Sep 29, 2013

Location of Liwa Al Islam Videos

If this is your first time here, I recommend starting from the conclusion page.

Following the enhancement of the Liwa Al-Islam videos, I analyzed them to create a map of possible locations, based on the following:
  1. An open field
  2. Within UMLACA range of Jobar. The blue circles are 3 km and 4 km from Jobar center. 
  3. Within UMLACA range of Qabun. The green circles are 3 km and 4 km from Qabun center. 
The 4 km circles (which are beyond UMLACA range) were used since the attacks are not necessarily near the town's center.

Note: These are the locations matching the claims made in the video. It may have been shot elsewhere.



The orange areas match all three criteria, with the areas within the two inner circles representing higher likelihood. The western area is less likely since it is the border between regime-controlled area and contested-area and would mean a rocket attack coming from behind the Syrian Army.

The red area is the estimated launch source that was 
independently calculated from rocket impact sites.

Conclusion: Assuming this is no coincidence, it seems that the videos were shot at the location of the real source of the attack, or were fabricated by people who know it.


38 comments:

  1. The range estimate 3km to 4km is not feasible.

    You made the assumption that the weight ratio of the HE to CW variant scales linearly to distance,

    The assumption is flawed for a number of reasons

    - The relationship of weight to range is non-linear

    - Your weight estimates in any case are flawed. Known instances use a 122mm cargo rocket in a 133mm case (see http://brown-moses.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/a-detailed-summary-of-evidence-on.html and in particular http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0ZzxQfGdxZA/UiRsLmLWpLI/AAAAAAAAFUg/GQWji5fVCyE/s1600/2.jpg showing a 122mm internal rocket)

    The essential difference between the HE and CW variant is payload size and rocket length. The lighter CW variant has a shorter motor hence less total impulse.

    I have done further simulation of the HE variant including adding mass for the heavy 5mm tubing and using an appropriately sized motor. Range in a number of different optimisations is around 2000m (c.f. Hezbollah 107mm similar IRAM with 1000m max range).

    Your original calculations for the CW variant are consistent with a lighter, shorter missile, with a lower total impulse motor. Hence probably similar range.

    Reiterating, the image http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0ZzxQfGdxZA/UiRsLmLWpLI/AAAAAAAAFUg/GQWji5fVCyE/s1600/2.jpg is definitive for a 122mm internal cargo rocket. The UN ~120mm OD figure is an aberration that can't be explained and is probably wrong.

    On topic. How does your analysis change if the range is 2000-2500m?

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    1. Thanks for the detailed analysis.
      Note this sentence in the article:
      "The 4 km circles (which are beyond UMLACA range) were used since the attacks are not necessarily near the town's center."
      So the 4 km circles match roughly a 3 km range, while the 3 km circles match a 2 km range.
      I agree that 2.5 km is the most likely number, and the attack was probably within the inner circles.

      Delete
  2. this is huge. thank you for your continued work. look forward to some of this getting some media traction. you need a benefactor like HRW :)

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  3. This is sad. All you've done is drawn circles and highlighted areas of the map that are slightly less built up without ever attempting to show that's where the videos were made and then made a blind assertion that the people who made the videos must have done it from where the attacks were launched?

    Try again this is incredibly shoddy work and just throwing it out there in the hopes some commentator will fix your lack of rigor is an embarrassment to the importance of the question. Really really pathetic logic on this one by you.

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    1. Drawing circles on maps using a quite reasonable set of research is a very good and honest way to present an argument.

      sasa wava has put up his case and awaits honest criticism. For example I don't agree with some of his assertions and have said so. In the end we hope a better understanding for all will arise from the discussion.

      You sir have added nothing to the discussion by your comment. Yours is just a wild swipe with no logic or additional information or serious questions.

      If you want to add value, address in detail the points raised here and on the many other pages of this blog.

      Delete
    2. Hello and Welcome,
      The highlighted areas are based on the videos claiming to target Qabun and Jobar using an UMLACA, and from an open field.
      If you think this information is incorrect, or can show other places matching this information, I would gladly correct my conclusion.
      Also note that the conclusion also allows for these to have been fabricated by someone knowing the location.

      Delete
    3. How did Venn Diagrams suddenly become shoddy analysis? I am sure a lot of mathematicians, physicist, biologists, and most scientists would be curious about such an assertion.

      Delete
    4. You guys are being willfully disingenuous, shock and surprise.

