The Russian Defense Ministry first posted the alleged proof on Tuesday morning, with one black-and-white image showing a top-down gunship view of a series of trucks supposedly leaving the eastern ISIS-held village of Al-Bukamal for the nearby Syria-Iraq border.
Instead, it came from the smartphone game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron. The image went viral nearly immediately, but it was quickly debunked once someone recognized that the image was actually from a 2015 trailer for AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
Soon after people noted the dubious origin of the photographs, the defence ministry deleted its tweets, and removed the photographs from the corresponding Facebook posts.
Russia's Defense Ministry says it has launched an inquiry into pictures mistakenly attached to its statement.
Another image purporting to show the same convoy in Syria was actually taken from a 2016 video published by Iraq's defence ministry, which said it was an Islamic State convoy fleeing Fallujah, Iraq, Conflict Intelligence Team investigators found. It's not actually from a drone, but from a video game.
The original game footage, which was cropped in the ministry's post, included a red "FIRE" button in the bottom-right corner as well as a disclaimer in the top-right corner that read: "Development footage".
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The evidence was "irrefutable", the Russian defense ministry claimed: The US is supporting ISIS. This is a work in progress.
Hours later, the ministry published an updated statement with a different set of images, which it also said proved their claims.
According to the Russian MoD, Washington planned to "recover their combat capabilities,", so they could be used elsewhere in the Middle East as proxy forces on the Americans' behalf.
The ministry is investigating its civil employee who attached a wrong photo to illustrate the ministry's statement on Abu Kamal.
Responding to Russia's allegations in remarks carried by Reuters, a spokesman for the US-led coalition Col Ryan Dillon said the Russian allegations were "about as accurate as their air campaign".