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Egyptian police arrest five people for using children to stage fake 'Aleppo' footage

Amateurish photos and video taken at demolition site show little girl with red stains on a white dress and bandages being interviewed about life in the war-torn Syrian city

Five people in Port Said allegedly making fake videos purporting to show the wreckage of air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been arrested, the Egyptian Interior Ministry has said.

The videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the footage were detained after police managed to trail the would-be camera crew to a building site awaiting demolition, a statement on Monday said.

The team reportedly admitted they had planned to distribute their work on social media, pretending it showed scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo, the embattled northern Syrian city which has just fallen back under government control after four years of fighting between the regime and Sunni rebels.

It was not immediately clear what charges had been brought against the five. The Independent has contacted the Egyptian authorities for clarification.

In the distinctly amateur raw videos and stills released by the Interior Ministry, an eight-year-old girl wears a white dress and bandages covered in red stains, and holds a teddy bear. A 12-year-old boy is also interviewed about what life is like under intensive Russian-backed Syrian government air strikes.

The girl’s dress, covered in red paint, was what caught the attention of a police officer driving by, the ministry said. 

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A camera and six mobile phones were seized at the scene. The photographer is still being held while authorities go through the material, officials said, but the other four suspects were released on bail.

Syrian activists and White Helmets rescue workers, until recently trapped inside east Aleppo’s siege barricades, have frequently been accused by critics of faking harrowing footage of the aftermath of bombings and digging survivors from rubble that have frequently emerged from the war-torn city.

Many other videos and photos of incidents reportedly from Aleppo which circulate on social media are staged or filmed elsewhere, both the Syrian government and its allies say.

Independent News Service

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