On September 9, a program of TV Obiektivi, Golden Intersection, showed a Russia 24 news reportage (Vesti 20:00), according to which the United States Air Force Helicopter evacuated two ISIS field generals from the surroundings of Deir ez-Zor, together with their family members, on August 26. According to the reportage, two days later, on August 28, 20 more generals were taken from Albu Leyl district together with their closest entourage. According to the TV anchor of Vesti, the given facts indicate to the direct support of the troops fighting on ISIS’ side by some members of the international coalition. After the aforementioned reportage went on air of TV Obiektivi, the host of the programme, Valeri Kvaratskhelia said that the US policy is a monster that does not shy away from cooperating with terrorists and fascists and carrying out colorful revolutions.
The Vesti reportage aired on TV Obiektivi is disinformative. There is no evidence about the US Air Force allegedly evacuating the ISIS generals. The disinformation has been first published without a source by a Syrian news platform Deirezzor 24 and was later disseminated by the media outlets and tabloids funded by the Government of Russia. According to EU Disinfo, the claim is a part of a recurring disinformation – “Coalition against Daesh is aiding Daesh”.
According to DFRLab of the Atlantic Council, the disinformation was first disseminated by the Syrian news platform Deirezzor 24 on August 27. The article claims that the coalition forces evacuated two ISIS generals-in-chief and their families to the west of Deir ez-Zor, Syria. The article notes that the two ISIS generals were “spies” of the coalition.
Photo: The Material Published by Deirezzor 24 on August 27
The material disseminated by Deirezzor 24 does not indicate a source of the information, however, the unverified news found great feedback among the Kremlin-funded media outlets. The aforementioned media outlets disseminated the disinformation with identical titles and even though the title of the material published by Deirezzor 24 did not mention the United States, they connected the unverified information on the evacuation of the ISIS field generals to the US.
Chronology of Dissemination of Disinformation in the Russian-Funded Media and Tabloids
- On September 5, the disinformation was published by a pro-Russian and pro-Assad media – Inside Syria Media Center, yet, without indicating a source. The material notes that on August 28, the air forces of the international coalition transported more than 20 ISIS generals from Albu Leyl to the military air base located in the Northern Syria.
- Two days later, on September 7, Russian media outlets – Sputnik International and RIA Novosti published the information with similar titles and content with a one-minute interval. Moreover, Sputnik International even indicated that the information had been provided to Sputnik by “military and diplomatic sources”. RIA Novosti, on its behalf, indicated that the information had been provided by “military and diplomatic sources” to them.
The information “verified” by the anonymous sources of Sputnik and RIA Novosti about the US evacuating ISIS fighters in Syria has been published by up to ten tabloid media outlets. Overall, the disinformation has been shared nearly 14,000 times in social networks.
Prepared based on EU Disinfo and the Atlantic Council DFRLab materials
Prepared by Dali Kurdadze