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Stills from the fake Aleppo video

Egyptian authorities arrest fake Aleppo video crew

Egyptian authorities arrested five people in Port Said who were allegedly making fake videos purporting to show the wreckage of air strikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo, The Independent reported.

Published: December 23, 2016, 6:25 am

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    The Egyptian Interior Ministry confirmed that a videographer, his assistants and the parents of two children who appear in the fake footage were detained. Police had followed the camera crew and child actors to a building site scripted for demolition, a statement on Monday said on Facebook.

    The team reportedly admitted that they had planned to film fake scenes of the injured and destruction in Aleppo to spread on social media.

    The northern Syrian city has recently fallen back under government control after four years of Takfiri occupation.

    Raw amateur videos and stills were released by the Interior Ministry of an eight-year-old girl wearing a white dress and bandages covered in red stains. The girl is holding a red-stained teddy bear in the video footage. A 12-year-old boy is also interviewed about fake “intensive Russian-backed Syrian government air strikes”.

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

    A camera and six mobile phones were seized at the scene. The photographer is still being held, while the other four suspects were released on bail.

    Syrian activists until recently trapped inside east Aleppo, have frequently been buysoma.net accused by critics of faking harrowing footage in the aftermath of the siege that have frequently emerged from the war-torn city.

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

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

    Meanwhile Syria’s biggest “moderate rebel” group voted on a merger with al-Qaeda.

    Charles Lister, the lawyer for Syria’s radical Islamists tweeted about the merger, voicing his dissappointment at a failed attempt to bring the biggest militant organisation in Syria together with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham which is al-Qaeda’s Syria franchize.

    The high council of Ahrar al-Sham, the largest rebel organisation in Syria, held a vote on whether to merge with Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, and after the vote failed, Lister tweeted the news, essentially confirming the closeness of the two so-called rebel organisations.

    In September when Russia and the US concluded the illfated Kerry-Lavrov deal on Syria Russia suggested treating Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist organisation alongside JFS (previously al-Nusra), the Obama administration had refused.

    karin@praag.org

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