Russian Military Uses Video Game Screenshot To Allege US Support For ISIS

Russian Military Uses Video Game Screenshot To Allege US Support For ISIS
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A post on the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation’s Facebook page last night purported to show photographic proof that the US was aiding ISIS fighters in Syria. It turns out that one of the photographs included was from a video game.

According to the post, Russian air power was used to help Syrian troops take back the town of Abu Kamal from ISIS control. During the operation, the Ministry of Defence claimed it had learned US aircrafts were trying to provide cover for an ISIS convoy. Part of the “irrefutable proof” included in the Facebook post was actually an image from a promotional video for a mobile game called AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

Clearly mod_russia needs some better interns.

Clearly mod_russia needs some better interns.

A message in the top right corner of the video reads, “Development footage. This is a work in progress. All content is subject to change.” The screencap used by the Defence Ministry failed to clip out the “all content” part.

The propaganda’s connection to the two-year old game was discovered by people on Twitter and laid out in a post by researcher Eliot Higgans, currently a visiting scholar at King’s College. Another of the images used was taken from an existing Iraqi Ministry of Defence video. Russia’s Defence Ministry has since taken the images out of its Facebook post and deleted the tweet they were included in. Of course, their inclusion in the first place casts doubt on the rest of agency’s claims and “evidence” as well.

AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron tasks players with providing air support to troops on the ground during the Vietnam War. It isn’t a very well-known mobile game, and the studio behind it, Byte Conveyor, hasn’t updated its Facebook page since December of 2015. The graphics certainly looks realistic, though.

In addition to being a terribly tragedy for the people of Syria, the Syrian civil war has also been used by both the US and Russia to try to increase their influence in the war-torn region. While the US allegedly stopped its program of covertly arming terrorists in Syria last July, the country still maintains a troop presence there, much to the anger and frustration of Russia and the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. It was only last May that US-led forces hit a pro-Assad convoy. Propaganda on social media has been a consistent tool of Russia’s in that ongoing power struggle.

For all of hostile actions committed by the US in that country, however, shielding ISIS convoys using AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron does not appear to be one of them.


  • I mean really……. out of all the realistic video game screenshots you could have taken, you choose a MOBILE game?

    Sometimes I worry about the efforts of Russia to mess things up. Today is not one of those times.

    • More than likely an intern at the tv station was asked to get any footage of something like this and the intern just picked something random off youtube. Same thing happened to the CNN (I believe, not sure) where there was a story on the UN but the background image was the UNSC logo from halo.

      • It was BBC, not CNN. They used the UNSC logo from Halo because they were reporting on the UN Security Council.

        Presumably someone googled UNSC and when all the images returned were the same…

  • Given the amount of money that both countries make from war and conflict, neither have any trust or moral advantage to be pointing fingers anyway.

    Two liars screaming bloody murder while hiding their own kills.

  • When the footage from the game was published by the US, everyone for some reason kept silent. When Ukraine did it, everyone laughed and again said nothing. And suddenly there was a noise. And at this time, the reason was explained and the real shots were published, all of this suddenly ceased to be noticed … Double standards …

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