False reports which circulated in Iran claimed a group of British soldiers were captured in Syria, a few days before the US strike. The Sun Online contacted the Ministry of Defence, who denied the claims made by Iran’s semi-official news agency.

The unverified report was attributed to a journalist – based in Moscow – working for Lebanon’s news channel al-Mayadeen. Fars agency claimed the “British military men” who were taken in Eastern Ghouta, near the capital of Damascus were seized by Syrian-Russian military forces.

The report claimed the Brit soldiers were part of a plot involving “terrorists and NATO forces” to attack Damascus.

A source quoted in the false report claimed civilians were evacuated from the area of Eastern Ghouta as part of a larger bid to provide foreign agents [from states including the US, Israel and Turkey] with a means of leaving the area.