Under the banner “My Homeland”, Hagop Vanesian, an Armenian-Syrian, opened a photograph exhibition at U.N. Headquarters in New York. The photos, according to the claims of the opposition groups, were pro-Assad as the photographer allegedly had been embedded with the regime forces in Aleppo at the time he took the photos.
The U.N. representative of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, Najib Ghadban, called the photographer a propagandist.
“I just photographed the suffering of the people,” Vanesian told AP in response to Ghadbian’s remarks. However, the exhibition was reportedly sponsored by the Syrian regime.
The exhibition was displayed yesterday including the photos of the ruined Aleppo, including captions that mentioned “terror groups.” The Syrian regime calls the opposition ‘terrorist.’
The photographer, Vanesian, also said some of the groups, fighting in Aleppo against the regime, were labeled as terrorist by the Western countries as well. However, the opposition group’s representative was frustrated and called the U.N. to “correct this grave mistake.”
A spokeswoman for Ghadban, Katie Guzzi, said they had not had an official response from the U.N. Ghadban said the photos painted Syria’s government as a victim, not an aggressor.
In the letter sent by the opposition representative to the U.N. it was said that “The Syrian Mission uses Mr. Vanesian’s photography to whitewash the regime’s war crimes and perpetuate its narrative: that it is a victim rather than the primary perpetrator of death and destruction in Syria.”
“Indeed Mr. Vanesian has praised Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad and uses his photographs to tell a false story of the Assad’s self-proclaimed humanitarianism. In thanks for his pro-regime activities, Mr. Vanesian was awarded access to and was at times embedded with Syrian regime forces in Aleppo. Mr. Vanesian’s photographs included images of the destruction and suffering in Syria, the undeniable consequence of the Assad regime’s brutal war on the Syrian people.”
According to the United Nations, more than 200,000 people have been killed since the start of the nearly four-year war in Syria, while millions have been forced to flee.
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