Moscow is not aware aboout an alleged joint statement of Russia, Iran, Syria and factions supporting President Bashar Assad that the United States had crossed “red lines” by striking the Syrian Air Force’s airbase with Tomahawk cruise missiles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on April 10.
The alleged statement of the joint command center of Russia, Iran, Syria and their allied forces (Hezbollah and other pro-government factions) appeared on April 9 and rapidly became popular in the mainstream media. According to the statement, the allies would respond to any new aggression and increase its support for Damascus.
Reuters and other outlets quoted it refering to the statement as to an official attitude of the Iranian-Syrian-Russian alliance.
“We are not aware about that, we cannot confirm that and we do not know where Reuters got this and where these anonymous sources appeared from again,” the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik quoted Peskov as saying.
- The statement was released by the Hezbollah’s media wing in Syria and other media outlets unofficially linked to the Iranian-Syrian-Russian alliance;
- The full text of the statement allows to suggest that the Russians were not deeply involved in preparing it. Most likely, the statement was the Iranian initiative;
- Despite points 1 and 2, the mainstream media (including Reuters) and many pro-Assad media outlets (AlMasdarNews, Farsnews and others) described this statement as an official attitude of Iran and Russia towards the conflict without any criticizm.
Following Peskov’s comment, some media called the statement “fake news.” While this idea could sound nice, it ignores two important facts:
- The statement was released by Hezbollah’s media wing in Syria;
- The report was spreaded by a number of pro-Iranian media outlets, including Fars News (an influential Iranian news agency, actively covering the Syrian war). UPD: The Iranian state-run Press TV network also did this.
It’s hard to expect that these guys don’t know what they do, especially in the current military and political situation over the Syrian conflict. Furthermore, it’s hard to expect that Hezbollah or Fars News could release such a statement in order to impact negatively the position of Iran in Syria.
Thus, the statement was an unofficial warning to the United States from Iran, Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian groups involved in Syrian and Iraqi conflicts. It is not clear weither Moscow was involved in this action or not.
And last but not least, some people say that the statement is fake because the joint command center involving Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and othe pro-government factions does not exist. In this case, the argument is that no statement on its creation has been released.
Indeed, there is no doubt that a kind of this centre exists, unofficially. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hezbollah, Iraqi militias and other pro-Iranian factions play an important role in the conflict and they have to coordinate somehow their efforts with the Russian Aerospace Forces, the Russian Special Forces, the Syrian Arab Army and other pro-government factions (for example Liwa al-Quds).
Example: Alleged servicemen of the Russian Special Forces were spotted alongside Hezbolalh fighters in the Syrian city of Aleppo in December, 2016:
Furthermore, in September 2015, Iran, Russia, Syria and Iraq set up a joint information centre in Baghdad in order to coordinate their operations against ISIS. (more about the issue)