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CNN Should Publicly Admit Error in 'Symbol of Aleppo Suffering' Story - Moscow

© REUTERS / Mahmoud Rslan / 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh and his sister sit in an ambulance after being pulled out of a building hit by an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 17, 2016
5-year-old Omran Daqneesh and his sister sit in an ambulance after being pulled out of a building hit by an airstrike in Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, on Thursday asked CNN journalists to convey to chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour the need for the broadcaster to refute its "erroneous" story about Omran Daqneesh, the Syrian boy who was considered by Western media to be a symbol of children suffering in Aleppo.

Five-year-old Omran Daqneesh, with bloodied face, sits inside an ambulance after he was rescued following an airstrike in the rebel-held al-Qaterji neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria August 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
Aleppo Boy Story: Another Example of White Helmets 'Doing What They're Paid for'
MOSCOW (Sputnik) Earlier in June, the RT broadcaster released a two-part interview with Omran Daqneesh's father, Mohammad Kheir Daqneesh, who revealed that the White Helmets volunteers had manipulated injured Omran into being photographed instead of offering immediate help. The volunteers later went on to threaten his father after the family went into hiding to prevent any more unwanted media exposure.

"I have a question: maybe CNN journalists could either collectively or individually talk to their leading host Christiane Amanpour and hint to her that, since she has come to Moscow, shown photos of the boy to the Russian Foreign Ministry, told his story and made corresponding conclusion about the situation in Syria based on that story, maybe they will find it in themselves to refute their stories, saying their previous reports were erroneous," Zakharova said at a press briefing.

The spokeswoman noted that the CNN journalists had not replied to the invitation to visit Aleppo and meet the boy's family.

The footage from August 2016 showed the boy injured and covered in ashes after being rescued from an attack in the militant-controlled Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood. Syrian anti-government forces accused Moscow of conducting an airstrike on the neighborhood, while Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied Western media reports of Russia’s alleged role in the strike, since the residential neighborhood is directly adjacent to the Russian humanitarian operation corridors for the safe exit of local residents.

Konashenkov previously stated that the nature of damage shown by Western media during Omran's rescue demonstrates that if the strike did take place, it could not have come from aircraft munitions, but rather a mine or a gas cylinder, which are often used by terrorists in Syria. The Russian defense ministry's spokesman accused the media of committing a "moral crime" in the "cynical hype" of the volunteers' footage for their "formulaic propaganda material."

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