UPDATE: Nov. 14, 4:50 p.m. — Norwegian filmmakers have told BBC Trending they are behind the viral video that appeared to show a Syrian boy running through sniper fire to save a young girl. Filmmaker Lars Klevberg told the BBC that the video was shot in Malta and that the filmmakers deliberately presented the fictitious film as reality.
“By publishing a clip that could appear to be authentic we hoped to take advantage of a tool that’s often used in war; make a video that claims to be real. We wanted to see if the film would get attention and spur debate, first and foremost about children and war. We also wanted to see how the media would respond to such a video,” Klevberg said.
The anti-regime Shaam News Network, which posted the video on YouTube, initially told The WorldPost, as noted below, that it hadn’t been staged. Shaam did not immediately respond Friday to another request for comment.
ISTANBUL — A little Syrian boy lies in the dirt after heavy sniper fire. He manages to get up and run toward a burnt-out car — directly into the line of fire. He falls to the ground, either hit by a bullet or playing dead. Then he gets up and keeps running, as bullets are flying, determined to make it to the car.
He emerges with a terrified girl, who looks no older then 8, dressed in pink. Hand in hand, they run for their lives.
This is what a shaky amateur video posted on YouTube by the anti-regime Shaam News Network on Monday appears to show. Activists from the media group distribute videos and photographs taken by Syrian citizen journalists.
According to Shaam News Network, citizen journalists have pinpointed that the video was taken in the city of Yabroud near the Syrian-Lebanese border around March 2014. The video team is currently working to get more information on the striking footage.
“This video is not staged,” Shaam News Network told The WorldPost by email on Thursday. “In fact, this type of scene repeats itself in Syria on a daily basis.”
“The Assad regime continues brutal human rights violations against its own people for the fourth year in a row, with no more than symbolic statements and condemnations from the international community,” the email continued.
The dialect spoken in the clip, as well as the landscape, also point to it taking place in Syria, though some have questioned whether the scene was staged. The clip could not be independently verified by The WorldPost, and it is not clear from the video who is shooting at the children.
Syria’s ruthless war has become one watched on YouTube. With limited access to large swaths of the country, journalists, international monitoring groups and even governments often rely on social media to see what’s really happening across the war-ravaged country.
Those videos offer a window into a conflict where civilians bear the brunt of the war. As all eyes are turned to the battle in Syria and Iraq against the extremist group that calls itself the Islamic State, the Syrian regime is dropping deadly barrel bombs and stepping up its attacks on rebels and civilians alike.
This post was updated with comments from Shaam News Network.