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

Jan 10 2018 - 37 Comments
By Tom Demerly

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…

  • CharleyA

    The Russian populace do like their conspiracy theories, and the state news agencies feed it to them regularly. Too bad that the level of media literacy in other countries allow those same theories to be treated as actual news vs. state disseminated propaganda.

  • Mykola Banderachuk

    any kind of news, analysis or other commentary coming from the russia is absolutely guarranteed to be pure nonsense, fiction, fake, myth, bull manure and other animal manure. the fake news factory of moskow is truly the kings of bullshit mountain.

    • Holztransistor

      Named yourself after Bandera? A Nazi collaborator. That tells much about you. Your hatred against Russians makes it impossible to take your posts seriously. There can’t be any objective comment from you.

      West Ukraine = Banderastan.

      • Srg720

        #1 goal of Ukrainians is to leave Ukraine, go live and work in other countries – including the “aggressor nation” and then declare their “patriotism” and fight Putin and Russian aggression via YouTube/social media.

    • Black Eagle

      Guaranteed by who? Ukrainian butthurts who still can’t go over their Nazi government has nothing under control and still failing to reach anything on the east? Anyway it’s only you, fanatic Ukrainians, who is responsible for the desperate situation where you found yourself, and blaming Russia for your own incompetence won’t change anything about it. You was about to lose already that day you decided to kill the first innocents, including Russian people, so now accept the consequences for all the crimes you have done.

  • Todor Kolev

    “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’s not a mystery at all. Translation: “Putin was right (as he always is because he is our God) when he said that we’ve beaten ISIS, so it can’t be them that plan and execute such attacks on our unbeatable army. It must be the rotten capitalists!”

    Pay no attention to such “information” because it’s intended target is not the West, but the people living in Russia that need to believe that Putin is the almighty leader that will make Russia great again (while in fact his only concern is making himself and his friends richer).

    • Holztransistor

      Where’s the proof for Putin’s wealth? I mean, real proof as in documents. Not just some hearsay.

      • Srg720

        No proof is necessary, just accept what we’re told.

  • Ilya Kurenkov

    Well, supporting of Afghan rebels in eighties, you know, Bin Laden, Al Quaeda.. Why don’t support ISIS these days? Nothing new for US of A.

  • Vapor

    Russia is saying the drones came from turkey..

  • leroy

    Is it possible that U.S. or Israeli intelligence caught wind of the impending ISIS attack with their fleet of primitive drones and the Navy wanted to collect electronic signals intelligence from them so as to be able to jam them at some point in the future? Yes. Would they warn the Russians? No. Why should they? Too bad! Get your own intel Vladimir. We (the US) have no responsibility for the safety of Russian aircraft or military forces stationed in the region. None whatsoever.

    • Andrew Tubbiolo

      Come on, watching some SU-24’s and maybe even SU-35’s hit with $40 drones, that’s a show I’d pay some serious money to watch. Maybe for about 5 min the enemy of my enemy really is my entertainment.

      • leroy

        Maybe they’ll post it on YouTube so you can watch those Russian planes get blown to hell for FREE!

        • Srg720

          So post the link, Leroy. What’s with all the unfulfilled promises?

  • juretrn

    I just googled “DIY drone kit” and got 4.5 million results.
    Do people really think one needs to be a technological powerhouse nation to build a drone these days?

    • Holztransistor

      Sure. But do these drones fit the specs for carrying bombs, bring them to a target and drop them with the help of military grade GPS coordinates? Where do you get such precise GPS data?

  • Darko Bargo

    “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.”

    First of all , questioning the CIA support of the Taliban with stinger missiles and training camps
    during the soviet-Afghan war is just pure propaganda. Amazing that anyone would even try to re-write history in 2017 when every piece of info is right at your fingertips.

    “possibly’s” or “coulda beens” is no different than fake news. The flight data trackers will tell everyone exactly what time the P8 was circling between Tartus and Khmeimin. More than likely during the attack, not just just flying around after the fact taking pictures. No different than FLIR video of ISIS units fleeing the Syrian army unimpeded right through “coalition” front lines.
    There’s no other way rag-tag Jihadis could have flew drones accurately for 50 kilometers without major assistance from an advanced, modern military force. Straight out of the “regime change” playbook.

  • really?

    The idea that the USA would supply weapons and materiel to anti govt forces in order to support regime change ????


  • To be honest it’s pretty hard to tell between fsa and isis anymore these days

  • OG_Locc

    Well, at least they didn’t use vid captures from a video game this time.

  • Lasse

    I would pretty much guess they mebe not supported it, but knew somehow it was going to happen, send the Poseidon there, reckord all emmisions from the Pantsir S2 and the electronic warfare units response, and we got a treasurethrowe of inteliigence.

  • KLD

    You know, I understand that the US and its military most likely do some pretty shady stuff out in the world but, helping ISIS? That is a new low even for Russia. What is their endgame? Are they trying to make the Russian people hate us more so that if war breaks out, they will be willing to die for the Rodina? After all, manpower is pretty much all they’ve got against a superior ‘enemy’.

  • sputnik is a ginormous fake news factory. Should be the “best” on the planet [hearts ]. They wrote so many lies that now, they are no more credible. to name one they say all Apollo missions was fake.

  • pappa gone

    bizarre . . . . thinking badly, often we know truth….

  • Ilya Kurenkov

    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.

    • leroy

      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.

      • Srg720

        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??

      • leroy

        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…

      • Srg720

        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

  • Holztransistor

    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.

      • Holztransistor

        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.

  • Holztransistor

    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.

  • Uniform223

    I bet the people who work for Sputnik “news” and other state run Russian outlets wear tinfoil head gear in the office. In found a picture of their news room…

  • Holztransistor

    That’s where we are headed:

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