Old video from Syria misattributed to Palestine amid Israel-Hamas conflict

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
October 25 2023

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Old video from Syria misattributed to Palestine amid Israel-Hamas conflict

Screenshots of the viral claim that a video depicts children being rescued in Palestine amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

A 2019 video from Ma'arrat Nu'man, Syria, of volunteer organization White Helmets has been misattributed to Palestine amid the Israel-Hamas war.

Claim ID 5c241ce2

What's the claim?

A 30-second video depicting children trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building is circulating on social media, with claims it originates in Palestine. The video shows distressed children inside and outside the damaged structure, with individuals rushing to rescue them from debris. The video also features an audio track of a song and captures a person holding a camera as they rescue a child who is inside a structure, lying on the ground and crying.

On X (formerly as Twitter), a user posted the video with a Hindi caption, "कहाँ है दुनिया के वो हुक्मरान जो इंसाफ़ की बड़ी बड़ी बातें करते हैं ले किन जब ज़ुल्म होता है किसी मज़लूम पर तो चुप रहते है अल्लाह फ़िलिस्तीन की गैब से मदद फ़रमा आमीन #FreePalaestine," which translates to, "Where are those rulers of the world who talk big about justice but when there is oppression of the oppressed they remain silent. May Allah help Palestine from heaven, Amen #FreePalaestine." The archived version of such posts can be seen here and here.

Screenshot of claim circulating online. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video can be traced back to May 2019 and was first shared by the White Helmets, a volunteer organization, mentioning that it showed events in Ma'arrat Nu'man, Syria.

What are the facts?

Upon conducting a reverse image search of the keyframes, we discovered an extended version of the footage in a Facebook post dated May 2019. This video lasts 1 minute 20 seconds, with the viral segment spanning 0:13-0:38-second mark. The post's caption said: "More children targeted by Assad bombs from the sky in #Idlib. Just look at how many children are injured SYRIA  ON 30 MAY 2019.”

The Facebook video features individuals in yellow uniforms and white helmets at various timestamps, particularly at 0:02 and 0:54. In this video, we observed the words "The White Helmets" on a man's shirt at around the 0:01 minute timestamp.

Screenshots from the Facebook video show individuals in uniform, with one person's uniform prominently bearing the "The White Helmets" inscription. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

"The White Helmets," officially known as Syria Civil Defence, is a volunteer humanitarian organization. Its key objectives in Syria include urban search and rescue operations, ensuring the safe evacuation of civilians from dangerous areas, and delivering essential services. 

Upon searching, we found that a longer and better quality version of the viral video, extending to one minute and 20 seconds, was originally posted on X by the White Helmets on May 31, 2019. Furthermore, the post specifies that the video originates from Ma'arrat Nu'man, a town located within the Idlib Governorate in northwestern Syria. 

Screenshot of the White Helmets X post from May 31, 2019. (Source: The White Helmets/Screenshot)

Moreover, we noted that the jackets worn by those engaged in rescuing children in the viral video resemble the distinctive yellow and dark blue attire of the White Helmets, as seen on their Facebook page.

Screenshots of images posted on Facebook by The White Helmets featuring their volunteers wearing their jackets. (Source: The White Helmets/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Logically Facts has contacted the White Helmets for a comment. This fact-check will be updated if and when we receive a response.

Syrian conflict in 2019 

In May 2019, Reuters reported that in Syria's rebel-held northwest, a Syrian government offensive backed by Russia resulted in a considerable loss of life and forced over 150,000 people to flee the region. 

On May 30, 2019, Al Jazeera reported that Syrian government warplanes had once more launched an attack on the final rebel-held enclave in Syria. This airstrike destroyed a building and led to the loss of five lives, among them three members of a single family. The report also detailed the response by the White Helmets, who swiftly deployed their volunteers to save survivors and retrieve the bodies of victims trapped beneath the debris in Ma'arrat Nu'man.

The verdict

A cropped segment from an older video, dating back to May 2019, has been shared with a claim that it originated from Palestine. The original version, shared by the White Helmets, explicitly states that it pertains to Ma'arrat Nu'man, a town in Syria’s Idlib province. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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