The family of Omran Daqneesh — the Syrian boy from the iconic footage of the aftermath of an airstrike in Aleppo — bashed international media Monday for using their son as “propaganda.”
The footage of the 4-year-old became a symbol for the violence and suffering of civilians in government-besieged eastern Aleppo. In a series of interviews with pro-government media outlets, Omran’s father Mohamad Kheir Daqneesh slams international media for using the footage to attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
He says a number of “gunmen” staged the photo at the back of an ambulance.
“They wanted to trade in his blood and published his photos,” he told Iranian state TV, according to BBC.
Mohamad Daqneesh didn’t say who he thinks was behind the attack, which killed his other son Ali, but said that he has no recollection of hearing planes over his house.
The family now lives in government-controlled territory and blames rebels for the war, saying “they are the ones who hurt us and our country and displaced the people.”
“I stayed in Syria. This is my country, where I grew up and lived and my children will grow up in it,” Mohamad Daqneesh said in an interview Monday, according to The New York Times.
“I changed Omran’s name so no one will know him, and I changed his haircut, so no one will film him or recognize him,” Mohamad Daqneesh said, according to TheNYT.
Opposition sources claim that the government forced the family to publicly back Assad in the interviews.
“If I were in Omran’s father’s shoes and read this, I would feel my son Ali is being killed [again],” an Idlib-based activist said, according to The Independent.
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