Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed Thursday that the iconic photograph of a 5-year-old Syrian boy in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble in Aleppo is a fake. “We have real pictures of children being harmed, but this one specifically is a forged one,” Assad told Swiss TV SRF1, adding it was just a “publicity” move on the part of the Syrian rebels. The image of Omran Daqneesh went viral in August, and the child became a symbol for the suffering of those in Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria as that country’s government, assisted by Russian war planes, continued to bomb rebel-controlled areas of the key city. The photo was a screengrab from a video in which the 5-year-old Omran was pulled from a building in Aleppo and was seen wiping blood from his face.
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