Russia’s Defense Ministry said Thursday that it dispatched a drone to analyze the site of alleged school bombing Syria’s Idlib province. The ministry says that the aircraft spotted no evidence of airstrikes, and accused the White Helmets of faking digital images of the attack.
“On Thursday, a Russian UAV was directed to the area, to conduct detailed digital photography,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. “As can be seen from the photos taken by the drone, there are no signs of damage to the roof of the school, or craters from airstrikes around it.”
“We have analyzed the photo and video ‘evidence’ of the supposed attack. The video published in a range of Western media outlets appears to consist of more than 10 different shots, filmed at different times of the day, and in different resolutions that were edited into a single clip,” he added.
“The photograph published by AFP shows that only one wall of the school is damaged, and all the desks inside the classroom are in place. The outer fence seen through the hole has no traces of damage from bomb fragments. In a genuine airstrike this is physically impossible – the furniture would have been swept away by the blast wave, and there would have been damage marks on the classroom wall and the outer fence.”
The general added that the findings could be verified by the US because a US MQ-1B Predator UAV was in the same area and emphasized that it is an “indisputable fact” that no Russian Air Force plane was present in the airspace in the vicinity of the school on the morning of the supposed attack.
The ‘aerial’ attack was initially reported by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Civil Defense Network, also known as the White Helmets. Reports said 22 children and six teachers died in an air strike on Wednesday morning.