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‘Legless Abdulbasit’ – More Fake News from Syria’s ‘Moderate Rebel’ Media Machine

1 BANNER - Fake News Week
In response to the establishment media’s contrived ‘fake news’ crisis designed to marginalise independent and alternative media sources of news and analysis, and due to our readers’ engagement on this important issue, 21WIRE is extending its #FakeNewsWeek awareness campaign for additional week, where each day our editorial team at 21st Century Wire will feature media critiques and analysis of mainstream corporate media coverage of current events – exposing the government and the mainstream media’s ‘fake news’ assembly line…

2 Abdul Basit
Barbara McKenzie
21st Century Wire 

Two days ago, on 16 February, Anne Barnard of the New York Times shared on twitter the heart-rending story of the boy in Syria who lost his legs to a ‘govt/Russian bombing raid’.

The picture looks a bit … odd, so I asked for more information …

There was actually a video, credited to Revolution Syria, a pro-insurgency media outfit who also provided the videos for the equally fraudulent claim that the Russians bombed a school in Haas, October 2016.  It is clear from the video that there were at least two cameramen conveniently to hand.

And then we get the full picture: these stills are a lot clearer than the video.

Although the airstrike is supposed to have used ‘barrel bombs,’ Barnard retweets without comment a reference to cluster bombs from, and the (unsubstantiated) claim of ‘unchecked cluster bomb use in Syria’.


Barnard’s source is BBC Foreign News Producer Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm), ‘covering Syria & wider conflict since 2012’.  However Washington Post’s Louisa Loveluck may also have been contacted by ‘activists on the ground’: while Dalati refers to ‘Abed’, Loveluck offers his full name, Abdulbasit Taan Al-Satouf.

Just one look at the more graphic picture is enough to show that the whole story is fake.


1:  Such injuries mean severed arteries and blood everywhere, not just at the wound site.

2: The boy would be in deep shock or unconscious. He would not be trying to sit up.

3:  No-one – father, first responder or anyone else – would hold the boy like that, with one hand, while still grasping his walkie-talkie in the other.

4:  It’s Omran Daqneesh, the boy on the orange chair, all over again:  there are at least two cameramen, no-one is worrying about staunching the wound, or about the other dead or injured – what matters is the photoshoot.

5: In fact, the scene seems to have been shot more than once:


According to CNN, the boy spent the night after the strike in an Idlib hospital. He now seems to have a serious head injury.

In any case, Abdulbasit’s head makes a miraculous recovery:


In this time, no-one has changed the boys clothes.

The incident supposedly occurred in al Habeet, a village south of Idlib, on Thursday 16 February. According to CNN Abdulbasit was taken first to Idlib and then, his condition having stabilised he was taken the next day to a an unnamed hospital somewhere in Hatay province, Turkey. Not to Homs, Syria’s third largest city south of Idlib, nor it would seem to Antakya, the capital of Hatay province.  According to the information given to CNN by the IHH spokesperson, Abdulbasit is in ‘Hatay Province in Turkey’; the Anadolu Post (as yet just in Turkish) reports only that the boy was taken to Turkey.

In the case of such a horrific injury, the victim would be rushed to a major hospital.   There can only be one reason the hospital is not named, and that is to prevent verification of the injury.

The Humanitarian Relief Foundation or IHH, a non-government organisation based in Istanbul, were responsible for Abdulbasit’s transfer to Turkey.  They had also been involved in the supposed rescue from Aleppo of Bana Alabed, the seven year old face of @AlabedBana, who supposedly tweeted from Aleppo, although the account was run from London.

The boy traveled by ambulance to Turkey, the day after he lost his legs.

The clip can be transcribed thus:

The legs of Syrian boy Abdulbasit were cut off in an airstrike in Idlib province.

IHH:  ‘How old are you Abdulbasit?’

Abdulbasit:  ’10’

IHH:  ‘How did the bombing of your house happen?’

Abdulbasit:  ‘We were eating our lunch.  My dad told us to go into the kitchen.  At that moment a barrel bomb fell in front of our house.  We went into the kitchen.  My mother and sister were killed.  My other sister had a broken arm and broken leg.’

The IHH teams manage to get to Abdulbasit under difficult conditions.

Father:  ‘I am the father of Abdulbasit, who has lost two legs in the massacre that took place in Habeet. My wife and three-year old daughter were killed.  My pregnant daughter was wounded; I don’t know what state she is in.  We were eating.  A helicopter came and dropped a barrel bomb.   While we were eating in the living room a barrel bomb fell on the roof.

