Russia's 'irrefutable evidence' of US help for Isis appears to be video game still
Russia Russia's 'irrefutable evidence' of US help for Isis appears to be video game still
The Russian defence ministry used social media to claim US connivance in Syria â" using screenshot from AC-130 Gunship Simulator, online sleuths say
Russiaâs defence ministry has tried to pass off what appear to be stills from a mobile phone military simulation game as âirrefutable evidenceâ of cooperation between US forces and Islamic State militants in Syria.
The photographs were appended to social media posts from the ministryâs official accounts posted on Tuesday morning, which accused the Americans of providing air cover for an Isis convoy with the aim of using Isis fighters to further US interests.
The ministry said Russian air power had supported Syrian troops in freeing the town of Abu Kamal from Isis, and that âfacts of direct cooperation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the ISIS terroristsâ came to light during the operation.
Russiaâs defence ministry said not only did the Americans refuse to carry out a joint operation to strike Isis fighters leaving Abu Kamal but also allowed them to regroup on coalition-controlled territory. Russia said the Americans actively interfered with Russian airstrikes, to provide cover for the Isis fighters.
âThe US are actually covering the ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East,â said the ministry.
The allegations are extremely grave, but may be harder to take seriously given the âirrefutable proofâ offered in the form of photographic accompaniment. None of the five photographs attached to the post were what the Russians claimed them to be, said online sleuths, with one photograph apparently a screenshot from the promo for a mobile phone game called AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
Confli ct Intelligence Team, a group of Russian online investigators who factcheck claims by the Russian military, said that the other four of the five photographs appear to be taken from 2016 footage released by Iraqâs ministry of defence, depicting the Iraqi air force bombing Isis targets near Falluja.
Soon after people noted the dubious origin of the photographs, the defence ministry deleted its tweets, and removed the photographs from the corresponding Facebook posts. However, a cached version of the post is available that shows the post with the photographs.
Russia, which entered the conflict in late 2015 on the side of Bashar al-Assadâs government, has long accused the west of backing extremist groups in Syria. In turn, western countries have accused Russian jets of indiscriminate bombing tactics including the deliberate targeting of hospitals. Moscow has never admitted any civilian casualties of its air raids.
It is not the first time that the Russian defence ministry has tried to pass off footage of other events as its own. A scene in a documentary about Putin made by the US film-maker Oliver Stone showed Putin playing the director video footage on a telephone of what he said were Russian forces on operations in Syria. The footage appeared to be an exact match for old footage of US forces in Afghanistan.
After internet users pointed out the discrepancy, Putinâs spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the footage had been given to Putin by Sergei Shoigu, Russiaâs minister of defence.
The defence ministry told Russian news agencies on Tuesday evening it was âcarrying out checks on a civilian employee who mistakenly added photographs to the ministryâs statement.â
- Islamic State
- US military
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