Russia claims US is helping IS using video games as evidence
Moscow: Following Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin's short meeting in Vietnam on Saturday, the high-level rhetoric had been about a new understanding on Syria. At ground level, however, the differences continue to appear intractable.
On Tuesday, the Russian Ministry of Defence said American forces were assisting Isis against Russian-backed forces. And, in a series of social media posts, it attempted to prove "irrefutable facts" of the case. They published photographs from 9 November, which, they said, showed how Isis convoys left Abu Kamal towards areas controlled by American special forces.
But there was a problem. As citizen bloggers soon pointed out, the photos that the Russians presented as evidence were familiar. Some had been circulating for days - and in many cases had already been debunked.
One was apparently a screenshot of a smartphone video game, AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron. It seems to have been taken from a video published on YouTube on 25 March.
Some pictures appear to have been lifted from a video published by the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, showing Iraqi air strikes against Isis targets near Fallujah in June 2016. Others seem to originate from military action in Libya.
By 2pm local time, about an hour after publication, the Russian Ministry of Defence had removed disputed photographs from its social media pages. According to the original Russian claims, US high command had refused to strike against Isis fighters fleeing Abu Kamal. Moreover, they "hindered the activities of Russian air force places" operating in the area. The US was "imitating" a battle against international terrorism.