Abdulbasit was brought by the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation to Turkey for treatment.”

It is unclear from this description exactly how Abdulbasit’s legs came to be cut off, while the rest of him was unhurt.

What is particularly odd about the conversation in the ambulance with Abdulbasit is it takes place the day after the boy suffers horrific injuries.  Abdulbasit would still be suffering great trauma – one would hardly expect a healthcare professional to engage him in a friendly chat about what happened.

To suggest that Abdulbasit suffered a horrific injury in the last few days is clearly ridiculous. The question is whether the leglessness was totally faked. There are ways to fake an amputation:

John Delacour (@JohnDelacour) has put forward arguments why Abdulbasit may have have had his legs amputated in the past.

Delacouramputee.jpg large

If Delacour is right, the amputation would have been recent, as this picture could not be more than two years old. (@ama4425, 16 February, 2017)

standing.jpg large

Bana to the Rescue

Abed’s fame was assured when his plight came to the attention of Bana Alabed.

Bana found it a real thrill to meet another celebrity, even under such circumstances, tweeting:

Although completely endorsed and condoned by the establishment media, the use of children by the militant opposition in Syria and Turkey – in order to advance the No-Fly Zone and US-NATO-Gulf state regime change agenda – has become all too commonplace. Watch this video presentation:

So in two days, Abdulbasit has become ‘the boy who lost both legs to bombing’.   Now Syria already had at least one little boy who had lost both legs, to a terrorist mine, Mahmoud Halyaf, but the Bana Project  has never tweeted about him, or about any of the countless other children who have lost limbs or suffered brain injuries from terrorist attacks.

Mahmoud Halyaf (Photo supplied by Pierre Le Corf)

Thus, Abdulbasit joins the other ‘children of the Syrian conflict’, Bana, Omran and Aylan Kurdi.  The underlying intention is the same – to focus attention on the suffering of children in terrorist controlled areas, and to continue with the policy of totally ignoring the results of terrorist crimes, such as the shelling of residential areas in Aleppo.

(Photo: Mahmoud Raslan)

All these children, Bana, Omran and Abdulbasit, are being manipulated and exploited by the adults around them and outside agencies in order to fulfill an agenda far beyond their understanding.  They have been made into child stars; in return they learn to lie and dissemble for the camera.

Read 21st Century Wire’s article on the exploitation of Omran Daqneesh: Child-Beheading-Terrorist Supporter Wins Getty and Sunday Times “Defining Images” Award 2016

IHH was present again, when Bana visited Abdulbasit.

The story is clearly fake from start to finish, from the fake sources (‘activists’), to the fake medical science, to the fake behaviour.  Despite the obvious questions and dubious sources, there has been no attempt to verify the story on the part of the mainstream media. On the contrary, this obvious scam has so far been promoted by CNN, Anne Barnard of the New York Times, the Washington Post’s Louisa Loveluck, the BBC’s Riam Dalati, the Daily Mail , and the Sun.   CNN and the Daily Mail have done follow-ups after Bana’s visit.

The fake news of the corporate media and humanitarian organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch  has been exposed many times, notably the story that Saddam Hussein took Kuwaiti babies out of incubators in order to steal them, and the lie that Gaddafi was giving Viagra to black soldiers in order to encourage them to  rape Arab women.  The philosophy of the media and the NGOS seem to be that it does not matter if their falsehoods are eventually exposed, as long as they achieve the designated purpose in the short term, such as the invasion of Iraq, or the bombing of Libya. Or a no-fly zone in Syria.

The corporate media and NGOs hope that their mutual and self-promotion will see them through, that if they themselves bury their lies, the public will forget those lies, and continue to take these organisations at their own valuation.

However the world has changed: with the rise of the internet and alternative media, and the great sharing of ideas, nobody has to be dependent on mainstream media.  Furthermore, the relentless arrogance and mendacity of the media is leading to their demise.   The public may have short memories, but Scottish nationalists are not going to forget the bias against independence shown by the BBC during the referendum, nor UK Labour supporters the campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, and the falsehoods about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs are still talked about 14 years on.   There have been too many lies, too well exposed.  Chickens are coming home to roost for the mainstream media.

Author, Dr Barbara McKenzie is an independent researcher and special contributor to 21st Century Wire. Visit her research blog here





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