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Syrians laugh off Russian claims of rebel ceasefire infringements Open in fullscreen

Martin Armstrong

Syrians laugh off Russian claims of rebel ceasefire infringements

Footage from Russian TV crews on the ground in Syria has drawn scrutiny [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 September, 2016

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Video clips claiming to show Russian TV crews coming under fire by rebel fighters in Aleppo have been cited as examples of Moscow's poorly managed propaganda war in Syria.
Since a ceasefire came into place in Syria on Monday evening, the Syrian opposition, rebels, US, and Russia have all traded accusations over who has broken the agreement.

On Friday, the Syrian opposition claimed that regime forces had violated the truce 130 times in the first three days.

The accusation came the day after Russia - seeking to defend the Syrian regime from criticism - claimed rebel groups had violated the ceasefire agreement 60 times in less than 48 hours.

Moscow has also accused Washington of failing to ensure that rebel groups it "controlled" to abide by the terms of the agreement.

Instead, Russia claims that the armed opposition are using the ceasefire as a pretext to "re-organise".

Bogus

It comes as hold ups of aid to Aleppo cast doubts over the efficacy of the truce agreement.

Aid convoys set to travel to Syria's embattled second city are currently on standby on the country's northern border with Turkey awaiting guarantees from both pro-government and rebel forces, the UN says.

However, the convots would have to travel along the precarious Castello Road into Aleppo, which has been a major front in the war.

On Friday both Syrian state TV and the Lebanese pro-regime Mayadeen TV channel broadcast images appearing to show bulldozers clearing barricades away from the Castello Road in preparation for the delivery of aid. 

Many believe that Russia and pro-regime channels were displaying yet another example of their bias with crudely produced propaganda.



Russia says delays to the arrival of aid in Aleppo have been caused by rebels firing on regime troops.

Footage showing Russian journalists coming "under fire" in Aleppo have been ridiculed by pro-opposition activists who say this is yet another example of Moscow's propaganda machine at work.

One clip shows a fairly non-plussed flak-jacket wearing Russian reporter purportedly coming under fire from assailants that cannot be seen on the screen at a checkpoint on the Castello Road.

The reporter is then seen running with head bowed past a barrier of sandbags back into the open before a Syrian army soldier suddenly appears with a bazooka in hand ready to provide cover.

"Why is the "reporter" running past buildings to open land for cover & why does RPG gunner run after him just to shoot?", one Twitter user pointed out.

"I've seen better acting in B Movies," another scoffed.

The video clips have also come under the scrutiny of Conflict Intelligence Team, a group of Russian investigative bloggers founded in 2014 that monitor the military movements of the Kremlin. 

Based on investigations of three video clips allegedly showing rebel attacks on Syrian army positions along the Castello Road the team concluded that all three videos "look staged". They added that the two different reports in fact record the same incident from different angles.

"The overall situation in all the videos is also identical," commented Ruslan Leviev, the founder of monitoring group, on a blogpost on the military watchdog's website.

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