Viral video from Syria shows rare bright moment in war

The video, posted four days after an alleged chemical weapons attack, shows a father reuniting with his son who was presumed killed. 

United Media Office of Arbeen/AP
A member of a UN investigation team takes samples of sands near a part of a missile is likely to be one of the chemical rockets according to activists, in the Damascus countryside of Ain Terma, Syria, Wednesday.

An amateur video showing a Syrian father being reunited with a young son he thought had died in a chemical weapons attack has captured the hearts of people around the world, getting more than 2 million views on YouTube since being posted on Aug. 25.

In the video, first highlighted in the Western media by The Washington Post’s Max Fisher, a young boy is brought to the arms of his sobbing father, who is so overcome with emotion that the crowd of men around him have to hold him up.

Once inside, however, he holds the boy on his lap and reassures him, holding him tight and kissing his cheeks. "Don't be upset,” he says, according to a translation by The New York Times. “I am beside you, my darling. I am beside you."

The source of the video is unclear, and Western media were careful to note that they could not independently verify it. But numerous reports say it was shot in Zamalka or East Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, in the area where Syrian rebels reported a devastating chemical-weapons attack on Aug. 21, triggering intensified discussion in Washington about a potential US strike.

Twitter is bursting with comments about the video, mostly in Arabic, but also English and Spanish. As Negar Mortazavi, a Tehran native living in Washington put it, “Beautiful People Ugly War.”

Even journalists, so often calloused by the demands of covering war-riven countries, showed a softer side in calling attention to the video, so different from the thousands that have depicted – often graphically – the fighting that has killed more than 100,000 since March 2011.

Jared Keller of Al Jazeera America perhaps said it most concisely: "Heartwarming."

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