Former BBC employee: Saving Syria’s Children was “stage managed”


A scene from Saving Syria’s Children

A former BBC employee has provided the following statement regarding the 2013 Panorama programme Saving Syria’s Children:

As soon as I saw Saving Syria’s Children I knew it was stage managed, far too many red flags shown in the piece throughout.

It was obvious to me that the casualties had been dressed up using CASSIM [Casualty Simulation] [1].

CASSIM is used to simulate visible injuries used for moulage training. It wasn’t even well done and very amateurish, it was over dramatised [2], the alleged casualties did not show the correct signs/symptoms of individuals who had been caught up in a chemical attack nor that of individuals suffering from the effects of chemical burns or that of those subjected to the blast/detonation/spread of the alleged detonation of a large munition [3].

It also struck me that none of the doctors/medical staff in the report were wearing PPE, which would be standard if there really was a suspected chemical attack.

Although I’d left the BBC by then I spoke with various contacts I had and told them I was appalled at what I’d just seen. I got generic responses, ums and ahs mostly. I was shocked by the lack of accountability and integrity shown by a main stream media organisation.

I also showed the report to medical professionals including a dermatologist. They all responded similarly that it was ludicrous, burns victims would not behave in the way that was shown, plus the treatment being shown for the management of burns was incorrect, and the doctor shown in the interview would have known this, yet at no time was she directing/advising anyone in the correct procedures. Even within a conflict zone the basics would have been available.

I knew Ian Pannell some years prior. He was an exceptional journalist, a good guy who stated the facts. But the agenda is driven by producers and editors, especially foreign desk editors and department heads. In my experience there is also influence from outside from the civil service.

However it came about, I found it pretty disgraceful. It was evident there was an agenda. Tugging at the heartstrings is one thing, but news gathering should not be stage managed. It’s known that Ian Pannell left the BBC some time afterwards, which is sometimes what happens after a bad story, however it’s unknown as to whether this was the case and may have been a longer term career move.

Another red flag was the emblems for designated terrorist organisations on the vehicles [4]. I [was] observing ISIS and other group elements in Syria during that time and they were prevalent in that area. So why was it possible for the BBC team to be filming in that location at that exact time, it wasn’t coincidental.

A lot of things do not ring true about that report and there are a lot of questions to be asked of the BBC. But as ever to save face amongst those that digest the news from the media, I’d say they will never raise their hands and admit or acknowledge that the event was stage managed.

This testimony is discussed in this April 2020 interview with the author of this blog, Robert Stuart, conducted by former BBC and ITV journalist Anna Brees:

The former BBC employee’s statement is consistent with observations made by author and human rights activist Craig Murray:

Finally, it is worth noting that this Gdansk experience was one of a number which led me immediately to understand that the famous BBC report on “Saving Syria’s Children” was faked. The alleged footage of burns victims in hospital following a napalm attack bears no resemblance whatsoever to how victims, doctors and relatives actually behave in these circumstances.

In 2019 actor Keith Allen fronted a crowdfunding campaign to produce a documentary investigating Saving Syria’s Children. The campaign was featured on Talk Radio’s Matthew Wright Show.

A copy of Saving Syria’s Children is available on Vimeo. [5] The most contentious sequence commences at 30:38.

For more analysis of Saving Syria’s Children see the home page of this blog.


[1] See HOSPEX injury simulation techniques.

[2] See Tableau of alleged male casualties.

[3] See Plausibility of injuries and demeanour of alleged victims.

[4] A vehicle in Ian Pannell’s convoy in the programme bore the logo of ISIS-linked jihadi group Ahrar al-Sham. An ambulance filmed at close quarters by the BBC bringing alleged casualties to Atareb Hospital displayed the ISIS emblem in its rear window.

[5] While countless other editions of Panorama remain available to view in their entirety on YouTube, all copies and clips of Saving Syria’s Children are instantly removed from the platform.

About Robert Stuart

Researching the 2013 BBC Panorama documentary Saving Syria's Children and associated BBC News reports.

4 responses to “Former BBC employee: Saving Syria’s Children was “stage managed”

  1. Michael Clayton

    BBC otherwise known as British Bullshit Corporation long ago lost any credibility over the reporting of the assassination of the British Weapons specialist who was meant to have committed suicide in a wood then moved his own body after death. The BBC is an extension of the foreign office and intelligence services. Zero news. Zero honest reporting. Pure government propaganda for sheeple.

  2. Pat Mc Ginley

    State broadcaster BBC’s main role is propaganda-wing of the right-wing UK Establishment, war industry etc. BBC World Service – formerly named BBC Empire Service – with 50 million followers on BBC Facebook page, is by far the largest worldwide news agency and is partially funded directly by the UK government. Since it’s obviously impossible for any state broadcaster to be impartial and unbiased, the compulsory BBC tv licence is criminal fraud i.e. demanding money under false pretences. The state should fund its state broadcaster. This would end the totally unwarranted trust the majority has in the BBC as an impartial, unbiased, honest and reliable source of news and current affairs. A vital first step in the fight for a fair and just society. Demand an end to the fraudulent fee!

  3. It is only “officialdom” and those that “can’t be bothered” to reason for themselves that look to the BBC as a source of fact. Most of the sane population understand that the BBC along with similar outlets are pure propagandists, working only to manipulate, coerce and corral the public into following the one agenda. This has been true since the inception of the BBC.

  4. christine T

    As I don’t have a TV I didn’t see this clip. However reached the same conclusion about much of BBC’s output on foreign affairs from
    changes to programmes such as ‘From Our Own Correspondent” whereby voice-over translations used the same intonation as of a pathetic supplicant to interviewer whatever the topic or degree of expertise and experience of interviewees. Verbal version self promoting newspaper articles – headline Glorious BBC/UK small print hapless foreigners.

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