Russia's Defense Ministry blames a ‘civilian employee’ for tweeting a videogame screenshot, and publishes more ‘irrefutable evidence’ that America is helping ISIS

17:01, 14 november 2017

Russia’s Defense Ministry says it is investigating the publication of a videogame screenshot presented as evidence of American collusion with ISIS in Syria. Officials say the Defense Ministry's tweets (one in Russian and another in English) were written by a civilian employee.

Defense officials still assert, however, that the U.S. military in Syria is aiding terrorists. In a revised tweet, Moscow published more “irrefutable evidence” allegedly recorded by drones, repeating the government’s earlier claim that “the U.S. are [sic] actually covering ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East.”

In a new statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry says the U.S. military refused to attack ISIS forces on November 9 outside the city of Abu Kamal in Syria. Moscow maintains that this decision by the Americans is “an objective fact, recorded in transcripts of the talks.”

On September 13, the BBC reported on a “secret deal” that let hundreds of ISIS combatants and their families escape from Raqqa, as U.S. and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces fighting to take the city looked the other way. The convoy reportedly included “some of ISIS' most notorious members” and several foreign fighters. “Great pains were taken to hide it from the world,” the BBC said, referring to the deal that brought an end to four months of fighting for control over ISIS' de facto capital city.

On September 15, The New York Times reported that a convoy carrying 300 ISIS fighters (not the same convoy identified in the Russian Defense Ministry's November 14 tweets) was allowed to reach ISIS-controlled territory in early September, following a request from the Russian military that the U.S. remove aerial reconnaissance over the convoy as part of what is called “deconfliction” (a process designed to avoid inadvertent attacks against one another by Russian-backed Syrian forces and American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces).

Earlier on November 14, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Twitter account published (and later deleted) several black-and-white photos, claiming they were drone footage proving the United States’ support for ISIS combatants. The research group Conflict Intelligent Team (CIT) has pointed out, however, that one of the photos published by Russia’s Defense Ministry is actually a screenshot from the mobile videogame “AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.”