Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday the Islamic State in Syria can be defeated within “months” if the government of Bashar al-Assad accepts a “peace strategy,” agrees to negotiate with “moderate rebels,” and accepts a “a political transition process involving elements of each side.”

Left out of the discussion is the fact there are no “moderate” and “non-terrorist opposition forces” fighting in Syria. This fact has been repeatedly documented by the media, including The New York Times.

After Russia entered the fray in defense of the Syrian government, this fact was swept aside.

The United States claims Russia is targeting “moderates” and not the Islamic State. In fact, Russia has targeted groups aligned with the Islamic State, such as al-Nusra, and others fighting to overthrow the government.

Following a vote in parliament permitting Britain to bomb Syria, Prime Minister David Cameron made the ludicrous claim there are 70,000 “moderates” fighting against the Syrian government.

The figure was provided by the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee, drawing on assessments by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK intelligence agencies and open sources, according to the BBC.

The claim was immediately criticized as brazen propaganda. “Having Photoshopped a fake poppy on to his lapel to honor Britain’s war dead, why shouldn’t [Cameron] get away with Photoshopping 70,000 fake ‘moderates’ on to a map of Syria?” asked Robert Fisk.

“If you look at the analysis of seasoned correspondents, including journalists in the field … who have written extensively on the nature of the opposition in Syria, the figures don’t come anything near approaching 70,000—or even half that number,” said MP Julian Lewis, who characterized the number as “magical.”

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