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Photo of injured child is from Syria in 2018, not Ukraine in 2022

February 27, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: Photo of a little girl with blood on her face is from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo was taken in a hospital after a bombing in Syria in 2018. It has no connection to the conflict in Ukraine.

THE FACTS: Amid air strikes and ground attacks across Ukraine in recent days, social media users misrepresented a photo of a wounded child, falsely claiming it was connected to the current conflict.

The picture shows a little girl with blood on her forehead and nose. Small text at the bottom of the image reads, “This is not a Halloween mask,” adding: “Every day more than 2000 children are killed or injured in wars. Let’s unite against the war to save the lives of children.”

“One of the most heartbreaking images from the Russia/Ukraine war. Putin must end this for humanity’s sake,” reads the caption on several widely shared Twitter posts of the image.

However, the photo dates back to January 2018, and was taken after a bombing in Syria.

The original photo comes from the European Pressphoto Agency, a news photo agency. The caption on its website 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.”

A reverse image search shows the original photo was used on several news stories about airstrikes in Syria at the time.

The version circulating on social media in recent days, with the caption about children in wars, also bears a logo reading Barkod İç Mimarlık, a Turkish design studio. The company used the photo as part of a 2018 campaign “to raise awareness about the children who have been injured or killed in wars,” according to a Twitter post at the time. Neither the post nor the campaign mentions Ukraine. The company did not immediately return a request for comment

While this photo was miscaptioned on social media, civilians in Ukraine have been killed and injured during the invasion that began Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said on Saturday that 198 people have been killed and more than 1,000 others have been wounded in the Russian offensive, although it’s not clear if the figure included both military and civilians, the AP reported.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.