US-Led Coalition: Russian MoD’s “Statements Are About As Accurate As Their Air Campaign”

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A statement of the US-led coalition’s spokesman and analysis of the recent developments over the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement on al-Bukamal.

US-Led Coalition: Russian MoD's "Statements Are About As Accurate As Their Air Campaign"

A U.S. Army soldier stands on an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle, near al-Ghanamya village, al-Darbasiyah town, at the Syrian-Turkish border. Photo by Youssef Rabie Youssef/EPA

On November 14, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the US-led coalition had resufsed to carry out airstrikes on ISIS columns withdrawing from the Syrian city of al-Bukamal and de-facto allowed the terrorists to regroup in its area of the responsibility. It even added

The US-led coalition’s spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon responded to this statement saying that it is inaccurate.

I would say the Russian Ministry of Defense statements are about as accurate as their air campaign. And I think that is a reason for them to start coming out with their latest barrage of lies. They are currently having some setbacks,” Dillon told reporters. “Almost anything that comes out of the Russian MoD is suspect and inaccurate.”

Dillon pointed out that Syrian forces suffered a blow when they failed to establsih a full control over the city of al-Bukamal despite the official statements on the issue.

The al-Bukamal statement incident went far beyond a common “mistake. Let’s take a look on what really happened:

On November 14 morning, the Russian Defense Ministry reported a glaring fact: the US-led coalition refused to carry out airstrikes on ISIS convoys withdrawing from al-Bukamal. According to the Russian state-run media agency TASS, Moscow has recorded transcripts of the talks on the issue.

This incident was a clear example of the US support to ISIS terrorists operating in Syria. A showdown of this fact would deliver a blow to the US public image, especially when the US is steadily loosing ground in the world’s media landscape. However, the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement appeared to be illustrated with obvious fake images (in total, 5 images). Originally, the statement appeared in Russian with the aforementioned package of fake images. Later, in about 50-60 minutes, the English version of the statement also appeared online. But this version included a bit different images.

A fake ISIS column near al-Bukamal from the statement in Russian:

US-Led Coalition: Russian MoD's "Statements Are About As Accurate As Their Air Campaign"

Click to see the full-size image

A fake ISIS column near al-Bukamal from the statement in English:

US-Led Coalition: Russian MoD's "Statements Are About As Accurate As Their Air Campaign"

Click to see the full-size image

Almost immediately (within 10-15 minutes) after the release of the statement in Russian, some users in the comment section found that the released pictures are fake. One can only assume how well they are aware of the existing video footage on YouTube with wich they were able to compare the released pictures.

It’s hard to sppose that the release of 5 fake images could be a technical mistake or a negligence. This is especially unlikely when we talk about such an important issue for the Russian side.

Some epxerts find it highly possible that on November 14 we were able to observe an exampe of the successfull special operation conducted by US intelligence services, most likely the CIA. The Russians say that a civil service employee was responsible for attaching “wrong photo illustrations”. He may have received a bribery. This is one of the possible explanations. Another  explanation is a forgery with the use of technical means. Or something else.

In any case, the chance that it was an accident is close to zero. As a result of the conducted move, the US received an opportunity to mock any Russian accusations of cooperation with ISIS in the area of al-Bukamal. The facts are not the issue. The public opinion was shifted and the ground was created to take the discussion away from the facts to the emotions.

This incident, alongside with the previou mistakes of the Russians in the media sphere, will allow the US to strengthen its position in the ongoing information confrontation.

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