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Toddler, found alive after Syrian bombing, symbolizes hope for rebels

When Tracey Shelton, a correspondent for GlobalPost, arrived in a Syrian neighborhood that had been bombed earlier on Monday, rescuers had spent six hours digging through rubble and had unearthed the bodies of seven children and their father.

Then, beneath the pile of chalky dust and broken concrete slabs, she reported, they found the mother, dead, holding her 1-year-old son, Hassan. “He was discovered unscathed, still cradled in her lifeless arms,” Shelton said in her report.

For the men who found Hassan, he became a symbol of hope amid the devastation consuming the Syrian city of Aleppo.

“He stayed for around six hours underground until we got him out with our simple tools – and thank God, he survived,” one of the rescuers told Shelton. “His whole family was martyred but God willing he will see the death of Bashar and all of his people.”

They rushed Hassan to a hospital, where medics ripped away his clothing. He was covered in a white powdery substance and he looked confused and overwhelmed.

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At the hospital, the only ambulance driver – formerly a fashion designer -- told Shelton that planes attack crowded places like hospitals and bread factories.

“There are so many people gathered there from early morning,” he said.

In Syria, the 18-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has claimed the lives of 26,000 people, according to activists’ estimates. The battle for Aleppo, where Hassan was found, has lasted for more than a month, as Assad's army tries to oust the rebels.

Zac Baillie / AFP - Getty Images

A Syrian rebel, right, covers a fellow fighter carrying the body of his brother and comrade, killed during a battle in Syria's northern city of Aleppo.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. has sent a dozen spies and diplomats to the border between Syria and Turkey to advise rebel forces in their mismatched fight against Assad’s forces, The Associated Press reported.

The Obama administration wants to help the rebels tactically and with non-lethal support like encrypted radios but does not want to contribute weapons, officials told the AP.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has maintained pressure on the Security Council – made up of China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. – to protect Syrians.

"We have seen the immense human cost of failing to protect," he said.

Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

After months of protests and violent crackdowns, a look back at the violence that has overtaken the country.

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