The photo of Omran Daqneesh has become nothing short of iconic, and a testament to the tragic state of affairs in Syria. An innocent child sitting alone, drenched in dust and blood, the boy opened the eyes of the world to the real cost of conflict in Syria.
Recently, Omran’s father, Mohammed Kheir Daqneesh, says that rebels took the iconic picture for propaganda.
He talks about the terrifying day which began like any other – sitting with his son on his lap and playing with his smartphone when the missile hit. Young Omran ran to his room, while his father lost his bearings because of the immense smoke. Hearing Omran’s voice, he grabbed his son and took him to a safe room.
The rebels began filming Omran while his father was still in the house. “I was busy saving my family”, he said, “while the rebels seized the opportunity and filmed my family when they were getting out of the house, for the sake of propaganda.”
“They wanted to trade in his blood and published his photos,” he said, adding that they shaved his son’s head to try to disguise him and shield him from media attention.
Omran’s image was widely used to illustrate the brutality of the Assad regime as it tried to crush the opposition in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. But his family are reported to have remained loyal to the regime throughout the siege.
Thankfully, Omran survived with just minor injuries and is now a safe and healthy young boy.
The Syrian conflict still rages on, with the biggest victims of the civil war being the innocent lives that are displaced and lost every day.
Editor’s note: The Muslim Vibe cannot verify whether or not this statement made by the father was made under pressure.