The Russian Defense Ministry did what every other troll does when caught red-handed - it deleted both posts.
An image circulated by the Russian military Tuesday purportedly showing "irrefutable evidence" of USA forces assisting Islamic State terrorists was actually taken from a 2015 video game. Instead, it said, American forces interfered with Russian air operations, allowing ISIS to recover and redeploy.
"The Russian Defense Ministry is investigating its civil service employee who erroneously attached wrong photo illustrations to its statement on interaction between the US-led global coalition and Islamic State militants near [Al-Bukamal], Syria", the ministry said, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.
Another image purporting to show the same convoy in Syria was actually taken from a 2016 video published by Iraq's defence ministry, which said it was an Islamic State convoy fleeing Fallujah, Iraq, Conflict Intelligence Team investigators found.
The ministry also said that the US coalition categorically refused to strike the retreating terrorists in spite of repeated proposals by the Russian military to conduct joint actions. As you'd expect from someone caught with their trousers down, the original tweets and Facebook posts have since been deleted, but once you post something on the Internet it's there forever.
Russia, which entered the conflict in late 2015 on the side of Bashar al-Assad's government, has long accused the west of backing extremist groups in Syria.
The defence ministry told Russian news agencies on Tuesday evening it was "carrying out checks on a civilian employee who mistakenly added photographs to the ministry's statement".
Responding to Russia's allegations in remarks carried by Reuters, a spokesman for the US-led coalition Col Ryan Dillon said the Russian allegations were "about as accurate as their air campaign".
If the idea of American forces in league with the Islamic State isn't absurd enough, it gets better: One of the screen captures was from a video game.
"We find this behavior particularly disappointing and inconsistent with the spirit of the November 11 joint statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation", said Maj. A scene in a documentary about Putin made by the USA film-maker Oliver Stone showed Putin playing the director video footage on a telephone of what he said were Russian forces on operations in Syria.