OMG! Childen died in Syria (or did they?)



One of the problems with automated news services like AP, AFP and Reuters is that it just takes one photo and non-substantiated text in one unattributed article and it’s around the world on every damn news site and a lot of newspapers and TV channels. ? This particular photo even made it here, but I intend to not react viscerally; I intend to dissect it.

First, credit where it is due, the caption on the photo above admits the child being carried is alive.

Bombs dropped by suspected Russian warplanes have killed at least 12 Syrian school children in a rebel-held town in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Suspected, ?and “at least 12” school children. ?Seriously? ?How hard is it to count up to 12? ?And who are the?Syrian Observatory for Human Rights?

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (also known as SOHR; Arabic: ?????? ?????? ????? ????????) founded in May 2006 is an information office documenting human rights abuses in the Syrian Civil War. The SOHR is frequently quoted by major news media since the beginning of the uprising, such as Voice of America, Reuters,BBC, CNN and National Public Radio, about daily numbers of ISIL/ISIS fighters and civilians killed in airstrikes in Syria.

The United Kingdom-based SOHR is run out of a two-bedroom terraced home in Coventry by Rami Abdulrahman,?a Syrian Sunni Muslim who also runs a clothes shop.

SOHR has been accused of selective reporting, covering only violent acts of the government forces against the opposition for the first two years of its existence. Although critics concede that its reports have become less partisan, critics interviewed by AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Roman Catholic Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, charge that as of 2013 SOHR “continues to defend Islamic extremists to avoid losing support among rebel forces”.

Charlie Skeltom, in a 2012 opinion piece in The Guardian, questioned the wisdom of those who quote a source that amounts to nothing more than a lone clothes seller, living in Coventry, posing as an organisation with a “grandiose” name.

SOHR’s methodology for counting civilian victims has been questioned by Patrick Henningsen on Russia Today as the organisation includes opposition combatants among the number of civilian casualties, as long as these are not former members of the military. — Wikipedia

So, a?”lone clothes seller, living in Coventry, posing as an organisation with a grandiose name” has the ability to inject unconfirmed information directly into our news. ?In this case, through Mediaworks. ? Let’s continue to look at the article.

A teacher also died and there were reports of others wounded, some critically, the monitor said.

Social media footage released by opposition activists showed a classroom with destroyed benches and textbooks lying on the floor stained with blood. The footage could not be independently verified.

A teacher died. ?Some are wounded. ?Apparently – because opposition activist photos on social media showed a destroyed classroom and a floor stained with blood. ? The footage could not be independently verified. ? So we don’t know who died, how many kids, and if the red stuff was really human blood or not. ?The photo we have is of?one child – alive – being carried.

So what’s the problem with this? ? Our lone clothes seller has clearly indicated it is all rumour, nothing is confirmed, and it may all be a load of propaganda.

Well, the problem is that this is what you see


You see the headline, and you see the photo. ?And you don’t read the article in any depth. ?That’s what people do. ?And what is your impression? ? Those indiscriminate nasty Russians are killing school kids.

When the real story is off social media, not confirmed, the only photo is staged (have you ever seen fighting-age men in the middle of a war zone completely without weapons?), and the whole thing stinks.

The world’s news consumers don’t have the time or inclination to go behind every story and research the veracity, and simply?trust their news provider to have done that for them.

This is how the original story of the washed-up little refugee child corpse on the beach took off as well. ? Emotive photos, children, half a story and not confirmed. Yet it’s around the world in milliseconds.

This is meant to make us feel uneasy about fighting ISIS, because there will be civilian and child casualties. ? And this is your own media feeding you the guilt trip. ? In an ideal world, children don’t get killed – in a war or otherwise. ?But we’re fighting an evil that is throwing gays off buildings, killing women after they were raped for ‘shaming the family’, public beheadings, burning people alive, and the clear stated intent to come and kill us all so they can install a worldwide Caliphate.

No guilt here. ?Bomb them, bomb them hard. ?And if they are dumb enough to leave their kids in a war zone, then whatever happens, happens.

But let’s just remember that 3 News assisted a single human in a rented flat in the UK to serve you up this completely unconfirmed story as fact.


– Reuters, via 3 News