Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian boy who became a symbol for civilian suffering after the photograph of him sitting covered in airstrike debris went viral, is reportedly being held under house arrest by the Bashar Assad regime.
Photojournalist and opposition activist Mahmoud Rasian, who took the photo of Omran, said Omran and his family are all under house arrest.
“I lost contact with the family of Omran when we were forced out of Aleppo last year. The Assad militia had arrived and his family was guarded under house arrest where they could not be reached by the Western media,” Rasian said. “Their residence was changed and they were put under security.”
Rasian says that his last communication was with a relative in February, who told him the family was under house arrest.
Rasian said that the regime does not want Omran’s family talking with the media. President Assad, for example, told the Swiss media that it was a “forged picture and not a real one.” However, Assad’s wife later acknowledged Omran by name in an interview with Russia Today.
“I think photography sometimes stops Assad a little bit because of the intensity of the international pressure, after the world sees these massacres,” Rasian said.
He said the night he took the photo of Omran, Omran’s building had been razed. He said the scene was chaotic as survivors looked for help from medical staff.
“Omran was in the ambulance exhausted, very shocked at the fall of the rocket near him. When I capture many of the children, they are crying and screaming,” Raslan said. “But Omran was silent, which distinguished him from the rest of children that day.
“I wished that the picture would have stopped the bombing,” he added. “But still, I want the world to know that there are thousands of Omrans suffering. I want the world to see all the children who are being bombed.”
Photo: A boy looks out from a window of his home in the border town of Jarablus, August 31, 2016, Syria. Turkish troops and Turkey-backed rebels have been fighting Kurdish-led forces and IS since Turkey's incursion into Syria on Aug. 24. with the swift capture of Jarablus, a town a few km inside Syria that was held by Islamic State.
Photo courtesy: Defne Karadeniz/Getty Images
Publication date: April 18, 2017