Talk:Airstrike on Saeqa military camp near Deir ez-Zor
It's a talk page and I'm yammering anyway, so... I'd like to do this right, clean up the thoughts (I hear it's hard to follow), and get a good analysis on the front page. Any help is appreciated. Searches suggest the front page is already a top-searched resource on this. We should take advantage and launch it higher. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:32, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
- Seems a good work (good that Lifenews' "valve" is sorted, to be a Chinese fuse of an anti-aircraft shell, in particular). Unnoticeable military flights in a place like Syria is unlikely. Flights data in the area is likely known to militaries (e.g. panoramic 91N6E radar range of S-400 is said to be 600 km by wikipedia). Western coalition likely has a coverage, from Iraq, ships, or AVACS. It is likely a mystery only for us and the like, but should not be a real mystery. Yet participating great powers denied being involved, blamed each other, and left it at that. They seem to be mostly pre-occupied with each and other, geopolitics stuff, and general propaganda/PR, so who actually cares much about killing a few hosts. It made the news, and than to be forgotten. Syrians are attempting investigation, maybe they have something useful to say, somewhere, but have not seen anything except that valve...--Resup (talk) 23:18, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
How Far Off Were Admitted US Strikes?
- But the US denied the claim, saying four alliance airstrikes in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour all hit oil wells about 55km (34 miles) south-east of Ayyash.
- “We did not strike any vehicles or personnel targets in this area. We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were even near our strikes,” the coalition statement said, adding that it takes allegations of potential collateral damage seriously and investigates them.
Note: they don't deny it by time, saying there were no strikes in that general area and in that time frame. It's all about area so far, nature of targets in the area and lack of Army people in that area. Implicitly, it's an ISIS-held oil facility or they'd have no reason to hit it. So, a totally different kind of area tens of kilometers from that town, which the stricken base was some distance from... I have a map coming up that's interesting. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:14, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
First off, oops note - my east-west dyslexia ... read SE, mapped SW .... renders all below... okay, pending. Don't run with this yet, or with scissors. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:21, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
So here's the map (info from Wikimapia) and
the coalition's alibi - at the time of the attack, coalition jets were hitting one of these three blue oil fields not quite 55 km out, more like 20-30. I don't see any others further out in the mountains, just these 4. Unless maybe they hit the wrong one, just 10 or so km out, which is right under the stricken base (maybe - not verified yet but seems likely to me, 137 brigade - we'll have a match in time).
Note if ISIS took this, they'd have a base and yet another oild field. Someone gave them an air force that day.
At any rate, the coalition to fight ISIS for real should be able to add to the radar evidence their pilots' visual contact with the Russian goof-ups. They almost could have crashed into each other. Waiting to hear about it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:01, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- Also, can someone tweet this for me? I lost my password, don't want to mess with it. Petri has the most followers. Petri, can you do this soon? CE too! --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:06, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
AFTER the OOPS, the visuals above are of the strike area, and the southwest, for what it's worth. But that's not their alibi, they don't say they were aiming at these oil fields. And maybe it wasn't even this base? Is that one even still in government hands? Is the graphic useless?
Revised, to the southeast of Ayyash are many oil fields, non-stop from just across the river to 120 km SE. Omar North is the best literal fit with 55 km SE. This is still not very far, and the point is probably the same. They missed by a larger margin, less likely to be any honest mistake, if it was their hit. about 50 km off the mark, if it's that orange base. Checking for alternates... --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:33, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- Along that line, another army base just as close to town but across the river, not on but about 10km from another oil field further southeast. Whichever matches the details, that's when I'll make the right graphic. And we have some grasp of bases and oil fields in the area, and some kind of start. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:41, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, The Syria Institute (never heard of) says here in a map that Sa'eqa is in the area I mapped above, not the 137 base but the smaller one just north of it. I didn't see what that was based on, e-mailed a request. Any info I get, will bring here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:56, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Somehow Google translate gave 3 different ways to spell Saeqa in Arabic. The last and longest one ( الصاعقة ) did the trick, sort of ... brings up army bunker base on Wikimapia, but only because someone asked if that's it ( كتيبة الصاعقة؟؟ ) (thunderbolt battalion?). --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:23, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Another point: according to the current Van Linge Syria situation map, should have known already, any government-held base will have to be in this small area to the SW, as everything across the river is in ISIS hands. Even on the west bank, Syrian control extends almost but not quite to al-Shola, may include Thayyem, excludes Kharata. This must be where the strike happened, and it's not even close to 55 KM SE of Ayyash. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:36, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Adding composite graphic to show that - looks like one oil field, the base on it, a base near, and this little island around the edges of Deir Ezzor barely including Ayyash is still all the government can hold. The map isn't gospel at this scale, but clear enough to show this must be where the "Russians" goofed up - and maybe planned to have the base fully lost, putting ISIS that much closer to overrunning Deir Ezzor fully. Wouldn't that be an ironic thing for "Russia" to do? The Syrians are hanging in there, but someone came and stomped on their fingers the other day. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:10, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
Which base: RT report says it was "a field camp on 168th Brigade of 7th Division of the Syrian Army." So probably not the one called 137th brigade. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:45, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
However: To me the site shown on video doesn't seem to appear in the northern base, which people all seem to be pointing to. I don't see any trees there. I didn't look very hard, really, just yet. But could it be this is the other base hit? Or were they both hit? Directions, not sure: I'd guess morning video, so starts out looking south (?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:43, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
- There is a large warehouse or industrial building seen in background in the video: height ~ 15 meters, length ~60 meters. This should be easy to see in satellite images. (I have not looked.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:09, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
- https://twitter.com/sayed_ridha/status/673717518654038016 cites storage base, shows on map, area just north of northern base. Worth checking. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:14, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
The Video is gone: "This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated." Original was on L!FE News, they regularly complain about their videos on YouTube. Where is the original article? HERE! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:50, 15 December 2015 (UTC)
Location Compared to Alibi
So the Saeqa base that was hit is one of the two shown above, most likely the northern one closest to Ayyash. The US was quite sure it wasn't them because they say they didn't hit any vehicles or personnel targets and the place they hit was 55 km southeast of Ayyash.
