As the Syrian government plans a fresh assault on rebel-held areas in that war-torn country, its allies in Moscow are escalating a different sort of effort.
Russian media outlets such as Sputnik and RT are broadcasting pro-regime narratives and talking points as the Kremlin seeks to reshape public opinion worldwide to be less inclined to U.S. & Western intervention in the conflict.
A key part of the propaganda effort: social media trolls.
The Washington Post conducted an analysis of social media activity around a previous chemical attack in April 2018, and found startling results, including a 300% surge in posting activity and a hefty share coming from disinformation accounts likely controlled by Russia.
What can we expect now? Another concentrated effort among troll accounts that parrot Kremlin policy points and make it seem like public opinion is shifting in that direction. A quiet war while the hot one rages in Syria.
Check out the useful pointers for spotting foreign troll/bot activity in your social media feed, so you can block it, report it and avoid being taken in.