Lies made in london, some routed through U.S. government and Iran media channels, have aimed to escalate a U.S.-Russian confrontation over Syria during the past weeks. U.S. Secretary of State Clinton recently claimed that Moscow was supplying attack helicopters to Syria, but then had to back down. On June 13, international media claimed that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, speaking in Tehran, had accused the U.S. of arming Syrian rebels. Subsequently, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Lavrov's remarks had been mistranslated — as Bloomberg News and other media were later forced to agree, after reviewing the audio. He had actually said that the U.S. was supplying arms elsewhere "in the region, including a recent delivery to a Persian Gulf country."
Over the past seven days, the Russian government has twice had to deny two successive media reports that one or two of its warships were en route to Tartus in Syria.
On June 19, media were reporting a spectacular story that Syria would host the largest land and sea war games ever held in the Mideast later this month, including forces from Russia, China and Iran. They picked up the report from Iran's Fars News; Iran's Mashregh News and Mehr News also carried it. According to the Jerusalem Post, it originated from the Arabic-language Syrian news outlet ShamLife, and was also carried carried by Saudi Arabia's al-Arabiya.
The story was rich in detail.
But later on the 19th, Syrian President Assad's top political and media advisor, Bouthaina Shabaan, said, "Nothing of the sort will happen. This is one of those mendacious reports that are being desseminated [about Syria]," Interfax reported. She said that the report had no relation to reality. Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported that a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman had dismissed the report as an attempt to "further escalate the situation in Syria."