Old photo of woman in a destroyed building in Syria linked to Israel-Hamas war

By: Praveen Kumar
November 16 2023

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Old photo of woman in a destroyed building in Syria linked to Israel-Hamas war

An old photo of a woman walking down the stairs of a destroyed building in Syria has been shared on social media, claiming to be from Palestine. (Source: X/Screenshots/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

This is a photo titled “Mother,” taken in Syria by Hassan Ghaedi, which won a photojournalism award in 2020.

Claim ID ac5152f9

What's the claim?
Against the backdrop of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, many photos of destroyed buildings are being shared on social media. One such photo is of a woman wearing a burqa carrying a toy car and descending the stairs of a destroyed building, with social media users claiming it is from Palestine. American political commentator Jackson Hinke shared the photo with the caption, "You CANNOT BREAK the Palestinian spirit." Hashtags like #GazaHolocaust were also shared with this image.

This claim has gained over a million views on X. Archived posts can be found here, here, and here.

This photo has been shared on social media as being from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. (Source: X/Screenshots) 

However, this is an old photo from Syria and is unrelated to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

What we found
A reverse image search of the viral photo led us to the Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA) website, where the exact picture can be found. SIPA is a photography contest held by the non-profit association Art Photo Travel. The photo is in the 2020 gallery under the category Documentary & Photojournalism. According to the details on the website, it was an entry in the 2020 competition. The photo was featured on the website in the subcategory of "Remarkable Artwork." The photo's title is "Mother," its description reads, "Homs, Syria's third largest city, had been involved in war for four years. A mother who returned home after the end of the conflict, found her child's toy car in their destroyed house."

The viral photo is not recent, and it won a photojournalism award in 2020. (Source: Siena International Photo Awards/Screenshot)

It was photographed by an Iranian freelance photographer named Hassan Ghaedi. According to his website, Siena International Photo Awards, and LensCulture, Ghaedi is based in Tehran and has taken photos across Syria, Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan during wars and earthquakes since at least 2004.

The same photo is also available on the stock image website Alamy. According to the details of the image, it was taken on June 17, 2012. The Syrian civil war that began in 2011 has left the country in a constant state of crisis. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, as of 2023, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed, and more than half the country's prewar population - about 13 million people, have been displaced.

The photo can be purchased on the stock-image website Alamy. (Source: Alamy/Screenshot)

Logically Facts has also contacted Ghaedi for more details on the photo. This fact-check will be updated if and when we receive a response.

Although many visuals of destruction and loss shared on social media are from Gaza, Palestine, this particular image is not from the ongoing war.

The verdict
An award-winning photograph of a destroyed building and a woman walking down its stairs from Syria has been incorrectly captioned as being from Palestine and shared widely on social media. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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