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Wednesday, June 13

Sputnik, did a Syrian army commander really say that?

Sputnik; June 12:
The Syrian army is reinforcing its air defenses near the Golan frontier as tensions with Israel continue, a Syrian army commander said on Tuesday.

According to the commander, in the coming days additional backup is set to be deployed as the conflict has moved toward the southwest region of the country, Reuters reported.
The placement of the Russian-made Pantsir S1 is intended “to renew the air defense system against Israel in the first degree,” Reuters reported the commander as saying. [...]
I don't like to disturb a Sputnik reporter's beauty sleep, but I should not have to be doing your homework. Now go back and read the Reuters report you quoted:

Syrian army boosts air defenses near Golan frontier: pro-Assad commander

It's right in the headline; can't miss it. But to be crystal clear here's the first paragraph of the report:
BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army has reinforced its anti-aircraft defenses near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a commander in the regional alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday.
Does that sound like a Syrian army commander to you? Does it sound like the Reuters report you quoted?  

And I note you didn't provide a link to the Reuters report, so then I had to go to Google and find the report. Why did I do this? Because I attempt to verify every quote I read in every publication and if I can't, the quote doesn't get onto my blog.   
As to whether the allied commander's claim is correct -- how should Reuters know? They're phoning in from Beirut, and unlike the guy who runs Al-Masdar News, who also phones in from Beirut, Reuters doesn't have lots of friends in the Syrian army. 

But one would think the Russian government, of which Sputnik is a part, would be able to scare up their own source inside the Syrian army to check the authenticity of the commander's claim. That they haven't -- that they're falling back on misquoting Reuters -- raises a question about the reliability of the sensational claim.

As to whether Al-Masdar New has reported on the commander's claim -- nope.  

Think I'm making a mountain out a molehill? It's just such molehills that have helped fuel the Syrian war -- and all long-running wars. But I'm picking on Sputnik to give a demonstration of what it takes to follow war news. Blink and  you're lost.  

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