LONDON — If Russia has a legitimate complaint about U.S. forces letting ISIS militants slip through the closing net and escape their territory in Syria, it appears to have undermined its own argument by laying out the charges with bogus “evidence.”
Russia’s Ministry of Defense on Tuesday alleged in various statements cited by the country’s state-run media, and in social media posts, that the U.S. military “provides cover” for ISIS militants on the ground.
The allegations stem from the recent, on the border with Iraq. Last week, Syria’s government declared the town liberated from ISIS after a fierce fight for what had been the Sunni extremists’ last urban stronghold in the country.
The Russian MoD tweeted on Tuesday a message accusing the U.S. of “direct cooperation and support” for ISIS. The tweet offered four grainy images as “irrefutable evidence” of that alleged support, each purportedly showing an “ISIS automobile convoy” that had been allowed to leave Boukamal by American forces.
“These facts are conclusive evidence that the United States, while imitating an uncompromising fight against international terrorism for the global community, in fact provides cover for Islamic State units,” the defense ministry said.
But as Syrian war analyst Elliot Higgins and other online sleuths pointed out on Twitter, at least three of the images appear to be poor attempts to manufacture “evidence”; one is a screengrab from a computer game, and two others are taken from video or images that came out of neighboring Iraq, a year before the Boukamal battle.
“Having done some digging the images appear to have come from a video game called; ‘AC-130 Gunship Simulator – Convoy engagement,’ made by a company called; byte conveyor studios,” said Higgins….