New Delhiinfo-icon: Powerful images defining the horrors of warinfo-icon in Syriainfo-icon are proliferating wildly on social mediainfo-icon and are increasingly finding spaceinfo-icon in the mainstream mediainfo-icon as well to galvanize support for the retreating rebels who are backed by the Western countries, including the United Statesinfo-icon.

The fresh media blitzkrieg began after Syrian armyinfo-icon and its allies began pushing into the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta near Damascus early on February after the capital city was subjected to repeated mortar attacks from the enclave.

Hundreds of images have flooded social media since, maintaing global spotlight on Syria, of which scores went viral.


A tweet by one Sami Sharbek has garnered over 130,000 retweets and 158,000 likes, clearly indicating the impact these images had.

The images used, however, are neither recent nor even from Syria for that matter.

This image is an undated image from Gazainfo-icon credited to the EPA, which reportedly shows Israeli jets on a bombing run.

Another picture of a man carrying his child too was projected as being from Syria but this picture was captured somewhere in Mosulinfo-icon on 4 March 2017.

Earlier when Aleppo was about to be liberated by the Syrian Arab Army social media exploded with gory and harrowing images of dust-laden toddlers and crying injured all result of alleged Syrian onslaught.

These false images and videos portraying death and destruction not only made gullible people fall prey to propaganda but also diminished the reality of those actually suffering on the ground in Syria.

While photographers risk their lives to show the real impact of the war on people in conflictinfo-icon zones, these false circulated images have shown the pitfalls.

For example, when a young Syrian boy with his blood- and dust-covered face appeared across the internetinfo-icon last year, it stunned the worldinfo-icon.

The haunting image showed Omran Daqneesh sitting on an orange chair inside an ambulance covered in blood and dust, came to symbolize the plight of civilians besieged by government forces in eastern Aleppo when his family's home was allegedly bombed in August.

His blank, almost unfazed expression in the photo resonated with countless people across the globe, leading it to go viral in a matter of days.

The child was reportedly rescued along with his three siblings and parents by the controversial civil defense rescuers, known as White Helmets.

Daqneesh and his family later appeared on news channels supporting the Syrian army. His family rubbished media claims of it being victim of the state but accused rebels of being behind the carnage.

Another image of a child purportedly lying between his parents' graves in Syria that went viral on Facebookinfo-icon and Twitterinfo-icon was actually a staged photo taken as part of an artinfo-icon project.

The graves were not graves but piles of stones, the orphan was not an orphan but the photographer's nephew, and the image itself was actually taken in Saudi Arabiainfo-icon.

The truth behind the picture, which was appropriated by people on social networks to reflect the tragic situation in Syria, was unearthed by Harald Doornbos, who interviewed the photographer Abdul Aziz al Otaibi on his blog.

Al-Otaibi said he was shocked by how the picture had been 'twisted', given that he made it very clear that the graves were fake when he posted it on Facebook.

"Look, it's not true at all that my picture has anything to do with Syria," he said. "I am really shocked how people have twisted my picture.""I am really very annoyed by this. It is just not fair to take one of my photos totally out of context and use it for your own propaganda."


Al-Otaibi messaged the first Twitter user to re-purpose the image, @americanbadu, to ask them to correct it and explain why they claimed it was of Syria.

He received the response: "Why don't you just let go and claim it is a picture of Syria and gain a reward from God."

The most notorious hoax picture, which has been shared thousands of times on Twitter and Facebook, features a girl running through a debris-filled street. The caption reads "Girl running to survive, all her family have been killed. It's not in Hollywoodinfo-icon. This real in Syria."

In fact, the image was cut from a 2014 Lebanese pop video.

A small girl holding a teddy bear in a white dress marked by blood splotches with the ruins of Aleppo behind her was destined to be an iconic image. But according to Egyptian authorities, it was also a set-up, shot hundreds of miles away in a different country.

Egyptinfo-icon's Interior Ministry has revealed on its Facebook page that it arrested a group of five people caught in the act of producing images purportedly depicting scenes of suffering in Aleppo that they had planned to pass off as real pictures from Syria.

Another video, called "Executions have begun in the middle of the street in Aleppo," which has also been widely shared, depicts supposed government forces allegedly taking out retribution on civilians. In reality, the video datesinfo-icon back from 2012, and contains unverified images.

The images circulating on social media portraying death and destruction out of the Syria, critics suggest are part of a propaganda war, aimed at creating a 'humanitarian' excuse for Western countries to intervene directly in Syria.

To help, many Twitter users have posted an instructional video from FirstDraftNews, a non-profit that confronts trust and authenticity issues in the age of digital journalism.

The video, shared under #BreakingAleppo and #FakeNews, encourages Twitter users to first do a quick reverse image search before retweeting. It references a 2015 photo of "al-Qaeda militants in Homs, Syria," which was actually a photo of Malian militants in 2012.

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