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Russian Defense Ministry: Video of airstrike on Syrian school doctored up

Russian drone records no damages typical of air strikes in area of strike-hit school in Syria

MOSCOW, October 27./TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry has established that information of UNICEF about an airstrike on a school in Syrian Idlib province does not correspond to the fact.

Video footage of an alleged airstrike published in foreign media is doctored up, it is more than ten separate fragments assembled together, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.

To check information of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Russian Defense Ministry has thoroughly analyzed all data recorders, monitoring the air situation in the northern part of Syria.

"Video footage of an alleged air strike on the Haas settlement, published by some foreign media outlets, is more than ten edited fragments assembled together," the major general said.

"None of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ planes flew into that area on Wednesday, October 26," he added.

Lacking signs of airstrike

According to Konashenkov, the photo published by foreign media shows that only one side wall of the building is damaged, and all desks in the classroom are on their places. "Moreover, it is clearly seen through a breach in the wall that the pinkish fence opposite it is intact, and is not even damaged by fragments," he said.

"This is impossible in principle - the fence and all walls of the building must have been destroyed and cut by fragments, while furniture swept away by a blast wave," Konashenkov explained.

A Russian drone was sent to the Haas to check the reports. The aerial photographs in the area of an alleged airstrike established absence of damage specific to airstrikes.

"As one can see on a photo from the Russian drone, the roof of the school is not damaged and there are no bomb craters in the area adjacent to the school. By the way, analogous data can be requested from our American colleagues," he said.

At this time, Russian means of air control followed in that area an American remotely piloted aerial vehicle MQ-1B Predator, Konashenkov added.

"All this means that the UNICEF leadership fell a victim to a new deception of swindlers in White Helmets. That is why, before making loud statements, UNICEF officials should check sources of their information in order not to undermine reputation of a respected organization," he noted.

Earlier, the UNICEF said 22 children and six teachers died when their school came under attack. UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said "it may be the deadliest attack on a school in Syria" since the conflict in that country began in 2011.

A number of mass media were quick to blame the tragedy on Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday Russia has nothing to do with the attack.