The Russian Ministry of Defence has tried very hard to prove that the United States is collaborating with the so-called Islamic State by publishing fake images and even screenshots from video games.
On November 14, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that on November 9, Russian drones had spotted dozens of IS group vehicles in Abu Kamal in Syria, which were retreating towards a region under the control of the Global Coalition. Russia suggested to the US that they destroy the vehicles together, and the US not only refused this offer, but also gave the vehicles safe passage to the “No Fly Zone”, meaning that Russian aeroplanes were not able to strike the terrorists. The IS group militants then apparently changed their flags to those of the Free Syrian Army.
To prove this, they published four photos of what they say is a column of IS group vehicles retreating toward a region held under control by US-backed forces in Syria.
The Observers looked at these photos to verify them. One is clearly fake: it’s a screenshot from a preview of the video game “AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron”. It was taken from a YouTube video published on March 25, 2015.
Two other photos, although more real than the one from the video game, weren’t taken in Syria, and not on November 9, 2017, but in Iraq in July 2016. These black and white photos are actually screenshots taken by an Iraqi helicopter on an anti-IS group mission.
Two other photos - although more real than the one from the video game - weren’t taken in Syria or on November 9, 2017, but in Iraq in July 2016. These black and white photos are actually screenshots taken by an Iraqi helicopter on an anti-IS group mission.
The next photo was slightly more complex to debunk. The Defence Ministry took a screenshot of a video and then Photoshopped it. The original video was published in July 2016 in colour – the Russian Defence Ministry simply changed it to black and white and then zoomed in on the picture in order to cover their tracks.
This video was originally published with the same caption of the previous video, saying that it shows Iraqi helicopters targeting IS group vehicles.
This is not the first time the Russian government has used video or photos out of context in order to try to prove their might or for misinformation.
On June 19, during an interview between the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the American filmmaker Oliver Stone, Putin praises a recent Russian intervention against the Islamic State group in Syria, as footage of Russian airstrikes plays on screen. It turns out that not only was the footage very old – but that it actually showed American strikes in Afghanistan.
However, what Russia is implying about cooperation between the US and IS group forces is not totally baseless.
A BBC report published on November 13 revealed that according to a deal between members of the ‘International Coalition’, hundreds of IS group fighters and their families escaped from Raqqa on October 12, under the surveillance of US-, UK- and Kurdish-led forces who now control the city.