Egypt arrests five over 'faked Syria propaganda' images

Tareq Haddad
Syria propaganda

Egyptian police have arrested four men and one woman for allegedly filming staged propaganda purporting to be from Syria.

Videos and images released by Egypt's Ministry of Interior (MOI), which oversees law enforcement, showed a young girl in a white dress, holding a teddy bear, covered in what is seemingly fake blood.

Berlin truck attack suspect may still be on the loose

The images were taken outside dilapidated buildings that resembled Aleppo, but were in fact in Port Said, near the Suez Canal, according to the MOI.

In a statement translated from Arabic, a spokesman for the MOI said the five were arrested for "fabricating the scene of a child photographed while wearing a white dress coloured in red, in a way that resembles blood.

Berlin Christmas market truck attack: Photos of devastation

"A gauze on her hand was also contaminated with the same colour as was a bear."

The statement added that the five "filmed those scenes to be published on the pages of social networking sites to convince viewers that those pictures are the outcome of the ongoing events in the city of Aleppo, in the state of Syria".

Putin vows to avenge Russian ambassador's murder – 'killers will feel it'

In addition to the five arrested on Monday (19 December), two children aged eight and 12 were taken into police care.

Police also seized a camera, six mobile phones and a plastic box containing a number of "props" for the images.

All five people have been released on police bail, pending investigations, and their links to any external organisations are not yet known.

Propaganda has been a growing tool for all sides within the proxy war in Syria.

The charge has largely been levelled against Syrian and Russian presidents Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin, however Western-backed agencies have also been accused.

Journalists and activists have speculated as to whether The White Helmets, the UK-backed humanitarian group, has been involved in propaganda due to its links to its links to public relations firms Avaaz and Purpose.

The group often posts dramatic images of rescues it undertakes and recently released a Netflix documentary showing such missions.

Similar accusations have also been made against seven-year-old Bana al-Abed for her tweets from eastern Aleppo, however the claim has not been proven.

In a separate investigation earlier this year, The Bureau of Investigative Journalists revealed that British PR firm Bell Pottinger was paid $540m (£417m) by the US Department of Defense to make fake terror and news-style videos.

Get your daily digest with the best of the day's news, opinion, entertainment and sport

You may be interested in: