Human rights watchdogs believe the child is now being used as a propaganda tool by the Assad regime
In the ongoing humanitarian crisis and civil war gripping Syria, the photo of Omran Daqneesh covered in dust and sitting in an ambulance is perhaps one of the most recognisable. But now, almost a year after the image went viral, new pictures of the boy have surfaced in Aleppo.
With the city under the control of the Syrian state regime, a pro-Assad journalist named Kinana Alloush posted the first pictures of the Daqneesh family since their home was struck by shells ordered by Assad.
The photos shined a light on the suffering of civilians in eastern Aleppo, and news later emerged that Omran’s brother succumbed to the wounds he suffered in the bombardment.
That fact is disputed by Alloush in her Facebook post, in which she writes: “The child Omran, those who tried to shed Syrian blood misled the news that he was hit by the Syrian Arab Army.
“He now lives in the Syrian state with its army, its leader and its people.”
Alloush has made international headlines when she posted a selfie on her Instagram account of her smiling beside the corpse of a rebel soldier killed during the conflict.
Other Assad-approved news agencies, including the Kremlin-bankrolled Ruptly, also carried out interviews with Omran Daqneesh’s father, with human rights watchdogs questioning whether the young boy is now a propaganda tool being used by the Syrian despot.
In her interview, Alloush reports that Omran’s father changed his son’s name and cut his hair short to protect him from the media spotlight.
“They wanted to trade in his blood and published his photos,” he said, according to Mashable.
Now living in the western half of Aleppo, the Daqneesh family claims that they have turned down requests from rebel groups offering them a path out of Syria, saying that the rebels want to attack the reputation of the country’s army.