Syria brings 'fake news' to the United Nations

Story highlights

  • Syrian ambassador presents photograph he claims is from Aleppo
  • Photo is cropped and doesn't show Iraqi badge on man's uniform
  • Photo first emerged online in June from Falluja, Iraq

New York (CNN)Syria's ambassador to the United Nations held up a photograph at Tuesday's U.N. Security Council emergency briefing on Syria to demonstrate the compassion of Syrian government fighters in Aleppo. However, his description of the image was way off base.

"This is what the Syrian army is doing in Aleppo. Here you see a picture of a Syrian soldier providing help and support to a woman," Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told the Security Council, saying the woman was fleeing eastern Aleppo.
The problem is that the photograph is not from Aleppo. It's not even thought to be from Syria. The version that Ja'afari held was cropped and did not show an Iraqi flag badge on one of the soldier's uniforms. Social media was quick to point out the discrepancy.
The ambassador presented the image after lambasting the United Nations for using "unverified and unconfirmed information" in its assessment of the situation in Syria.
The image first appeared online in June when Iraqi forces were fighting to recapture the city of Falluja from ISIS.
The image appeared on the Iraqi Shiite Afaq Sat TV website on June 4 and was described as showing Iraq's Shiite-led Hashd al-Shabbi, known as the Popular Mobilization Units, helping displaced people from Falluja.
It's unclear who cropped the photo, or whether Ja'afari was aware the photo was not of Syrian soldiers.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said the Syrian ambassador had created his own "fake news."
Syria's permanent mission to the United Nations did not respond to CNN's requests for comment.