Jerusalem Post published a story of abduction and murder under Turkish-controlled zone in Syria, but woman claimed to be killed is still alive
On 9 June 2020, Jerusalem Post published a story upon circulation of a photo on the social media, falsely claiming that a young Kurdish woman was abducted and killed by Turkish-backed Syrian forces in the Northwestern Syria.
The rumor that Malak Nabih Khalil, 16, was abducted in Syria’s Afrin region, which is under control of the Syrian National Army and Syrian Opposition with Turkey’s military support since the Operation Olive Branch in 2018.
Malak Khalil was living with her family in this region. She went missing on the first days of June and her family did not know her whereabouts for a week. After a week of her disappearance, a photo started to circulate on the social media. It showed a young woman’s body left on the grass outside the residential area. The supporters of the YPG1 claimed that the body belonged to Malak. They suggested that she was abducted, attacked and killed by the groups affiliated with the Syrian National Army, and the Turkish military and alleged that her dead body was found outside Afrin.
The images spread rapidly. Some accounts claimed Malak was abducted and killed by an ethnic Turkmen group in the Free Syrian Army. Seth J. Frantzman from Jerusalem Post published a story with the title “Kurdish women murdered in Turkish-occupied Afrin.” However, the photo that was published did not belong to Malak Khalil, it was not even taken in Afrin region. Instead, it belonged to a woman found in another region under the control of Syria, Azaz. The body found in Azaz also belonged to a woman in her late 20s, although Khalil is 16 years old.
But the mystery about Malak Khalil was solved the day after the rumors about her alleged murder had emerged. After the discovery of the female corpse in the other province of Syria and the rumors on social media that the body belonged to Malak Khalil, the authorities in the Northwestern Syria showed the photos of the dead body to Malak’s parents. They confirmed that the body did not belong to their daughter. Mystery behind Malak’s disappearance was lifted soon. It was revealed that Khalil escaped home to join the PKK and she is alive.
- 1. The Syrian branch of the outlawed PKK terrorist organization which was ousted out of Afrin in the Operation Olive Branch