RUSSIA has been caught out using old computer game images to claim American forces were assisting Daesh.
The false images, shared on the Russian ministry of defence’s official Facebook and Twitter pages, were accompanied by a caption asserting that it showed a Daesh convoy leaving the Syrian city of Abu Kamal, dated November 9, 2017.
The Kremlin insisted the images offered ‘irrefutable evidence’ that the US-led coalition was working together with Daesh troops ‘to promote American interests’ in the Middle East.
A now-deleted Facebook statement went further, claiming the footage was captured by Russian drones on November 9.
In the post, the Russian government claimed: ‘Last week, the #SyrianArabArmy supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces has liberated #AbuKamal.
‘The operation ascertained facts of direct co-operation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the Isis [Daesh] terrorists.’
Yet online sleuths quickly tracked the images to a series of different video games from the past two years.
The most glaring inclusion showed what appeared to be a military convoy, filmed from above in black and white.
Yet a reverse image search of the picture, which checks it against images stored in online databases, shows it was first uploaded as part of a promotional video for AC-130 Gunship Simulator, a mobile video game uploaded to YouTube in March 2015.
About an hour after their publication, the Russian ministry of defence removed the disputed photographs from its social media pages.
The images come as Russia’s role in spreading disinformation around the world comes under increasing scrutiny in the UK and US.
Yesterday, prime minister Theresa May used her speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London to accuse Russia of ‘meddling’ in elections.
‘[Russia] is seeking to weaponise information,’ she said.
‘Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and Photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.’
The Russian ministry of defence has not responded to multiple requests for comment.