World, Middle East

French news agency publishes misleading photo caption

AFP photojournalist tries to spread disinformation on Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

21.02.2018
French news agency publishes misleading photo caption

By Fatma Esma Arslan

ANKARA

A journalist working for the semi-official Agence France Presse (AFP) in Syria published a factually incorrect photo caption.

AFP's George Ourfalian falsely said pro-Assad regime terrorist groups had entered Afrin city in northwestern Syria.

He said: "A convoy of pro-Syrian government fighters arrive in Syria's northern city of Afrin."

In reality, pro-regime groups who tried to enter Afrin on Tuesday to support YPG/PKK-Daesh against Turkey’s ongoing operation in the region, withdrew before reaching the city following warning shots.

Later AFP corrected the disinformation from "city of Afrin" to "region of Afrin" by asking its subscribers to "immediately remove the erroneous mentions".

Ourfalian’s social media account also showed frequent meetings with Assad regime troops. He has posted pictures with them posing with victory signs.

Additionally, he posted pictures with pro-regime journalist Shadi Helwa.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.

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