A video and pictures of a 5-year-old boy from Aleppo named Omran Daqneesh sitting in the back of an ambulance, covered in dirt and with blood smeared across his face, has resonated with the public, garnering sympathy from people around the world about the plight in Syria. But not from CCTV. The state media news organization recently published an article titled: “Deliberately shot? Utilizing this opportunity? The video of the young Syrian boy is fake.”
If you haven’t seen the full video, watch here:
CCTV’s reasoning, is that the workers captured in the video are from the “Syrian Civil Defense,” also known as “White Helmet,” a non-governmental grassroots volunteer group that assists civilians. CCTV alleged that Omran’s wounds were severe and the volunteers dared not treat him immediately, so they did the next best thing: set him up on a chair to pose for a picture.
Furthermore, CCTV claims that the White Helmets have numerous clips and pictures like the ones of Omran, and the purpose of creating them is to promote Western interests in Syria and maintain the possibility for intervention. Their rescue videos started as early as 2013, and the group has been accused numerous times of faking civilian casualties for pictures. Though, there hasn’t been much credible evidence against them.
The White Helmets do seem to have an awful lot of pictures with children, but given the fact that the organization helps civilians in the aftermath of airstrikes, that doesn’t seem all that surprising. Also, White Helmet was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the second time last year. Though there are some that used the nominations against the organization.
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) July 29, 2016
The US State Department has provided $23 million worth of funding to the White Helmets, the Washington Post reports. CCTV argues that with the funding, it is apparent that the organization would promote US interests through their work.
The Global Times has published an editorial, stating that Omran is “eligible for an Oscar.” They also pointed out a couple of alleged discrepancies in the video. First of all, the area was just under airstrike, why aren’t the volunteers fearful of another wave? Secondly, Omran has blood all over one side of his face, but why doesn’t he look like he is bleeding? Also, there was no immediate action taken, such as to bandage his head to stop the “bleeding,” they only had him sit there and look at the cameras.
Netizens appeared to have bought the state media’s version of events.
“What’s the name of this little actor?” @银钩碧水透 wrote.
“Everyone is fooled by America and the UK,” @夙愿琥珀 wrote.
“Can’t believe they would do something so evil,” @戚飛_X wrote.
Looks like Chinese people prefer their propaganda to be more direct (and awful).
Russia has been accused of conducting attacks in Aleppo, a civilian area where Omran was injured, RT reports. Xinhua has spoken out, supporting the Russian Defense Minister.
In addition, China, like Russia, is in support of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria. In a recent deal between Beijing and Damascus, the Chinese military pledged to provide “aid and training assistance” to the Syrian government.
But the story doesn’t end here. Mahmoud Raslan was the person who took the video of Omran, and his social media accounts is quite terrifying. The picture below, features Raslan with two known child executioners, part of the “Zenki” militant group who were responsible for the beheading of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy.
Raslan’s caption, “When you see the leaders on the front, know that victory is coming, with God’s permission. From besieged Aleppo, wherein they all have their faces blackened.”
Furthermore, Raslan, a self identified “Syrian media activist,” has praised suicide bombers on social media.
The caption below, “With the suicide fighters, from the land of battles and butchery, from Aleppo of the martyrs, we bring you tidings of impending joy, with God’s permission.”
Much of the area that the White Helmets operates in is controlled by extremist rebel groups. For that, they have often been accused of collaborating with these rebels.
Whether fake or not, there is certainly more to this story than just an injured little boy.
By Sarah Lin
[Images via CCTV // h/t The Canary]