The Hammurabi’s Justice News blog claimed on September 18 that the Russian Military Police arrested all service members of the Syrian Arab Air Defense Forces (SyAADF) 44th brigade in the coastal Syrian province of Lattakia and moved them to a jail at Hmeimim airbase. The blog said that the 44th brigade is responsible for shooting down the Russian IL-20 intelligence plane two days earlier.
These claims were later spreaded by several media outlets, journalists and experts in the West, the Arab world and even in Russia without any verification what so ever.
However, Syrian pro-government soources denounced the Hammurabi’s Justice News claims. Furthermore, this blog is well-known for its close ties with the US-led coalition and Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders in al-Tanaf base. The blog, which is based outside of Syria, also has a history of releasing fake news such as claiming that the FSA shot down a Syrian warplane during the recent battle in southern Syria.
The #SouthernFront fighters shut down a MiG-23 warplane close to Bussr AlHarir, Eastern of Daraa province.
— Hammurabi’s Justice News (@Hammurabi_News) June 25, 2018
Furthermore, a source in the SyAADF told SouthFront that the so called ”44th brigade” does not even exist. The source explained that the Syrian S-200 long-range surface-to-air missile systems, one of which shoot down the IL-20, are based in regiments and not brigades as the US-linked blog claimed.
The Hammurabi’s Justice News claims are likely aimed at creating tensions between Russia and Syria over the IL-20 incident. On September 8, the Ministry of Defense of Russia held Israel responsible for the incident and said that Israeli warplanes used the IL-20 to hide from Syrian air defense fire while they were conducting airstrike on Lattakia.