Mahmoud Raslan, whose photo of a child injured in an Aleppo airstrike went viral, has refuted allegations of involvement with extremists who beheaded a 13-year old boy in the city.
Raslan, who has conducted interviews with several international and regional media outlets, is a self-proclaimed media activist affiliated with the Aleppo Media Centre, an opposition news media organisation. The group is described by the New York Times as “a longstanding group of antigovernment activists and citizen journalists who document the conflict”.
Raslan’s now iconic photo of Syrian boy Omran Daqneesh went viral – provoking shock and sadness while intense fighting takes place in and around the city of Aleppo.
In an interview with Al Bawba, Raslan claimed no knowledge of the men behind the brutal beheading of 13-year old Palestinian teenager Abdullah Tayseer.
Raslan said; “I would never work with any group that disagrees with my personal beliefs, but sometimes we have to take pictures with them,” adding “I normally take hundreds of selfies with whoever I see on the fronts. We who work in press take hundreds of pictures that we keep in our archives.”
Members of US-backed militant group reportedly received US-made anti-tank missiles in 2014-2015 who were videoed during the execution, later appeared in videos during clashes in the city of Aleppo.
Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki condemned the execution and claimed it was an “individual mistake that does not represent the general policy of the group”. It claimed that it had also detained all of those involved having established a judicial committee to investigate the incident and issue a verdict “as soon as possible”.
Responding to the boy’s beheading, Raslan said:
“I don’t know who killed the boy, and I don’t know [al-Zinky’s] leadership closely. I’m a journalist who works with Al-Jazeera. I’m a freelancer.”