Video of little girl taught to laugh at explosion sounds was filmed in Syria in 2020 not Gaza this year

27 October 2023
What was claimed

A video of a little girl laughing as a bomb explodes in the background as part of a game so she doesn’t get scared was filmed by her Palestinian father.

Our verdict

The video was filmed in Syria in 2020, and shows a Syrian father and his daughter.

A video that has been shared 13,000 times on X (formerly Twitter) shows a man apparently telling his daughter to laugh when bombs are dropped with the caption: “A Palestinian father tells his daughter to laugh every time she hears an Israeli airstrike so that she doesn’t get scared.”

The same video has also been shared on Facebook with similar captions.

But the video actually shows a Syrian family, not a Palestinian one, in Syria. It was first shared online over three years ago, during the country’s ongoing war

It was recorded by Syrian refugee Abdullah Mohammad, and shows him and his daughter Salwa while they were living with a friend in the town of Sarmada in Syria, having fled their home in Saraqib city. 

A translation of the video published by the Guardian shows Mr Mohammad saying to his daughter: “Is this a bomb or a jet?” She replies that it’s a bomb, adding: “Yes, when it comes we will laugh.”

After the explosion in the background, she laughs, as does her father. He told Sky News in 2020: “I decided to teach Salwa this game to prevent her psychological state from collapsing.”

After the video went viral, the family were reportedly contacted by a Turkish government official who scheduled a day for them to cross the border into Turkey. They went to a refugee camp in the south of the country, before moving to stay with relatives.

We often see misleading images and videos on social media in the wake of significant global events such as the conflict in Israel and Gaza, including other footage that was actually filmed in Syria. We’ve written a guide on how to fact check videos from the conflict here.

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