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The Times Uses Forensic Mapping to Verify a Syrian Chemical Attack

Images of children and adults, foaming at the mouth, struggling to breathe, flooded international TV screens hours after the deadly chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. A week later, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria went on television to deny Syrian involvement and to dispute the fact that any attack had even taken place.

“We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun. Were they dead at all?” President Assad said of the images broadcast on TV screens around the world, adding, “How can you verify a video?”

There is a simple answer to that question: Find a computer, get on Google Earth and match what you see in the video to the streets and buildings. For the six years since the Syrian conflict began, I’ve used these basic tools — and widely accessible information — to verify images broadcast on television.

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