Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed on Wednesday that the viral photo of a 5-year-old Syrian boy in an ambulance after being pulled out of rubble in the war-torn city of Aleppo is fake.
That same photo was cited by Hillary Clinton during the last presidential debate on Wednesday night when she was defending her policy on immigration.
“We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one,” Assad told Swiss TV SRF1.
The Syrian president said that there is evidence that the young boy, Omran Daqneesh, and his sister were rescued on two separate occasions by a U.S. & NATO funded nongovernmental organization known as the White Helmets, in what he called “part of the publicity of the White Helmets.”
The image of the bloodied young boy went viral in August, and has become a symbol in the west for the suffering of those who are tied up in the violence in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.
Assad described the White Helmets as a “facelift” of the Al-Nusra terrorist organization and that none of the incidents where Omran Daqneesh and sister were rescued were true.
21st Century Wire contributor Vanessa Beeley wrote about the White Helmets in September:
With over $60 million in their back pocket courtesy of USAID, the UK Foreign Office and various EU nations like the Netherlands, this group is possibly one of the most feted and funded entities within the west’s anti-Syrian NGO complex, a pivotal part of the clandestine shadow state building enterprise inside of Syria.
Like many other ‘NGOs’, the White Helmets have been deployed by the west to derail the Syrian state, first by undermining existing civic structures and by disseminating staged PR to facilitate regime change propaganda, through western and Gulf state media outlets. Despite the fact that they were started, and are still generously funded by NATO members states, particularly from the US and UK, the White Helmets’ official statement still claims categorically that they are somehow “fiercely independent” and “have accepted no money from governments, corporations or anyone directly involved in the Syrian conflict“. This is both farcical and deeply misleading.
As analyzed by Melissa Dykes of TruthsteamMedia.com, the video where the photograph of the Syrian boy comes from was produced by the Allepo Media Center, a group that has been long outed as a pro-al Nusra source of war propaganda.
Watch Melissa’s analysis of the origins of the boy’s photo below:
During the Presidential debate on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton used the image of the boy as a way to push her immigration agenda.
“I am not going to let anyone into this country who is not vetted, who we do not have confidence in. But I am not going to slam the door on women and children. That picture of that little 4-year-old boy in Aleppo, with the blood coming down his face while he sat in an ambulance, is haunting. And so we are going to do very careful, thorough vetting,” Clinton said.
Clinton is either totally unaware how the picture of the Syrian boy was produced or was demagoguing in order to make her proposals more appealing.
Assad went on to tell Swiss TV SRF1 on Wednesday that there is only one reason why western media has been highlighting Aleppo in its coverage of Syria, and that is because the western-backed rebels are losing ground inside the city against the Syrian Army.
“The whole hysteria in the west about Aleppo, for one reason, not because Aleppo is under siege, Aleppo has been under siege for the last four years by the terrorists and you haven’t heard a question by western journalists about what’s happening in Aleppo,” Assad said. “And we haven’t heard a single statement by Western officials regarding the children of Aleppo. Now, they are talking about Aleppo recently just because the terrorists are in a bad shape. This is the only reason, because the Syrian Army are making advancement, and the Western countries – mainly the United States and its allies like UK and France – feeling that they are losing the last cards of terrorism in Syria, and the main bastion of that terrorism today is Aleppo.”