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Omran: The boy who has known nothing but war
02:30 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Interview with family of young boy made famous by injuries sustained in Aleppo aired by Syrian TV

Omran Daqneesh's father alleges that the rebel groups tried to use his son's image for propaganda purposes

CNN  — 

Omran Daqneesh, the boy whose bloodied, dusty face became the image suffering in rebel-held Aleppo, is once again appearing on video clips being shared worldwide.

This time, he appears fresh-faced, his hair neatly brushed, in interviews filmed by pro-Syrian government news agencies, and aired in countries that back the Syrian regime. Pro-Syrian channels from Lebanon, Russia and Iran joined Syrian media for the interviews.

In one interview, Omran’s father Mohammed accuses rebel groups and international media of using the bloodied photos of his son as propaganda tools.

“We were very harmed because of the gunmen and how they used things to their benefit with my child,” he told Ruptly, a video news agency owned by Kremlin-backed news channel Russia Today.

“Thank god, he was only slightly wounded. Thank god after the army advanced and retook these areas; we are now back in our homes. The situation now is very good, thank god.”

It’s not known if Daqneesh or his father gave the interviews under duress, but the Syrian government is known to keep tight control on information within the country.

The image of Omran Daqneesh taken last August (left), and how he appeared in Syrian TV interviews.

Pro-opposition journalist Musa Omar said that Daqneesh was speaking to the cameras under duress.

“Please don’t say anything about Omran’s father, he is not pro-regime,” he said. “He is a hostage, he is a prisoner under the regime control, forced to say every single word in this interview.”

‘Face of Aleppo’

Omran caught the world’s attention when he was filmed, dazed, sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble of his family’s home last August, after an apparent regime or Russian airstrike.

He is silent despite the cacophony around him, and reaches up to touch his bloodied temple. He pulls his hand away, sticky with blood, and looks at it uncomprehendingly.

“He was in extreme shock,” a spokesman for the Aleppo Media Center, an activist group, said at the time. He was taken to hospital but released shortly after.

Rescue workers at the time said several other people were killed and many more wounded by the airstrike, including women and children. Omran’s 10-year-old brother Ali was among the dead.