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A 2018 photo showing a wounded child in Syria is circulating as the Russian invasion of Ukraine wages on. The photo does not depict a child injured during the current conflict.
Social media users shared a "heartbreaking" image of an injured child, describing the child as a victim of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
"One of the most heartbreaking images from the Russia/Ukraine war. Putin must end this for humanity’s sake," said one Feb. 24 tweet sharing the image.
"Keep praying for Ukraine," said a Facebook post shared the same day. "This is a child of God. Lord please cover your children with your shield … There is war all around us."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Feb. 28 that 16 Ukrainian children have died and 24 are injured as a result of Russian attacks so far. But this particular image of a wounded child was taken in Syria in 2018.
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Reverse image searches revealed the same photo featured in news articles about the Syrian war from 2018, as other fact-checkers also reported. The original photo was snapped by the European Pressphoto Agency's Mohammed Badra. It is dated Jan. 3, 2018.
The European Pressphoto Agency’s caption reads: "A young girl is treated at a hospital after a bombing in Mesraba, Eastern al-Ghouta, Syria, 03 January 2018. At least 19 people were killed in airstrikes on the cities of Erbeen and Mesraba by forces loyal to the Syrian government."
We rate miscaptioned posts that say the child is from Ukraine False.
Tweet, Feb. 24, 2022
Facebook post, Feb. 24, 2022
Reverse image searches on TinEye, Google Images and Yandex, Feb. 28, 2022
USA Today, "Fact check: Viral image shows child wounded in Syria bombing, not Russian invasion of Ukraine," Feb. 28, 2022
Reuters, "Fact Check-Photo of injured girl is from 2018 Syrian war, not Ukraine," Feb. 26, 2022
The Associated Press, "Photo of injured child is from Syria in 2018, not Ukraine in 2022," Feb. 26, 2022
AFP Fact Check, "Photo shows Syrian child, not victim of Russia's Ukraine invasion," Feb. 25, 2022
BBC News, "Syria war: Hospitals being targeted, aid workers say," Jan. 6, 2018
European Pressphoto Agency, "19 people killed in Mesraba," Jan. 3, 2018
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