Fact Check

ISIS Is Burning Children?

Rumor: Image captures caged Christian children burned alive by ISIS.

Published Feb. 19, 2015


Claim:   Image captures caged Christian children burned alive by ISIS.


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, February 2015]

According to the UN, ISLAMIC ISIS are Crucifying
and Burning children alive!


SO ISIS is now burning people alive? 45 and have children in a cage ready to burn? Tell me why we are not blowing them off the planet? pigs


Origins:   In mid-February 2015, a rumor began to circulate online claiming that Islamic State (or ISIS, as the group is commonly called in the United States) either threatened to or had already burned 45 caged Christian children. The rumor was often accompanied by the unsettling image of a cage full of children clad in orange jumpsuits with a lit torch beside it, suggesting that immolation of the tiny crowd was imminent.

The idea that ISIS might burn captive children was not without precedent, as the circulating images immediately brought to mind the events surrounding the death of Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh, who was burned to death in ISIS captivity.

A video of his gruesome execution was released to the internet in early February 2015, provoking global outrage and renewed concern for surviving captives of Islamic State militants. In the widely-viewed clip, Kasasbeh was wearing an orange jumpsuit similar to those worn by the children pictured above before he was burned to death.

The images circulating alongside the rumor about ISIS burning children were genuine, recent, and undoctored photos taken on 15 February 2015. They were not, however, photographs of children held in captivity by ISIS and awaiting a fiery, caged execution.

The photos were taken in the Syrian city of Douma during an anti-government protest, and the visual imagery was deliberate, intended to compare the actions of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to those of ISIS. The children were not captives of Islamic State or any other entity, and they were never in any danger during the protest outside Damascus.

Last updated:   19 February 2015


    Dearden, Lizzie.

      "Syrian Children Dressed Up As Isis Hostages in Death Cage for Anti-Assad Protest."

    The Independent.   16 February 2015.

    Shiv, Malik and Martin Chulov.

    "Isis Video Shows Jordanian Hostage Being Burned to Death."

    The Guardian.   3 February 2015.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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