Ahmed Darwish


Alleged victim Ahmed Darwish appears to await instruction before turning to address the camera.

Ian Pannell’s 30 September 2013 BBC News report states: “One of the youngest victims was 13-year-old Ahmed Darwish. When he arrived at the hospital he was shaking uncontrollably. The emergency ward was so full he was told to wait in the corridor” [1] [2]

According to Pannell’s narration in Saving Syria’s Children: “Thirteen year old Ahmed Darwish was described as a hard-working student with a smiley face. He did survive. We found him a few weeks after the attack in hospital in Turkey, with 40% burns to his body”.

Darwish appears in Ian Pannell’s BBC 10 O’Clock News report of 29 August 2013 from 2:45 to 2:54, seated in the hospital corridor. [3] A fractionally earlier sequence is shown in Saving Syria’s Children at 33:46 (Figs 1 & 2) and Darwish is seen later in the programme at 42:53 (Figs 3 & 4) in scenes allegedly filmed in the Turkish hospital. [4]

Dr Saleyha Ahsan, one of the British doctors featured in Saving Syria’s Children, says of Darwish’s hands “the skin was falling off as if he had been peeled”. However a practicing medical doctor consulted privately has stated of the victims in Saving Syria’s Children “Some are shown with skin hanging off but the flesh beneath is not that convincing it actually looks like more skin.” (See also images of Lutfi Arsi).

In respect of all the alleged victims featured in ‘Saving Syria’s Children’, please note the existence and sophistication of HOSPEX “macro simulation” techniques and the personal connection which exists between Dr Saleyha Ahsan and an army officer in charge of running HOSPEX exercises.

list of 41 alleged victims of the attack compiled by the Violations Documentation Center in Syria claims that “Ahmad Darwish” died on 26 August 2013. As noted above, in Saving Syria’s Children Pannell states Darwish “did survive”, adding in September 2014 that “Ahmed is alive and living back in Syria. We have had sporadic contact with his father.”

Alleged burns to Darwish’s mouth

In my initial letter to the BBC I noted that, while in the images from “a few weeks after the attack in hospital in Turkey” (Figs 3 & 4) Darwish has black scabs on his lips, no burns to his lips are in evidence in the scenes from the day of the alleged attack (Figs 1 & 2). In my second letter (section 8) I further noted that medics at the scene had presumably shared my view that Darwish had no burns to his mouth as this area appears to be free of the white cream that had been applied to much of the rest of the boy’s body.

In response, BBC Audience Services (in a letter authored by Ian Pannell) provided Fig 5 below, stating “Ahmed does have burns above his lip. Here is another screen-grab where you can just about detect that”. Note, however, that while the object which Pannell identifies is above Darwish’s top lip, the prominent black scab in Figs 3 & 4 is on it.

Darwish also appears in several videos available on You Tube:

  • Here (1:59, Figs 6 & 7) Darwish appears to have less white cream on his body and hands than in the BBC footage shot in the hospital corridor, suggesting that this is an earlier sequence; note however that he is not wearing the watch that is visible on his left wrist in Fig 2. [5] [6]
  • Here (24 seconds, Figs 8 & 9) he is seated in the hospital corridor as in Figs 1 & 2.
  • Here (Figs 10 & 11) he is seen departing from Atareb Hospital in an ambulance, his arms now bandaged and with further white cream applied to his face. [7]

In Figs 6 & 7 the object noted by Ian Pannell above Darwish’s upper lip (Fig 5) may just be discernible. In Figs 8 – 11 (with 10 & 11 presumably representing the latest images of Darwish on 26 August 2013) the boy’s lips appear unscathed. My view is that the object which Pannell identifies above Darwish’s top lip in Fig 5 is a portion of the translucent substance that is visible on much of the rest of the boy’s face in that image (as well as in Figs 1 & 2) and which is possibly a different substance to the more visible white cream applied to the rest of his body.


Fig. 1


Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5 – “Ahmed does have burns above his lip. Here is another screen-grab where you can just about detect that” – Ian Pannell


Fig 6


Fig 7


Fig 8


Fig 9


Fig 10


Fig 11


[1] In the BBC 10 O’Clock News report of 29 August 2013 Pannell states that Darwish is 15 years old.

[2] Pannell’s statement that Darwish was shaking uncontrollably “When he arrived at the hospital” is peculiar. On p14 of a Human Rights Watch report Dr Saleyha Ahsan states:

“Cold-water therapy was being applied to all the patients but there were no adequate facilities to stop them becoming too cold with the application of cold water and they were shivering. Bags of saline solution were being ripped open and poured onto the casualties as they sat on the floor of the hospital reception room”.

Presumably, therefore, Darwish’s shivering is a result of the “cold-water therapy” administered after his arrival at the hospital, as opposed to his condition “When he arrived”.

[3] Strikingly, at 2:46 in the report Darwish appears to nod in communication to someone off-screen before turning to speak to the camera. (See sequence below).


[4] In the BBC Senior Editorial Complaints Adviser’s decision of 26 September 2014 Ian Pannell identifies the hospital as “Diskapi Yildirim Beyazit Training and Research Hospital in Antakya – home to one of the country’s specialist burns units”.

[5] This video is notable for the appearance (at 1:05 in this version) of the Dutch-Armenian woman who contacted me on Facebook in June 2014, stating that she did “not want others to see” images of her at  Atareb Hospital.

[6] Darwish’s account of the alleged attack (“First the plane dropped the bomb then flew away. Then we only felt another bomb hitting near”) echoes those offered by the alleged teacher and the younger “black dress woman” in their respective, highly unpersuasive, You Tube video performances here and here (partial translation of latter here).

[7] Also visible in the ambulance are Ridwan Qambari and another presumed relative (in the green shirt) of Siham Kanbari.

About Robert Stuart

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

7 responses to “Ahmed Darwish

  1. Pingback: Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children’ | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

  2. Pingback: Breach of BBC Editorial Guidelines: unacknowledged substitution of Syria footage  | Fabrication in BBC Panorama 'Saving Syria’s Children'

  3. Pingback: In the light of the recent False Flags and Fake News – this deserve another outing. | Philosophers Stone

  4. Pingback: Crisis Acting BBC Style: In the light of the recent False Flags and Fake News – this deserves another outing. | Alternative News Network

  5. J

    Do you think this could also be the same actor?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2vUZBSPsSQ at 4:49

  6. Pingback: “Saving Syria’s Children”: The Sequel – Counter Information

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