Identification of participant in Atareb Hospital footage

See also: Have journos (and filmmakers) passed up the Beatles of all scoops?. Background on Saving Syria’s Children here and here.  

On 14 June 2014 a woman contacted me through Facebook and asked me in Dutch to remove this image from a post I had made in a Syria analysis Facebook group (NB the group no longer exists hence the post is now unavailable to view).

The woman’s message and my response is below (I have erased the woman’s name and profile image).

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The woman’s message translates as: “I see that I am in this photo, but I do not want others to see this photo. Would you want to delete the photo please? Thank You!”


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The image to which the woman was referring (approx 34:29 in Saving Syria’s Children https://vimeo.com/140567469)


The woman’s message translates as:

“I see that I am in this photo, but I do not want others to see this photo. Would you want to delete the photo please? Thank You!”

This seemed a mysterious request as no woman featured in that particular image from the “tableau scene” in Saving Syria’s Children. [1] However one possibility was that the woman was not writing in her native language [2] and that she had perhaps more generally meant that she had been filmed at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 alongside the alleged victims featured in Saving Syria’s Children. I received no response to my request for an explanation on this point, nor to a subsequent request some time later.

A Google search found the two images below associated with the woman’s Facebook account. Both pictures were also posted on other sites under the same name. The woman was 51 years old at the time she contacted me and is a resident of the Netherlands. [3] Her Facebook account gives her home town as Kamishli (Al Qamishli) in north eastern Syria and I am advised that this fact, along with her name, indicates that she is of Armenian heritage. Her Facebook timeline reveals that she travelled between Syria and the Netherlands in 2012. There are no posts on her Facebook account between 9 August and 10 September 2013 (the attack is alleged to have occurred on 26 August 2013).

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Some weeks later I came across this video of the alleged attack [4] in which at 20:36 a woman wearing a black hijab is briefly seen having white cream applied to her face and hands. The resemblance between this person and the woman who contacted me on Facebook is extremely striking and they would indeed appear to be one and the same.  

giphy (11)
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There can be no doubt that the video is from the “napalm bomb” incident of 26 August 2013. Aside from the date shown at 20:13 this section of the film is replete with familiar faces from Saving Syria’s Children. [5]

Why would a resident of the Netherlands apparently become a victim of an air strike on Urm Al-Kubra, Aleppo?

It is surely incumbent upon the BBC as a journalistic organisation to investigate this woman’s apparent connection to the events featured in Saving Syria’s Children. It should, for example, be a straightforward matter to determine whether she indeed suffered napalm or thermite burns to her face and hands, as the footage suggests.

I therefore invite the BBC to contact me in order that I can provide the woman’s name and further details.

Update: April 2016 – scrutiny of an HQ copy of Saving Syria’s Children appears to offer (at 33:36) a very brief glimpse of the woman pictured above from the You Tube video (minus the pale smock/covering). If this person is indeed the Dutch woman who contacted me on Facebook, then at this point she is only a matter of feet away from the adolescents in the image which she was apparently expressing anxiety about being recognised in.

FROM SSC 33 mins 37 secs boxed

FROM SSC 33 mins 37 secs cropped group

The woman in the frame from Saving Syria’s Children at 33;36 resembles the woman in the You Tube video having burns cream applied to her face and hands. Certainly both were present at Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on Monday 26 August 2013.


Update: May 2016 – Further images of the woman who contacted me are currently viewable on the Facebook account of one of her relatives. Two are reproduced below. The first is dated 10 January 2015 and tagged “in Netherlands”. The second is dated 22 October 2014 but appears to have been taken some years earlier. I have cropped the woman’s relative out of both images.  

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Notes 

[1] There is indeed a woman standing behind the central figure of Mohammed Asi as the full tableau sequence shows (see first image below), however she is not visible in the particular image I posted. This woman is certainly not the same person who contacted me via Facebook. She is the younger and slimmer woman seen entering Atareb Hospital at 34:02 in Saving Syria’s Children (see second image below), clutching a red bag and exclaiming “yama yama yama” (her exclamation is, incidentally, inauthentically imposed over the sequence of “Victim Y” entering the hospital at 31:44 in the programme).

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[2] I have subsequently been informed that the Dutch in the woman’s message is excellent.

[3] In June 2014 her “current location” was given as Amstelveen.

[4] The section of the video featuring the hospital scenes was produced by “Banan Art production” whose You Tube channel hosts a number of versions subtitled in different languages, including English.

[5] Including: the older of the two “black dress women” (20:38); the boy in the white shirt who effortlessly rises to his feet in the tableau scene (20:48); Dr Saleyha Ahsan (21:08); Siham Kanbari (21:08); Mohammed Kenas (21:18); Anas Said Ali (21:20); Lutfi Arsi (21:22); Dr Rola Hallam (21:23); Ahmed Darwish (21:30) and the alleged “college” teacher (21:48).

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13 responses to “Identification of participant in Atareb Hospital footage

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

  2. Pingback: BBC obstinately refuses to admit they used fake footage to blame Assad’s Syria | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

  3. Pingback: Finally an admission from BBC that their Syria Aleppo footage was faked | Uprootedpalestinians's Blog

  4. Pingback: War Propaganda: Fabrication in BBC Panorama “Saving Syria’s Children”: Substitution of “Napalm Bomb” Footage « Socio-Economics History Blog

  5. Great work, Robert. Keep going.

  6. Kinan

    You should be right.
    But there’s something disturbing with this pic. Maybe the way the white dust is covering very uniformly her face?
    Whatever, keep up the good work and thanks.

  7. Pingback: Newly-discovered images of alleged BBC “napalm victim”Alternative News Network | Alternative News Network

  8. Pingback: Newly-discovered images of alleged BBC “napalm victim” |

  9. Nibs

    Hi Robert. Did you not directly ask this woman what the circumstances of her appearance in the video were ? Can she add useful information to your research ?
    Great work, thank goodness people like you do this stuff.

    • As soon as she messaged me I replied asking her to explain why she was contacting me about an image in which she didn’t appear. I sent up a follow-up message in Dutch a little while later to nudge her, but no reply. I didn’t discover the You Tube video until some time later and by then it was clear she wasn’t going to respond. I could message her right now, but there seems little point.

  10. Pingback: How far will they go to propagandise for war? | OffGuardian

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