The Omran Deception
But that image, taken during Aleppo’s siege, was exploited by Syrian rebel groups and international media, declared the young boy’s father in an interview Monday with journalist Kinana Allouche from the pro-Syrian government Al-Mayadeen television station. Allouche came under fire last year after posting a selfie on social media where she posed smiling next to corpses of rebel fighters.
"They wanted to trade in his blood and published his photos," he told the channel, saying his photo was used to attack the Syrian government, as international media’s widespread use of the five-year-old boy’s image made him a global icon of the crisis.
Remember Omran Daqneesh from Aleppo? An update on him, he's okay and still living in Aleppo. pic.twitter.com/bLdeviWQVW— Lina Arabi (@LinaArabii) June 5, 2017
In the same airstrike, Daqneesh’s 10-year-old brother, Ali, was killed.
"He was martyred while in hospital as a result of the same bombardment that their house was subjected to," said Besher Hawi, the spokesman for the local council of Aleppo had said at the time
But new photos of the young boy, first posted on social media, see him healthy and recovered, and now living in West Aleppo, his family having moved there shortly after it was liberated from rebels by the Syrian Army in December 2016.
Reporter Kinana Allouche and Omran the boy famously exploited by western media, and president Obama, to sell war on Syria. pic.twitter.com/PymHuw8jow— Emmy (@JoliatJei) June 5, 2017
In the short interview clip posted by Alloush, Omran’s father told the channel of how he did not hear the plane above their house before the strike. He also stated that he had rejected offers to leave Syria from people that wanted to damage the reputation of the country’s armed forces.
He added that he had shaved his son’s head in order to disguise him and shield him from media attention.
Allouche shared photos of herself with the family as she interviewed them, saying, "The child Omran, those who tried to shed Syrian blood mislead the news that he was hit by the Syrian Arab Army … Here he now lives in the Syrian state with its army, its leader and its people."