Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Says Infamous Photo of Bloodied Boy Is a Fake

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the now infamous photo of a traumatized, bloodied, and dust-covered five-year-old boy sitting in the back of an ambulance, a casualty of bombings in Aleppo, is a fake.

“This is a forged picture and not a real one,” he told a Swiss reporter in an interview released this week. “We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one.”

The details of the photo’s origin are well reported. Time magazine writes:

Mahmoud Rslan, the photographer, recalled a chaotic scene in the rebel-held Qaterji neighborhood. The father was bleeding. The mother was in pajamas. Part of the building had been reduced to rubble. There were other bodies on the ground. After the boy was placed in the ambulance, he said, “while taking the photo at looking at the boy, I was crying.” Mustafa al-Sarout, the videographer, said the boy, his face covered in blood and dust, was traumatized. “He was just looking at us with a strange look, as if he was wondering what happened to his family.”

The boy’s name is Omran Daqneesh. The harrowing image made international news in August. Assad told the reporter that he had seen the photo, “Of course.”

[images: Assad via Wikicommons; Daqneesh via screengrab]

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