Top officials with U.S. coalition battling the Islamic State in the Middle East flatly denied claims being circulated on social media by Russia that Washington is colluding with the terror group.
“Their statements are as accurate as their air campaign,” Col. Ryan Dillon, the top U.S. military spokesman in the region, said Tuesday.
“I think that is a reason for them to start coming out with their latest barrage of lies [because] they are currently having some setbacks” in that fight, Col. Dillon added while taking a unveiled shot at Russia’s indiscriminate airstrikes against Islamic State targets and rebel forces battling Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Col. Dillon’s comments come in response to purported surveillance imagery showing “irrefutable evidence” of U.S. forces assisting an Islamic State convoy moving toward the Syrian-Iraqi border.
“This is the irrefutable evidence that there is no struggle against terrorism as the whole global community believes,” Russia’s Ministry of Defense wrote in social media posts. “The U.S. are actually covering the [Islamic State] combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East.”
Moscow quickly deleted the posts after recent reports claim the so-called surveillance imagery cited was actually a screenshot from a mobile video game, featuring the U.S. Air Force’s famed C-130 gunships.
“Recent falsified images promulgated by the Russian ministry of defense … represent just one more episode of a recurrent pattern of defamation, distortion, distraction that seeks to discredit the U.S. and our successful coalition fight against ISIS in Syria,” said a Defense Department statement, using another name for the terror organization, CNN reported Tuesday.
The Russian military is investigating claims that a civilian employee attached the bogus images, state-run media reported.
• Andrew Blake contributed to this story.
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