18:39 GMT +323 October 2018
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    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

    Moscow Insists CNN Explain Why it Manipulated Opinions With 'Aleppo Boy' Story

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    The Russian Foreign Ministry submitted an official letter to CNN urging the broadcaster to clarify to their audience the "global mass manipulation of public opinion" with the use of the image of Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh, who has been touted by Western media as a symbol of civilian suffering in Aleppo, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) CNN host Christiane Amanpour showed the photograph of Daqneesh in her October interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, saying that it illustrated "a crime against humanity."

    "Yesterday afternoon we sent an official letter to the CNN office with a reminder about the channel's leading host Amanpour's manipulation of public opinion during an interview with Sergey Lavrov ahead of the US election… Taking into account the [size of] CNN's audience, it was a global mass manipulation," Zakharova said at a briefing.

    Zakharova stressed that both the channel and the host should explain the situation to their audience in whatever manner than deem fit. The ministry spokeswoman also called on CNN and Amanpour for a direct dialogue in order to correct this "flagrant fraud."

    In August 2016, photos and videos of Omran Daqneesh, shot by the White Helmets non-governmental organization, were published by several Western media outlets. The footage showed Omran injured and covered in ashes after being rescued from an attack in the militant-controlled Karm al-Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo. The boy was publicized by Western media as a symbol of Aleppo's civilian suffering, with some news outlets accusing Moscow of conducting the airstrike in question.

    Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov denied the reports of Russia’s alleged role in the Karm al-Qaterji strike, since the residential neighborhood is directly adjacent to the Russian humanitarian operation corridors for the safe exit of local residents.

    Earlier in June, the RT broadcaster released a two-part interview with the boy'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.

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    manipulation, CNN, Maria Zakharova, Russia
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