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Shoddy Journalism from German 'Bild' -- Exposé on Russian Strikes in Syria Debunked

A prime example of how facts and documents can be distorted to serve the anti-Russian agenda

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

In an exclusive story, Bild reported how experts (Bellingcat and other internet users) have exposed Putin as a liar. Based on videos released by the Russian ministry of defense, Bellingcat (a supposed expert) with the help of other internet users have analysed the areas that according to the Russian ministry of defense were bombed. They claim to have proved that the Russian air forces haven’t hit a single ISIS target, because ISIS doesn’t operate in those areas.

Excerpts from the ‚Exclusive Story’ in Bild:

The fight against ISIS terrorists was Putin’s initial reason for the deployment of Russian air forces in Syria. The Russian president called the intervention in Syria on the 30th of September the ‚only way to fight international terrorism’

Videos show how Russia cheats the world

Since the beginning of the air strikes in Syria Russian ministry of defence releases videos of its sorties on a daily basis. The sublines boast how an ISIS HQ was destroyed or how an ISIS ammunition storage was hit directly. But the videos don’t live up to their expectations. Internet users that ‘specialize in localising video footage’ have had a closer look at them and have come to ‘astonishing’ conclusions. The official descriptions of the videos rarely match the actual targets of the air strikes…

Six volunteers have ‚located’ the areas in the videos, thus debunking them [videos] as falsifications. He [Higgins/Bellingcat] himself only checked the results to ensure they were correct. Everyone can see that Russia is fooling the world, since the material is still available...!!!

Based on the videos that were released by the Russian ministry of defense not a single air strike against ISIS has taken place so far...

So I thought I’d give it a go and check the facts as well:

·         I took an example where the expert analysts around Bellingcat and Bild exposed the location to be a falsification and that Russia wasn’t bombing ISIS at all. See the illustration below.

·         I used the map that has also been used by Bild and Bellingcat to illustrate the areas held by the different war parties in Syria.

·         I marked the places that Russian ministry of defence claimed they have hit.

My conclusion:

·         The findings of Bellingcat and other expert internet useres are correct that the places hit were not Raqqah itself but some 150 miles away from Raqqah.

·         To my surprise, however, Russian ministry of defence never claimed they bombed Raqqah itself but Cassert-Farrah south-west of Raqqah.

·         Bellingcat and other experts claim that there were no ISIS positions. Because the area was some 150 miles away from Raqqah.

·         To my surprise the map used by Bild and Bellingcat to illustrate areas held by different war parties in Syria also shows the ‚150 miles away area’ is also held and controlled by ISIS

Now I am little bit confused. 

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