Two Incidents Claimed by Russian Media Form Bizarre Conspiracy Theory About U.S. Support For ISIS in Syria

Russia suggesting attack on airbase in Syria is linked to U.S. Navy maritime patrol aircraft presence.

Syrian and Russian media outlets including the state-run Sputnik News have reported that a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft flew in close proximity of the Russian Hmeymim (Khmeimim) airbase and Tartus naval facility in Syria during a recent attempted “swarm” attack by ISIS on Russian installations using thirteen improvised drones. The slant of the articles that appeared in Sputnik News on January 9, 2018 and in Almasdar News (AMN) on the same day suggest a connection between the attempted swarm attack, countered by the Russians, and the presence of the U.S. surveillance aircraft.

A quote published in the January 9, 2018 Sputnik article read, “This forces us to take a fresh look at the strange coincidence that, during the attack of UAV terrorists on Russian military facilities in Syria, the Navy reconnaissance aircraft Poseidon was on patrol over the Mediterranean Sea for more than 4 hours at an altitude of 7 thousand meters, between Tartus and Hmeymim.” The quote was attributed to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Another earlier incident from reports on December 30 and 31, 2017 claimed that, “US helicopters have evacuated Daesh leaders from several areas across the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor to the country’s northeast.” (Note: “Daesh” is an Arabic language reference often used interchangeably with ISIS or ISIL). The reports surfaced in both “PressTV” reports and in an Almasdar News (AMN) media and a Pravda report.

Syrian and Russian media outlets questioned alleged evacuation of ISIS personnel by U.S. helicopters. (Photo: SANA screen capture)

Taken collectively, the tenor of the reports seems to feed a conspiracy theory that the U.S. may be providing some level of tacit or clandestine support to select members of ISIS in Syria. The reports come following Russia’s announcement of the withdrawal of most of its forces from Syria during a Dec. 13, 2017 visit by President Vladimir Putin.

Why Russia, or at least some Russian and state-oriented Syrian news agencies, have continued the narrative of U.S. collusion or secret support of ISIS without specific factual evidence remains a mystery. It may be to associate some greater national influence with any ISIS success in the region, suggesting ISIS itself is not capable enough to plan and execute these operations. Some of the reports surfaced on various Russian social media pages, but appear to have been removed in subsequent days. In contrast a new report published on January 9, 2018 in the Almasdar News (AMN) seems to back pedal on conspiracy claims, quoting a U.S. statement from official Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Adrian Rankin-Galloway that said, “The US military is concerned that combat drone technology used by terrorists in attempted attacks on two Russian facilities in Syria is available on the open market.”

The latest Almasdar News report did go on to say, “It is the first time when Daesh terrorists have used modern guidance technologies on satellite GPS. The Russian security services are carrying out a probe to find out who supplied the drones to terrorists.”

Defense journalist Joseph Trevithick wrote in a January 9, 2018 report in “The War Zone” that, “The assertion that the United States and its allies are actually in league with ISIS, which it sees as indistinct from other groups in Syria opposed to the regime of dictator Bashar Al Assad, is a long-standing conspiracy theory. This is not the first time the Russians have made such allegations, either. The latest string of attacks on Khmeimim is particularly uncomfortable, though, coming after Putin’s triumphant victory tour to Syria and other countries in the region in December 2017.”

The template for conspiracy theories of U.S. support of insurgents is a persistent one since the 1985-87 Iran-Contra controversy of the Reagan era, when the U.S. was implicated in supporting Iranian arms sales despite an embargo. History can trace similar instances back through the Vietnam conflict and earlier, and as recent as alleged support of Afghan guerillas led by Osama Bin Laden during their war against the then-Soviet Union when the U.S. was implicated with helping construct a training base in Khost, Afghanistan in support of training Mujahedeen guerillas to fight the Soviets.

Dealing with the P-8 Poseidon flying not far from Latakia, this is far from unusual. The aircraft, launched from NAS Sigonella, Italy, can be frequently tracked online while gathering intelligence during missions off Syria. As someone has suggested, the U.S. Navy aircraft was possibly snooping around in the aftermath of the swarm of drones attack on Hmeymim airbase to get some details about it.

By the way, it’s also worth noticing that these days, the U.S. ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft seem to be interested in something else in the Crimea and Black Sea areas, considered the frequency of the sorties flown over there…

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on,, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.


  1. If we count a bit, we’ll find out that America is the world champion in changing regimes. Oh those shameless interventions to the countries all over the world (Including Russia, by the way).
    And, actually, it was Russia who defeated nazis. And I know that you know it, troll.

    • Sorry Ilya, but if it had been a one-front war without U.S. and UK carpet bombing, no Atlantic sea-war, no supplies rushed to Russia from the US, then guess what? Germany could have focused the might of the entire Wehrmacht on the Eastern front and Red Army forces would have eventually fallen. The German war machine was too big for you to take on alone.

      You needed Allied help. Besides – everyone knows that Zhukov, Konev, and Vasilevsky were all drunks! The only thing that enabled them to keep their wits about them was copious amounts of vodka and a rifle kept aimed at the back of their heads by Stalin. It’s a good thing you had Patton charging in from the West to sober them and the German Army (Heer) up. Otherwise, all land East of the Urals would now be part of the German Reich! C’mon – admit it.

      • Actually “student of history” Leroy, in 1941/42 the red army was already fighting the entire wehrmacht 1 on 1 with very little help from the west and carpet bombing. Maybe read some David glantz??

      • Make that WEST of the Urals! East would have been taken by Japan. Russia would have ceased to exist.

    • No, it wasn’t.

      If Russia did, indeed single handedly defeat the nazis, then why did they need American equipment? Why did the Nazis employ, almost exclusively their wonder weapons against the western side? Why did it take the Russians “beating” Germany to finally start the Machurian force deployment and not have two fronts to fight instead?

      Let’s see, brazil, Cuba,Chile, Angola(and the other neighbouring countries), the Arab countries and the Wars against Israel, Vietnam, Koreas, including America(we all know how you guys got the trigger for the nukes) and even more countries…

      • Most American equipment arrived after 1943.. a time when wars outcome was already decided but you can continue with your bold lend lease claims, pepe

  2. Communism was the greatest fear in America and so they did everything against it and supported whoever was against the Soviet Union, even the scum that radical Muslims are. Now Russia is an adversary in terms of global hegemony. And the U.S. still does the same.

    • Because communism hasn’t killed 100 million people, and destroyed countless countries in the process right? In fact, communism was a much bigger threat to the world than nazism was.

      And America only provided stinger missiles with basic instructions on how to use them to very few cave dwellers(who then trained the rest). Who knew the Russians would end up tasting the mess they did in Vietnam.

      • Yes, cave dwellers are the right allies for you.

        After the Soviets were gone you dropped them like a hot potato and they made Afghanistan a hell for everyone who wasn’t following their Islamist regime. The women were oppressed the most. Not even allowed to go to school. That were your “freedom fighters”.

        Good job, again.

  3. The GPS data extracted from the drones is a lot more precise than an amateur could obtain.

    • You do realize you don’t need to manufacture a gps unit, right? Also, those things look like it used only a camera to guide them.

      Also, Russian MoD? Even CNN and Buzzfeed are more reliable than they are, and that is a VERY, VERY, VEEERRY low bar. And they try to sound as if flying is a complicated matter. Strap a cheap engine, which they did, no modifications needed, as in, there’s only one speed setting, get a camera with gps built in, or even some cheap ass gps and done. There’s nothing, absolutely nothing sophisticated in those drones.

  4. That’s where we are headed:

    Goodbye free speech. A social media post can make anyone a target.

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