      The Venn diagram approach of identifying a likely launch location first demands that you prove only one launch location. The msot it could show is that there is a posisbility that allw ere launched from the same location. But you've gone beyond that and pretended that because there is some green on a pulled out goggle map view and the video provided has some green in it, they must be from the same location. This is the laziest of thinking and has nothing to do with logic. You guys are lying to yourselves about your logical superiority while making completely unfounded leaps to the conclusion you want to draw.

      Pathetic.

      Delete
    5. If you examine the videos frame by frame you'll see it is clearly an open field. Again, you're more than welcome to show other locations that could be a match, and I'll add them.

      Delete
    6. Also, you seem to be very emotional. I assume this is because you think this site presents evidence that contradicts your existing beliefs.
      All we're trying to do here is discover who is behind this crime. If the evidence shows in a direction you don't like, it doesn't change the facts.
      If we end up finding that party A is to blame, it doesn't mean that Party B is immediately right and should be given control of the country.
      Let's concentrate on the evidence, and not bring our political views in.
      Thank you!

      Delete
    7. This is your conclusion:
      Assuming this is no coincidence, it seems that the videos were shot at the location of the real source of the attack, or were fabricated by people who know it.

      Your logic is "the video was shot in an open field, an open field exists in this area. Therefore the video was shot in this area"

      This is stupid and everyone who reads it is stupider for having done so.

      Delete
    8. the logic is more complex:

      Video is in an open field
      It shows an UMLACA targeted at Jobar.
      It shows an UMLACA targeted at Qabun.
      UMLACA range is less than 3 km

      If you can contradict any of these facts, or show another location that matches them, I will gladly change the post.

      Delete
    9. Yuo keep changing the range to fit your argument. You drew the circles at 4 and 4 and 3 and now it's less than three. You've assumed targeting on the center and you're assuming everything said in the video is accurate and that it must be video of the actual launches because otherwise your entire argument falls apart.. You ignore the other areas highlighted inside your range circles to pretend it has to be the region you've previously "discovered" by ignoring half the trajectory evidence provided.

      It is pathetic you're making up your own facts and you still can't follow your logic consistently.

      Delete
    10. 1. Range was not changed. please read the post carefully.
      "The 4 km circles (which are beyond UMLACA range) were used since the attacks are not necessarily near the town's center."
      This is exactly the correction for targeting the center that you mention.

      2. Nowhere am I saying the video is real. I'm saying where the video CLAIMS to be. That's all.

      I'm glad to have you here and contribute your opinions and evidence, but please refrain from personal offenses, and try to read carefully before responding.

      We're all just trying to find who did it. If it turns out to be people you currently support, isn't that something you'd like to know?

      Thanks again.

      Delete
  4. As I believe you've pointed out earlier, there would be no good reason for an after-the-fact "fabrication" video to claim to be attacking Qabun and Jobar, when they would have known the actual, more detailed attack locations. That, in addition to the findings that the only possible attack area was not under regime control, seals the deal for me. All the stuff about the regime apparently having used UMLACAs in other non-chemical attacks is besides the point, as you've also demonstrated.

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    1. A straightforward fabrication does indeed seem weird, but perhaps we're missing something, and someone will come up with a good explanation.

      Delete
  5. Sasa, a lengthy period of silence from me, but you may want to consider the following information as part of your overall analysis.

    Al Aan, pan-arab infotainment channel aired a report on or about August 12, 2013 about the opposition's advances in West Ghouta. The report featured video of the rebel leaders discussing what they describe as a successful operation.

    Specifically, the claim made by the individuals in the video is that they (the rebels) were able to capture military depots held by the 137th Batallion of SAA in West Ghouta. They further claim to have secured munitions and Soviet-made anti-tank missiles of the 9K111 "Fagot" denomination (wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9K111_Fagot). The development of the missiles commenced in Soviet Union in 1962 and they were adopted into military use by 1970.

    The link with this information is a Russian-language article, but the video is in Arabic. I did the best I could with the Arabic, and the Russian-language translation is fairly accurate. Google-translate should provide a fairly decent translation of the Russian text, but I have not tested to confirm.

    It is curious that the capture of the military depots in West Ghouta was reported on August 12, 2013. I will let others make conclusions on this issue.

    http://inotv.rt.com/2013-08-12/Al-Aan-Sirijskie-povstanci-zahvatili

    ReplyDelete
  6. What is your point? That these weapons were old but still in use? If so, I find that no surprise. I think the argument that the M14 was obsolete so it would not have been used by the Syrian Armed Forces is almost worthless.

