Russia’s Ministry of Defense released images on Tuesday saying they proved the United States was aiding the Islamic State in the Middle East. However, the monitor Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), along with social media users, have pointed out that the pictures included a still from a video game.
The ministry’s official account said the black-and-white images were taken on November 9 near the Syria-Iraq border and provided “irrefutable proof that the U.S. is providing cover to ISIS combat units”.
#СИРИЯ Минобороны России публикует неоспоримое подтверждение обеспечения Соединенными Штатами прикрытия боеспособных отрядов ИГИЛ для использования их в продвижении американских интересов на Ближнем Востоке https://t.co/SH9eWkgNlN pic.twitter.com/vIRvRStBEP
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) November 14, 2017
But the CIT was quick to compare one of the images with an identical still from the wargame “AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron”.
Other images posted to Twitter appeared to be taken from videos released by Baghdad’s Ministry of Defence in 2016, showing the Iraqi Air Force bombing jihadists near Fallujah, the CIT said.
AFP was able to compare the images in the emailed defence ministry statement with the images of the videogame on YouTube and confirm the resemblance.
The images were later deleted from the ministry of defence’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 U.S. aid of ISIS.
“The defence ministry is looking into a civilian employee of one of the departments who attached photos to the defence ministry’s statement by mistake,” a new statement was quoted by Russian agencies as saying.
The military stood by its allegations saying “the refusal of US command to inflict strikes on ISIL convoys on November 9 is an established fact recorded in the transcript of conversations.”