Heartbreaking Photo of Syrian Orphan Is a Hoax

The child is pretending to be asleep. Those are not graves. This is not Syria.

Photoshop is not the culprit this time, but the saddest picture floating around the Web in recent days is not quite what it seems. The picture was widely shared with a description saying it's photogrpah of a boy sleeping between the graves of his parents who were killed in Syria. It touched the hearts of countless people but as in many previous cases, the details were far from accurate.

It all started when Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba, tweeted the picture and wrote that the child is lying between his parents who were killed by Assad forces. But Reddit users soon discovered over the weekend that the picture was not taken in Syria but in Saudi Arabia and that the boy did not lose his mom and dad but was just helping out the photographer, his uncle, in an art project.

Abdel Aziz Al-Atibi, the photographer, was upset over the publicity gained by his work, which had nothing to do with the fighting in Syria. “Look, it’s not true at all that my picture has anything to do with Syria,” Al-Otaibi told blogger Harald Doornbos, “I am really shocked how people have twisted my picture.” Even the graves weren't real.

Half an hour after tweeting the picture, Jarba deleted it but it was already too late.