Moscow, October 7, Interfax - The Russian Defense Ministry does not rule out that Islamic State terrorists might have blown up mosques in Palmyra and other Syrian populated areas to fabricate fake photos and videos to put the blame for these acts on the Russian Air Force, Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
"We do not rule out that terrorists might be deliberately preparing provocations in this and other populated areas, such as blowing up mosques, so as to further demonstrate fake photo and video materials to accuse Russian aviation in the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic," he said.
Russian pinpoint airstrikes on an Islamic State ammunition depot, armored vehicles, and command posts "have caused panic among the fighters," he said.
"Having realized the high efficiency with which our reconnaissance systems uncover camouflaged bases for storing weapons and hardware and the real threat of their imminent destruction, the terrorists are making efforts to move weapons to residential areas in cities," Konashenkov said.
As a rule, the gunmen redeploy armored vehicles near mosques, "perfectly aware that we will never deliver strikes on them," he said.
The general showed videos from a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle on a reconnaissance mission on Monday. "This example shows vividly: Moderate people won't use the civilian population as a human shield, not to mention bring armored vehicles under the shelter of religious sites. All these actions are a calling card of only terrorism," Konashenkov said in commenting on the videos.
He categorically dismissed reports by some foreign media "not really valuing their reputation in disseminating obvious lies about Russian military planes delivering airstrikes on the city of Palmyra."
"I call it to your attention that our aviation in Syria is not used [to attack] populated areas, not to mention architectural monuments," he said.