WASHINGTON – The Russian Ministry of Defense posted images to social media Tuesday showing a convoy of trucks, apparently taken from an aircraft flying overhead.
These images, the Defense Ministry said, gave “irrefutable proof” that the U.S.-led coalition was cooperating with ISIS in Syria. Descriptions posted along with the images said Russian drones had spotted the convoy fleeing Abu Kamal on Nov. 9, the same day Syrian government forces said it captured the key city.
Russia’s defense ministry alleged that the U.S. allowed the ISIS fighters safe passage, permitted ISIS to regroup in coalition-controlled territory, refused to carry out a joint operation to strike the ISIS fighters and stopped Russia from doing so.
Internet observers were quick to point out though that the images were actually screengrabs from the 2015 video game for mobile devices AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron and 2016 footage of the Iraqi Army bombing ISIS targets near Fallujah.
“I would say the Russian Ministry of Defense statements are about as accurate as their air campaign,” Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters on Tuesday. “And I think that is a reason for them to start coming out with their latest barrage of lies.”
When the revelations came to light, some of the posts were taken down. The Russian Defense Ministry blamed human error and shrugged it off, saying errors happen and don’t matter if they’re corrected in a timely manner.