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Russia's Defense Ministry to Investigate Wrong Photos Used on Syria Statement

Russia's Defense Ministry to Investigate Wrong Photos Used on Syria Statement

Russia's Defense Ministry to Investigate Wrong Photos Used on Syria Statement

The Russian defence ministry attempted to pass off an image from a video game as "irrefutable evidence" that the USA was cooperating with Isil in Syria.

The ministry said Russian air power had supported Syrian troops in freeing the town of Abu Kamal from Isis, and that "facts of direct cooperation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the ISIS terrorists" came to light during the operation.

After military research site Conflict Intelligence Team and investigative website Bellingcat showed the images actually came from a 2015 computer game titled AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron and 2016 USA war footage from Iraq, the ministry removed the post and explained its gaffe.

The images were taken from a video published online by the Iraqi military in June 2016, showing a joint US-Iraqi mission that attacked an ISIS convoy outside Falluja.

Shortly after the Russian defense ministry posted the photos, social media users quickly identified the fakes.

A report from Russian state news agency TASS says that a civil service employee "erroneously attached wrong photo illustrations" to the defense ministry's social media posts.

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"These facts give indisputable evidence that the US, which (pretends) before the world community an irreconcilable fight against global terrorism, in fact provides cover for combat-capable IS units to restore their forces, regroup and be used for promoting USA interests in the Middle East", the statement said.

But none of the images are from Abu Kamal, and none are from November 9.

Russia, which entered the conflict in late 2015 on the side of Bashar al-Assad's government, has long accused the west of backing extremist groups in Syria.

Coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon called those claims, "about as accurate as their air campaign".

"This is the best evidence [Russia's defense ministry] are shameless liars, they take a video game screenshot then claim its from a specific location and date", Mr. Higgins tweeted Tuesday. A scene in a documentary about Putin made by the USA 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.

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