In an interview with the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published on December 26, Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, who is chief of the general staff of the country's armed forces, answered questions regarding Russia’s military operation in Syria.
Despite the lengthy interview, General Gerasimov provided little new information beyond stating that “[m]ore than 48,000 soldiers and officers have gone through the Syrian campaign,” and adding that a quarter of them had received awards for their service in Syria. Yet this information gave the lie to the long-standing claim by the Kremlin and Defense Ministry that Russian troops had not been taking part in the ground operations in Syria -- a claim Polygraph.info has previously debunked.
The newspaper's reporter asked Gerasimov: “The information department of the Russian Defense Ministry and the General Staff has practically daily informed the public after almost every missile/bomb attack on the terrorists in Syria. Why, in your view, hasn’t the American coalition behaved in a similar fashion?”
The general responded: “About eight months ago, they also started to inform, to provide a summary. Of course, the difference is fundamental. They [do it] from time to time, but we [do it] on a daily basis.”
Gerasimov's claim is false on multiple levels.
The U.S.-led coalition’s mission against Islamic State, called the Combined Joint Task Force “Operation Inherent Resolve,” started releasing information on every airstrike in January 1, 2015, not “eight months ago,” and the reports are as detailed as it gets -- not “summaries,” as Gerasimov claims.
The coalition's “Strike Release” reports have been issued and published on a daily basis, not “from time to time,” as Gerasimov says. Every day of “Operation Inherent Resolve” since January 2015 to the present has been accounted for transparently, and the reports are available to the public.
Polygraph.info has done multiple fact-checks debunking the claims repeated by Valery Gerasimov in his interview. Here are just a few examples.
FALSE: "It seems to me that the coalition did not set as an objective, neither at that time nor now, the final defeat of ISIS."
FALSE: “It is actually ISIS. But after the work done with them [by the U.S. instructors], they change their colors, take another name – the 'New Syrian army' and others. Their objective is to destabilize the situation.”
FALSE: “Somewhere 25 kilometers west of al-Tanf there are more than 50,000 Syrian refugees. The Center for Reconciliation was created as part of the Russian military group in Syria, which is in fact coordinating and directing the delivery of all humanitarian aid, humanitarian convoys -- our Russian ones, U.N ones. These convoys go everywhere, but it is not working out in Rukban: the Americans do not allow them there - neither Syrian nor other convoys. The people are suffering.”
MISLEADING: “We broke the backbone of ISIL in Syria. In fact, our armed forces have routed the enemy.”