A photo collage circulating in Facebook posts in Myanmar has been shared alongside a claim it shows military planes bombing rebel camps after February's coup. But the posts are misleading; the images in the collage predate the coup or have circulated in posts unrelated to Myanmar.
The collage -- which shows images of helicopters and explosions -- was published on November 11 in a Facebook post.
It has been shared more than 900 times.
The Burmese-language post translates as: "A total of 15 MI35, MI17 military planes have been doing clearance in Sagaing region. The results are very good. Just on November 10, 2021, 327 PDF were killed, 5 PDF camps were taken and 131 PDF were arrested".
Sagaing is a restive region in central Myanmar.
"PDF" refers to the People's Defence Force, a resistance movement to the junta's deadly crackdown formed by civilians in their townships.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1, 2021.
Screenshot taken of the misleading post on November 19, 2021
There have been growing efforts by the junta to crack down on PDF forces, Myanmar news outlet The Irrawaddy reported in November.
While AFP could not independently verify reports that military planes attacked Sagaing on November 10, the images do not show such an event.
Reverse image searches on Google found the photos predate the Myanmar coup or have appeared in posts about events outside the country.
A reverse search of the first image -- which shows a helicopter -- found it in a tweet claiming it shows a Russian MI 35 military chopper.
The image was posted on Twitter here on May 26, 2021.
The caption reads: "Mil #Mi35 Hind-E".
A closer look at the photo found the helicopter includes a Russian flag and Russian text printed on its side.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the first image from the collage (L) and the earlier image from Twitter (R):
The second image shows a military helicopter firing rockets into a field.
This image was published by Business Insider on December 3, 2020.
The article was headlined: "These are 4 specialized helicopters that the Army's elite Night Stalkers fly into combat".
The image's caption reads: "A US Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60M Direct Action Penetrator (DAP) fires 2.75-inch rockets".
Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (L) and the image from Business Insider (R):
The third image shows helicopters hovering above a military convoy on a dusty road.
Reverse image searches on Google found the same image in a Korean-language post about a Soviet War epic "9th Company".
Keywords search found the same image in the movie posted on a YouTube channel called Sohanur Rahman Shuvo on November 19, 2016.
The image of the helicopter is visible at the video's one-hour 39-minute and 45-second mark.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the third image (L) and the image from the blog post (R):
The fourth image shows smoke billowing from a fire that has engulfed a row of small huts.
Reverse image searches on Google found the image published on March 27, 2013 -- more than seven years before the coup in Myanmar -- by local media outlet Mizzima News in an article about a fire at a refugee camp.
The headline reads: "Police chief transferred after refugee camp blaze".
"The Khun Yuam district police chief was hit with a lightning transfer order Monday for alleged negligence in handling Friday's deadly inferno at the Mae Surin refugee camp which resulted in almost 40 deaths," the article reads.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (L) to the image in the Mizzima article (R):
AFP debunked the same image after it appeared in other false posts on Facebook.
The fifth image shows an explosion in a field.
The image was published in an article by the Daily Mail on September 17, 2014.
The article is headlined: "Having a blast! Bomb squad forced to blow up wartime explosive in field after finding garage containing hundreds of bombs, guns and grenades".
It reports that a bomb squad carried out a controlled explosion in a field in England after discovering a "vast collection" of war memorabilia, including guns and artillery shells, in the garage of a man who was arrested on suspicion of stealing from a prisoner of war camp.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the image in the misleading post (L) and the image from the Daily Mail (R):
The St Albans Review, a newspaper in the UK county of Hertfordshire, published a video and various photos of the explosion taken from a different angle.
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