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An Aid Worker Is Being Accused Of Owning A Twitter Account That Denies People Are Starving In Syria

The International Organization for Migration has declined to comment on whether the account, and a website that posted doubt that journalist James Foley was actually beheaded by ISIS, are both run by a staffer.

Posted on January 9, 2016, at 7:27 p.m. ET

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is refusing to comment on the apparent unmasking of one of its workers as the owner of a Twitter account that denied the starvation of civilians in Syria.

Dr. Khaled Mohammed

Artist and activist Molly Crabapple on Friday night accused a press officer named Taryn Fivek of denying the starvation of civilians in the Syrian city of Madaya, posting screenshots on Twitter.

UN press officer Taryn Fivek cheers Russian bombings of Syria, denies starvation of #madaya

Madaya, which has made headlines in recent days for the harrowing pictures of starving children that have begun circulating, was recently promised renewed aid by the United Nations and Syrian government.

Fivek is listed on LinkedIn as a Public Information Officer with the IOM, which is not a part of the United Nations but works closely with it, currently working on supporting Syrian refugees resettling in Canada.

The account Crabapple said was run by Fivek operated under the name Emma Quangel with the handle @EMQuangel. The author posted multiple tweets on the Syrian crisis and other issues related to the Middle East.

The account, which has since been deleted, voiced support for Hezbollah — an armed group that acts a proxy for Iran — as well as for the Syrian government.

The account also retweeted a long stream of tweets denying the starvation of civilians in Madaya.

Emma Quangel also ran a site known as Manyfesto, which has also since been taken down, that described itself as a "blog about neoliberalism, imperialism, and the atomization of society."

In Aug. 2014 the site posted an article questioning the authenticity of reporters that journalist James Foley had actually been killed by ISIS.

The blog was connected to the @M_anyfesto account and at one point hosted a tweet that linked to the LinkedIn of Taryn Fivek.

"As is standard practice with employers, IOM never comments on personnel issues," Leonard Doyle, IOM's Director of Media and Communications Division, said in an email to BuzzFeed News when contacted about the accounts.

"You will understand therefore that we are unable to either confirm nor deny such allegations as you raise. Without exception IOM holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has rigorous internal processes to ensure the same.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to Fivek for comment on the website and Twitter account and will update this story if she responds.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.