    I saw one or two posters claim the rebels had the M14s as they picked them up out of a junk yard. Given that the Syrian Air Force is dropping ‘barrel bombs’ they appear to be digging pretty deep to find weapons. So if these weapons were in a junk yard it would just be as likely that the Syrian Army retrieved them.
    But I think it more likely that years ago the M14s ended up being designated for use in Syria’s Chemical Weapons program – an undeclared very secret program - and the weapons systems, though still in use, disappeared from the TOE of the regular Syrian Army.

    If true, it is likely these weapon systems would have shown up in the lists that have been given up by Syria on its chemical weapons program.

    That the M14 warhead is missing is no surprise given it would have dispersed it gas package via thermal dissemination.

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    1. I assume you're referring to a different post about Moadamiyah. The M14 being obsolete is just one of many weird things about that story. It's possible they were still in use and assigned to CW. If you have an explanation for all the other weird findings there, i'll be glad to add it to the post.
      What is thermal dissemination?

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, I have no clue what you are responding to. I am done being nice about this debate. It's hard enough convincing myself to be fair to al Assad to also have to deal with this.

      All of your points I have already responded to in my various posts. I am not going to summarize my explanations here. Your arguments are not only contrary to available independent information, but also contrary to French intelligence report, among others.

      Good luck

      Delete
    3. Thermal dissemination is the likely method that M14 dispersed its payload of Saran (assuming it was carrying Saran). While I have no direct experience with the M14 I do know that some US Army weapons systems from the same time period used this method to disperse their payloads. The US Army weapons of this type had a central burstor charge (small explosive) that when detonated shred the warhead and dispersed the payload.

      This type of payload dispersal is common on systems of that era.
      Google “thermal dissemination”. There is plenty of stuff out there including some diagrams of US warheads.

      Because of this I am not surprised that there is no M14 warhead around to be examined.

      Thermal dissemination also is a reason that some of the samples that the UN found might show what they showed. That is, they are the byproduct of a Sarin payload being dispersed by thermal dissemination.

      Delete
    4. Got it. Indeed thermal dissemination was the method used in Zamalka (with UMLACAs), and is the method used in the M14 sarin warhead. However, the claim that the warhead could completely disintegrate while the rocket body looks almost new seems implausible. Don't you think?

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Just wondering if anyone was able to grab that video that purported to show the actual launch of rockets that fateful night? Just never saw any geo-analysis of that video. Was it taken down before anyone could analyze? That would seem to be suspicious if the case. The og. video was here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUGrW-SjjbU&feature=youtu.be.
    Thanks.

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    1. I think it's this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi-Xy__8vjg
      Very hard to analyze. Also no way to tell if it's related to the chemical attack.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, an unverified connection and not much there. Except that the video appears to be shot from a more built up area of town, looking towards the outskirts. Given the total cut-off of lights at a certain point, it appears to be looking towards a mountain range, or an area without power (i.e. a battle zone). However the rocket is not fired from any significant elevation, which would sort of further discount BM/HRW's Republican Guard base theory (if this is actually connected).

      Delete
    3. There are a whole lot of rockets, many of the UMLACA style IRAMs, fired all around Damascus on August 21 and 22. Usually these are fired from contested neighborhoods. The launches are discussed on our wiki at Qaboun rocket lauches.

      The very first YouTube video to make any claim of a chemical attack on Ghouta was the one linked by sasa above. It was first uploaded to YouTube by an Islamist named "amer mosa" at 1:09:55 UTC – that is 4 am in Syria – with the titled "firing chemical rockets on East Gouta..." It is amazing how quickly the Islamist knew exactly what had happened that night, when we are still trying to figure it out a month later!

      It is difficult to geo-locate the amer mosa video, but leftside made a good start above.

      There is another video uploaded by Qaboun Media Office on August 22, that may show the same nighttime rocket launch. It is titled "Rockets fired from special forces [HQ] in Qaboun neighborhood in Damascus toward East Gouta". A third daytime video by Qaboun Media Office shows the launch site to be the Special Forces Headquarters in Qaboun. This led to a long discussion about who controls Qaboun?

      Delete
  9. What is the point of trying to geo-locate and authenticate these videos? So what if they are authentic? What would it prove?

    Answer: That Assad thugs wore Liwa al-Islam uniforms when they massacred 2000 innocent Syrians.

    I was on the floor laughing out loud today when I read this in the Brown Moses blog:
    The implication of the video is Liwa al-Islam accidentally gassed Eastern Ghouta on August 21st when they intended to hit Assad's forces in Quboun and Jobar.

    Brown Moses must be the only one to suggest that rebels / terrorist would use chemical weapons for some military gain. All other agree, that the only reason why the rebel or their foreign supporters would use CW is as a false flag operation to blame Assad.

