Viral picture of Syrian boy is fake, Assad says
The image has been called a symbol of Syria's bloody civil war, now in it sixth year, including by the interviewer speaking with Assad.
"Of course I saw it," Assad said of the image, speaking to Swiss TV SRF1. "This is a forged picture and not a real one."
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Assad said that he has seen many images of victims, including children, since the war began. But he alleged this particular image, that has since become famous, is a forgery.
"We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one," Assad said.
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"Aleppo has been under siege for the last four years by the terrorists, and we haven't heard a question by Western journalists about what's happening in Aleppo that time," Assad complained. "We haven't heard a single statement by Western officials regarding the children of Aleppo."
ABC News says that medical examiners reported to them Daqneesh was treated for injuries following an August airstrike. Mahmoud Rslan and Mustafa Sarout, the photographer and videographer involved in taking the picture, corroborate such an account.
"While taking the photo at looking at the boy, I was crying," said Sarout. "He was just looking at us with a strange look, as if he was wondering what happened to his family."
The boy's mother and father survived the strike, but an older brother died days later in a hospital from injuries sustained, Time reports.