Saving Syria's Children

Saving Syria's Children is a BBC Panorama documentary film with reporter Ian Pannell. The film's director, camera operator and producer was Darren Conway; the editor was Tom Giles.[1] The documentary is an account of two doctors working in Syria, Rola Hallam, an intensive care doctor and Saleyha Ahsan, an emergency doctor from London, working for the Hand in Hand for Syria charity.[1][2]

During filming in Atareb hospital in Aleppo on August 26, 2013, a ZAB-500 incendiary bomb was dropped from a MiG fighter jet on a school, the Iqraa Institute, in Urm al-Kubra, Aleppo, which resulted in at least 37 civilian (mostly child) deaths, and 44 civilian injuries, as reported by NBC, documented by the Violations Documentation Center in Syria and later investigated and confirmed by Human Rights Watch.[3][4][2][5] The BBC crew filmed the incident and it was included in the documentary. The aftermath of the bombing and the reactions of those affected by it were also featured.[2][6]

The film was screened in Australia during October 2013 on SBS's Dateline.[7]

RT allegations and Ofcom complaintEdit

The Russian news broadcaster RT accused the BBC of faking the chemical attack, resulting in the broadcasting regulator Ofcom upholding several complaints against RT.[8] In a March 2014 broadcast, the station claimed the BBC had staged the attack for a news report and digitally altered the words spoken by an interviewee.[9]

The BBC complained to the regulator Ofcom about the allegation, saying the "incredibly serious" allegations struck "at the heart" of its obligations to accuracy and impartiality.[9] Ofcom ruled that elements of the RT programme were "materially misleading". It also said the BBC had been treated "unfairly" by an RT programme called The Truthseeker, as it was not given an opportunity to address the allegations before the programme was broadcast.[9]

RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said the broadcaster was "shocked and disappointed" by Ofcom's findings and accused the regulator of having "a peculiar approach to journalism".[8][9]


  1. ^ a b Pannell, Ian (30 Sep 2013). "Panorama : Saving Syria's Children". BBC One.
  2. ^ a b c Pannell, Ian (30 September 2013). "'Why bomb us while we're at school?'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Time to Act against Incendiary Weapons". Human Rights Watch. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  4. ^ "Doctor: Napalm-like attack on Syrian schoolkids was 'apocalyptic'". NBC News. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  5. ^ The Violations Documenting Center (26 August 2013). "Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria - A Special Report on the Use of Incendiary Bombs In Aleppo and Dara'a Governorates". مركز توثيق الانتهاكات في سوريا. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  6. ^ Ahsan, Saleyha (29 September 2013). "An English doctor in Syria: Pity the children - the horror I saw". The Independent. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  7. ^ Pannell, Ian (22 September 2013). "Saving Syria's Children". SBS News.
  8. ^ a b Burrell, Ian (21 September 2015). "RT breached broadcasting rules over claims BBC faked pictures of Syrian chemical attack, says Ofcom". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d "Ofcom backs BBC in Russian TV case". BBC News. 21 September 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2018.

External linksEdit