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    1. i'm not entirely sure. if we believe the regime's claim that Khan Al Assal was a rebel sarin attack, then it was directed at a military target - area is pro-regime and most deaths were Syria soldiers.

      Delete
  10. Video 2 names the target as Qaboun, video 3 as Jobar. In a previous discussion I pointed out that the is in exactly the same position in both videos; the same set of trees is seen at the same place. Sasa said he sees the launch direction tilted anti-clockwise in between the videos. I guess he means that the turntable has been rotated.

    The anti-clockwise rotation between Qaboun and Jobar would indicate that the launch is from the east toward targets in the west. It is easy to imagine that the fire is coming from the direction of the Damascus to Homs M5 motorway that runs between Qaboun and Jobar. Turning to the right would hit Qaboun, to the left would hit Jobar. The ANNA News footage from the morning of August 21 shows that SAA troops were only in control of the very western tips of Jobar and Qaboun, with rebels controlling for example the Teachers' Tower in western Jobar. Drawing a line 2 km long from the known SAA position along the center line of the M3 highway ends up within a few meters of the spot I first pointed out as a possible launch site!

    There are a number of other features the point to the M5 intersection as the launch site. The tree, lamppost, pavement on video 1 are similar to those in this photo. On videos 2 and 3 we see two roads. One road with the launch vehicle and the support truck is most likely straight and wide. The cameraman moves to another road that bends away as in a motorway intersection. This curved road is positioned so, that it bring incoming traffic to merge with the main road. There are very few spots in the intersection with this kind of geometry. One of the three candidates is on the M3 motorway, just east of Qaboun, This spot also hosts the most prominent row of threes in the intersection. The UMLACA videos show something big, like a bridge, on the right side of the screen. This could be the sign across the lanes leaving Damascus.

    The reasons to suspect this intersection is the launch site:
    – Early reports say rockets were fired from an intersection M5 motorway. This is the only intersection within firing range of Zamalka.
    – The scenery matches features on the videos.
    – The site is within 2 km firing range to targets in Jobar and Qaboun, in the right direction based on analysis of trajectory on video.
    – The site is within 2.8 km firing range to targets in Zamalka, in the right direction based on analysis of impact sites.

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    1. Thanks! If this is correct it could be very significant.

      Would appreciate your help in getting more information and sources on:
      - regime locations at the time of the attack.
      - matching screen captures from the video to features in the area side-by-side.
      - reports that rockets were fired from an intersection M5 motorway

      Delete
    2. I have finally found a photo, or in this case a video, that shows the spot I believe to be the most likely UMLACA launch site. The spot is shown between 0:18 and 0:22 on the original version of the ANNA News story from July 14, 2013.

      The spot is on the westward lane on 6th Tishreen leading to the M5 motorway, just east of the "Turkey Iraq Homs" road sign and west of the overpass. The spot is next to the number two lamppost to the east of the road sign. On the video the lamppost is shown behind the signs pointing to the Airport and the Southern Bypass. The spot cannot be lamppost number one, as it is shown shot down on the video.

      This photo on Panoramio also shows the row of trees just south of the suspected launch site. We might try to match them to trees seen on the Liwa al-Islam video.

      A reference to rocket launches from the M5 motorway can be found in the Syrian Support Group report from August 22. The report refers to "Baghdad Bridge", but it could in theory be a mistaken reference to this intersection.

      Delete
  11. "Amer Mosa" missile launch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi-Xy__8vjg has flare times of

    Start 5.538
    Extinguish: 7.907
    Duration: 2.369 seconds.

    Normal HE Volcanos have a burn time around 3 seconds.

    In comparison the Liwa Al-Islam videos have a bright flare time of 1.8 seconds, but some subsequent light diminishing for 12 seconds.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9Ztl0bm7u8

    The Amer Mosa video acceleration appears to be low as it takes some time to come into view. Perhaps a heavier missile type?

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    1. I also did a measurement of the "Amer Mosa" audio. By best estimate given there are echoes the timing is

      Start:13.656
      Finish: 15.953

      Giving a burn time of ~ 2.3 seconds which matches the visual.

      I consider that time to be sufficiently different to the Liwa Al-Islam audio and video burn times of 1.6-1.8 seconds to say they are not recording the same event or missile type.

      Delete
  12. If this is the smoking gun and there is no evidence of UMLACA attacks on Qabun and Jobar, the possible launch site could be every green field in range of Zamalk. The only restriction would be then, that it mus be in the north of Zamalka.

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