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Russian Federation accuses USA coalition of hampering its anti-IS operation in Syria

15 November 2017

The images were later deleted from the ministry of defense's Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the ministry said several hours later that there had been a "mistake", and publishing a different set of pictures, calling them "irrefutable proof" of USA aid of IS.

In violation of a previously reached agreement, attack aircraft of the coalition entered the airspace over Abu Kamal to hamper the work of the Russian air force, the ministry said in a statement.

Instead, it came from the smartphone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

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The discovery was made by Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative website Bellingcat, who noticed a large red "fire" button in the corner had been cropped out of the picture. However, the Conflict Intelligence Team claims in its statement the Russian defence ministry has used an image of presumed jihadists taken from the trailer of a videogame present on YouTube.

The posts included several aerial images supposedly backing Russia's claim, including one labeled: "ISIS automobile convoy leaves Abu Kamal for Syrian-Iraqi border (November 9th, 2017)".

The ministry posted five photos on its official social media accounts, along with a statement that accused USA troops of allowing IS militants to hide from Russian and Syrian air strikes.

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Hours later, the ministry published an updated statement with a different set of images, which it also said proved their claims.

A later press release said it had launched a probe into the actions of a civilian employee of one of its subdivisions who "mistakenly attached photos" to the first version of its statement.

The ministry posted a number of aerial images that it claimed were of ISIS convoys, It said the United States intervened to "use (ISIS) to promote American interests in Middle East". "So, again that is pretty consistent with what we have seen come out of Russian MoD, as being baseless, inaccurate and you know, completely false", he told a briefing with Pentagon reporters on Tuesday.

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

Russian Federation accuses USA coalition of hampering its anti-IS operation in Syria