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Video shows Syria blast victim, not child dying from Covid-19 vaccination


Author(s): AFP Fact Check

Dramatic footage of a distressed man crying over to the body of a dead child circulated in social media posts worldwide in January 2022. In Poland, it was captioned with a claim that the child, an 11-year-old boy, died after receiving an “experimental” Covid-19 vaccine. However, the journalist who filmed the footage has confirmed that the video shows a girl killed by a bomb in Syria in October 2021. Furthermore, a spokesperson for UNICEF told AFP that no children in Syria had received Covid-19 vaccines as of mid-January 2022.

ATTENTION: This article contains distressing images

“An 11-year-old boy dies after receiving an experimental injection. The desperate father doesn’t know what to do. This is how experiments on innocent children end, think before you decide something,” reads a January 10  post on Facebook in Polish. It was shared some 2,000 times in two days.

Screenshot from Facebook take on January 13, 2022.

The same video, with a similar claim, appeared in several Facebook groups ( here , here ). It was also popular with  Portuguese and English-speaking  social media users. as well as in South Korea.

However, verification of the recording by AFP revealed that the child’s death was not related to the pandemic.

Blast victim

A reverse search using the InVID tool found the original video footage was posted on October 22 , 2021 on the Twitter account of Ali Haj Suleiman, a photographer covering the conflict in Syria. The post states the video was shot in the village of “Ariha, south of the city of Idlib in northwest Syria, where 12 people died, including four children, a woman.”

Suleiman rejected claims that the video showed an 11-year-old boy who died after receiving a Covid vaccine in a Twitter post on January 6.

“This video attached below, I filmed in Ariha-Idlib, is circulated on social media in Brazil as a child died after receiving CV19 vaccine in different areas around world”, he wrote.

“It was of a girl who was killed on 20/10/2021 as a result of the bombing caused by the Syrian regime war.”

AFP reported on the incident here.

“Shelling by the Syrian army killed eight people, five of them civilians, Wednesday in the northwestern region of Idlib controlled by jihadist-led rebels, a war monitor reported”, the report reads.

“Rockets struck a busy area of the town of Ariha, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that at least two children were among those killed.”

“The shelling, which hit the war-ravaged town at a time when children were heading to school, also wounded at least 26 people.”

Polish media (here , here ) as well as the Polish Medical Mission, the United Nations and Human Rights Watch also wrote about the attack.

On October 21, on Twitter, a Syrian civil defense group known as the White Helmets published a two-minute video showing the victims of the same attack. A comparison of both films showing identical furniture, a corridor, the same people, shows that we see the same girl in them. From the description of the film of the White Helmets, we learn that the girl’s name was Remas and that she was killed while going to school. Three other children on their way to school were also killed.

On January 13, we contacted photographer Ali Haj Suleiman, who confirmed in an e-mail to AFP that the same girl named Remas can be seen in both videos. She was ten.

“The man we see in the film who laments the body of a child is one of the relatives, not the father. The girl’s father was killed with her in the same attack,” added the photographer.

Syria vaccine drive

“Children in Syria have not received vaccines against Covid-19”, Juliette S. Touma, spokeswoman for UNICEF which supports vaccine supply in Syria, told AFP on January 11, 2022.

A UNICEF report at the end of October 2021 — after the original footage was posted online — states only people aged 30 and over had been vaccinated at the time.

“The very low vaccination rates across Syria are driven by the low availability of the vaccine”, the report states.

In conclusion, the claim that the video shows the body of an 11-year-old boy who died after being vaccinated against Covid-19 is false. The recording shows the body of a girl, the victim of a rocket attack that took place on October 20, 2021, in Syria.

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Originally published here.
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