Syria's President Says This Iconic Photo Is Fake

Interviewer confronts Assad with haunting image
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2016 5:41 AM CDT
Updated Oct 21, 2016 6:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad apparently believes there's such a big shortage of injured children in his country that people have to forge photos of them. In an interview with a Swiss television station this week, the leader was confronted with a haunting photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh, who was injured in an August airstrike in Aleppo. "I think you know this picture. His name is Omran and he is 5 years old," the interviewer said. "Scared, covered in blood, traumatized. Is there anything you would like to say to Omran and his family?" In response, Assad slammed the White Helmet rescuers and claimed: "This is a forged picture and not a real one."

Omran's rescue was caught on video, and doctors have confirmed that they treated him. He "was scared and dazed at the same time. He wasn't crying at all. It seemed like he had been asleep when it happened," a surgeon told ABC News. Omran had an easily treated scalp wound, but his 10-year-old brother died of injuries suffered in the same airstrike. In the Swiss interview, Assad said getting rid of "terrorists" in Aleppo was the only way to protect civilians. "I'm not attacking people; I'm defending the people," he said. (Weeks before protests against his rule began in 2011, Assad insisted Syria would remain stable because he was meeting the people's needs.)

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