deal which saw the last remaining Syrian rebels in central Homs city evacuate their positions and free captives in several locations in northern Syria
16/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian woman and two children walk past heavily damaged buildings in the northern city of Aleppo
17/32 Syria crisis
A man carries a wounded girl following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Mowasalat neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
18/32 Syria crisis
A wounded man sits as he is treated at a makeshift hospital following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Sakhour district of the northern city of Aleppo
19/32 Syria crisis
Debris rises in what Free Syrian Army fighters and Islamic rebels said was an operation to strike Al-Sahaba checkpoint, which is considered a gateway to Al-Dayf valley, and remove forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Maarat Al-Nouman, Idlib province
20/32 Syria crisis
Men try to put out fire at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
21/32 Syria crisis
Civil Defence members try to put out fire
22/32 Syria crisis
Survivors react at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
23/32 Syria crisis
Residents queue as they wait to receive food aid distributed by the UNRWA at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus
24/32 Syria crisis
Belongings of Syrian rebels inside a chapel at Crac des Chevaliers, the world's best preserved medieval Crusader castle in Syria. The village was destroyed in fighting between the government and rebel forces while the castle, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, also has been damaged over the past two years
25/32 Syria crisis
Hosen Sabah, a 16-year-old student is comforted by his mother at a hospital in Damascus. Nosen was wounded by a mortar outside his school, while 14 other students were killed and over 80 wounded
26/32 Syria crisis
A Free Syrian Army fighter works on a locally made launcher before firing it towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Mork town
27/32 Syria crisis
Syrian policemen and citizens inspecting the site of a car bomb at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus. According to Syria's Arab News Agency (SANA), a car bomb explosion has gone off in the countryside of Damascus and initial information say there are casualties, where a car rigged with explosions was remotely detonated at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus during engineering units it was trying to dismantled it
28/32 Syria crisis
Opposition fighters carrying a rocket launcher during clashes against government forces in the Sheikh Lutfi area, west of the airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
29/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian man helps a woman to make her way through debris following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
30/32 Syria crisis
A Syrian man reacts as he carries the body of injured boy following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 33 civilians were killed in the attack
31/32 Syria crisis
Syrian rescue workers carry the body of a woman following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
32/32 Syria crisis
Syrians gather at the site of reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
He said: “It’s fast becoming something that people will refer to as a video that sums up the conflict in Syria. But at this stage, I would hesitate to say whether it is legitimate or not."
The Independent is currently trying to verify the video.Reuse content