Safety fears after Aleppo boy's family heads back home
THE family of the injured five-year-old boy became a symbol of the regime bombing of Aleppo has returned to the ruins of their home despite fears from their neighbours that President Bashar al-Assad will take revenge on them.
Friends fear for the safety of the Daqneesh family, which includes Omran (pictured), the boy filmed in August being pulled out from the rubble of their home.
One of his three brothers died in the bombing.
Although Omran's father and his uncle support the Assad regime, friends said they were fearful because the images of the injured Omran became powerful propaganda for the rebels.
At the time, Mr Assad said that the images were faked by the rescue group known as the White Helmets and that Omran did not exist.
The friends said that they had not heard from the family recently, increasing fears that the regime has made contact with them.
"A woman about 10 days ago said they saw Omran's father trying to clear out the home which was destroyed. He was trying to repair it," said Abu Jassim, a resident of Aleppo and an aid worker who has been trying to locate the family. He said that they initially fled to a government-run displacement camp southeast of the city.
Ayman Zazaa, a medic from Aleppo, and Motaz Khattab, an activist, confirmed to The Times that the family had returned home to the regime areas. But activists involved in the Daqneeshes' rescue said that the news had made them very concerned.