DOCTORED FOOTAGE AND FAKE CLAIMS: TURKISH MEDIA CAMPAIGN IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION PEACE SPRING

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Since the start of Operation Peace Spring, Turkish media outlets have released a large number of videos showing Turkish strikes on positions of the Syrian Army in Greater Idlib. In general, these videos provide a useful inside into Turkish operations against forces of the Damascus government. However, some of them appear to have apparent issues and cause legitimate raising of eyebrows.
It’s interesting to note that most of these ‘strange videos’ were released by ‘Clash Report’, the media outlet that spearheaded the Turkish military propaganda campaign in social media. Among other things, this media outlet released videos supposedly showing the destruction of the Russian-made Pantsir air defense systems and a bombing of a large Syrian Army military convoy. These videos drew a notable attention of the international audience. So, let’s get a closer look at them.

Video 1 – Destruction of a first Russian-made Pantsir air defense system

A simple example is the following Twitter post, in it, a Turkish drone strike reportedly destroyed a Russian-made Pantsir S-1, used by the Syrian Arab Army.
After the attack on its soldiers, Turkish Armed Forces destroyed one of the Syrian regime’s Russian-made Pantsir S-1 (Sa-22) air defense system. Aerial footage clearly shows the radar was active when it was hit.
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On the exact same day, with the exact same video, but in Arabic, the post claims that the Pantsir S-1 is being operated by the so-called Russian private military company – “Wagner” (Turkey regularly claims that Turkish-backed forces are fighting Russian mercenaries in Libya) – and that the radar was on and it was still destroyed in a drone strike, but in Libya.
جيش التركي ، دمر نظام الدفاع الجوي Pantir S-1 (Sa-22) الروسي الصنع. يبدو أن رادار النظام فعال..
ميليشيات Wagner الروسية في ليبيا.
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Both posts are followed, however, by a description of how much the Pantsir S-1 costs and that only 12 countries have the equipment, in the respective language.
The Pantsir S-1, said to be worth in excess of 75 million dollars, sits in the inventory of 12 countries, and was recently deployed by the Russian mercenary company in .
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إن Pantir S-1 ، نظام الدفاع الجوي الذي دمرته القوات الجوية التركية ، هو يستعمل 12 دولة. وتفيد التقارير بأن بانتسير ، بقيمة 75 مليون دولار ، تم استخدامها من قبل ميليشيات Wagner الروسية في ليبيا.
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Both of these claim Wagner deployed them in Libya.

Video 2 – Destruction of a second Russian-made Pantsir air defense system

A second video, purportedly showing a Pantsir-S1 system in Saraqib also raises some questions, as specifically to its content. It was published on March 3rd.
Images du système de défense aérienne (SA-22) abattu par des drones de combat turc à dans la nuit du 3 mars alors que son radar était actif.Des traces de caméras thermiques sur le côté de la batterie déterminent que le système a été tiré contre un avion turc
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The video is 16 seconds and is very obviously consisting of two glued fragments. The first fragment actually shows the installation of a rotating radar. The second begins with an explosion. Moreover, two fragments are glued in such a way as to create the feeling that this is a continuous video. However, a closer look allows to see that the second part was shot a little from a different angle.
Here are the shots between second 11-14, when the explosion happens, it fades to black, there’s a little flash and it resumes. It can be seen that the explosion is centered so that it is in the same place where the presumed Pantsir stood before gluing.
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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Then if the footage around second 14-16 is added here, it becomes obvious that the shooting is from a different angle. The tracks left from the Pantsir is now turned almost horizontally.
There are serious suspicions of falsification, as it can clearly be seen that there was an attempt to show the viewer something that this video does not specifically show.
Another problem is identical debris. After the explosion, a cloud of debris rises into the air. If one looks closely at them, it turns out that some of them are exactly the same.
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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Did the Pantsir system disappear? And finally, the main thing. Let’s see the “last” second before the explosion and the last second before the video ends. If one looked “closely” you could see that the Pantsir is mounted to a rather large four-axle vehicle, much larger than a normal truck. From it should remain quite large debris, parts of the chassis. There is nothing, nothing at all remains.
Red circles on the image show debris that have already landed on the ground, the smoke that one sees in the frame flies over them and sometimes covers them. That is, one can clearly see the surface of the earth, but the installation has disappeared. The identical debris flying in the air is in blue.
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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These lacks are so so obvious that there is even a sarcastic video presenting some of the issues the video has.

Video 3 – Strikes on a Syrian Army column near Maarat al-Numan

Moving on to another video published by Clash Report, this time on March 3rd. It purportedly showed a Syrian Arab Army convoy being punded by Turkish strikes.
Starting from the 13th second of the video, an individual supposedly exist the tank, and begins moving towards the other armored vehicle. What is questionable is the manner of his movement, as if he’s experiencing some sort of “video game lag,” but in real life.
Compared to the soldiers running in a file to the right, the movement of the individual on the left appears as if separated into specific frames, and rather odd, since the movement of everybody else in the footage is quite fluid.
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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Then, the next explosion, which also obviously has jumps in footage, of where the specific parts were glued together, also has entirely identical debris resulting from the explosion that happens at the 41st second of the video.
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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The final segment shows troops and a tank, being struck and then the camera rapidly pans to the side, not showing any of the aftermath, just the flash of the explosion and some partial debris.

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Therefore, Turkish media outlets intentionally released doctored footage and made false claims in an attempt to paint the Turkish military operation in Syria more successful than it was. This is a common approach for any side of the conflict. However, it’s interesting to note that no of ‘high-professional’ maisntream media outlets adressed these gaps in Turkish-provided video reports.
A summary of Turkish Defense Ministry claims on the supposed casualties and equipment losses of the Syrian Army during Operation Peace Spring:
Doctored Footage And Fake Claims: Turkish Media Campaign In Support Of Operation Peace Spring
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