Fake Images of Crisis in Syria’s Madaya Making the Rounds

'New' Image of Starving Child From Last Year, Different City

by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2016

A flurry of new stories surrounding mass starvation in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya, once a popular resort destination, have included some shocking images of starving children, and reports of people surviving on grass and tree leaves.

Even the editors here at Antiwar.com were briefly taken in, posting a story from the normally dependable al-Jazeera which used photographic “evidence” which turned out to be recycled photos from previous incidents.

Al-Jazeera’s top image of a starving child in that story, for instance, is the same child from a YouTube video in Derna, Syria, way back in May, months before the Madaya siege even began.

His isn’t the only image falsely attributed to the current crisis, with el-Akhbar identifying many of the other most high-profile pictures as having previous origins, one as far back as a 2009 picture of a refugee arriving in Europe, and a photo of a starving infant “in Madaya” dating from early 2014, and the infant shown is trapped in the ISIS-occupied Palestinian refugee camp or Yarmouk.

The shocking nature of the images makes for great press, and many are trying to parlay that into a chance to condemn the Syrian government, their Russian allies, and Hezbollah. While there are crises all over Syria and well-documented suffering that has produced millions of refugees, one would think there would not be a need to manufacture phony stories surrounding recycled pictures. For those looking to hype the crisis-du-jour, however, it seems that asking for real photos of the real situation is just too inconvenient, and it’s easier to just re-brand the first starving child you see.

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