So it seems the admitted coalition strikes were about 55 km from the base. And the Syrian/Russian side acknowledges this. The problem, they say, is the unacknowledged strikes by the unacknowledged second pair of coalition jets that peeled off to launch this attack.
The witnesses claim the jets came from the south originally after passing over Bukamal, and attacked them from the east (or probably a bit southeast, considering). The coalition hasn't said what direction they came in from or left by, but it's consistent with this path. And if this is their path, the coalition alibi becomes: they were busy hitting targets just before the base, on about the same line of attack. By this, no peeling off is even necessary - all four jets could have flown right over the base. At any rate, all four would have been close enough to have each others' backs, etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:54, 12 December 2015 (UTC)
Flown from Iraq?
This was my first speculation - the US still has airbases there, doesn't it? ANd Russia still doesn't? Maybe someone has an acquired "backfire bomber," maybe a Ukrainian mercenary pilot who even put out Russian language intercepts they'll reveal saying Hi, I'm a Russian goof-up. But anyway, it might have come in from Iraq.
- The consensus among the Syrian Arab Army soldiers is that the warplane was flying west towards the village of ‘Ayyash before 9 missiles struck their positions. According to the Shaytat Tribesmen, the tribes of Abukamaal (eastern Deir Ezzor) reported coalition airstrikes above their city just a few minutes (before?) they struck ‘Ayyash. Following the attack on ‘Ayyash in Deir Ezzor’s northern countryside, the U.S. led Coalition warplane struck the ISIS stronghold of Al-Shadadi in southern Al-Hasakah before completing their mission.
A line west towards Ayyash could well originate in Iraq (border is about 60 km to the east). But the other targets (if indeed this was all by a single group) run north south - Shaddadi is here on Wikimapia just south of Hasakah, site of Al-Shaddadi Petroluem Company Massacre before ISIS ever took the place over. Implied is Bukamal was hit first. That's right on the Iraq border. Did these attackers fly all the way down there from Russia's airbase at the other corner of the country, before swinging back north to goof up and hit that base, with several missiles? They don't seem to know where it went after the third strike. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:53, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- Backfire report on the main page seems dubious, this is a long range bomber, it can be used to launch cruise missiles--no point to be directly overhead--or some 24 tons of bombs, e.g a load of heavier bunker-busters. There are other planes for doing flying overhead, front line bomber types (SU 24, 25). It is said that a known base of Backfore planes is in Osettia, Russia. --Resup (talk) 07:19, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- Maybe Saudis? They're still officially part of the "coalition", aren't they, even if busy bombing Yemen back into the stone age. The closest Saudi military airbase seems to be here. --CE (talk) 08:27, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- A few possibilities, but most likely not out of Latakia, I think we can agree. Although it's not impossible. The thing about Iraq though is it's a genius place to launch false flags from - it's a "who knows?" place - could be Iranians, or even flying Daesh now. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:56, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
However, any false-flag scenario runs up against that the US/coalition seems to be softly acknowledging the attacking jets as their own. See above. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:56, 10 December 2015 (UTC)
- No, they're denying it. It would be false-flag, secret Russians. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
The anonymous officials version given to US News says about a dozen Russian long-range bombers flew all the way from Russia, through Iran and Iraq, and into the corner of Syria, secretly or denied, hitting al-Bukamal and then the Saeqa base - a resumed accident during this secret mission. (eventually, they'll say it was to frame them, mimicking their flight path exactly an hour later, hoping time zones would confuse us, (as they often do to Russians))
So yes, the people laundering the op say it involves Iraq. The map/graphic here shows about that story but in red, described by Syrians, all of them (army, Assad, SOHR, LCC, plus Russians and ISIS), as done by coalition jets. In fact, the last part isn't known, but likely points to a return trip also through Iraq. How long range are these alleged bombers? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
As established, the Saeqa base attack constitutes a stomping on the fingers of a Syrian presence against Daesh that's hanging in by its fingers. And this is a crucial area, Deir Ezzor, the last roadblock on the Euphrates between Raqqah and Mosul, more or less. It's lightly-held, relatively speaking - a delicate situation. Everyone will know this. Yet someone in one of the coalitions claiming to fight Daesh seems to be trying to hand them a victory. Maybe not trying on purpose, but ... Let's consider, and I'll start. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:46, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
As the force claiming to fight Daesh (among others, should be more clear on that, etc.) - and to support the Syrian government's effort to that end - has no overt motive whatsoever to risk handing Daesh such a victory against the government. This is probably one of the worst areas in Syria to attack a Syrian base. So, they must have made a mistake.
Except of course this is Putin Russia, and it doesn't really look like a mistake. Does he secratly support ISIS? OF course, bad guys always do. Putin wants ISIS to take over, so they can have an excuse to invade Crimea, or whatever. This part is easy, probably written up twenty times already, mainly in English. No interest in actually digging for the crap. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:05, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
US Coalition Motives
The most specific claim is the attack was not by US jets, but rather jets from two other unnamed coalition members (or maybe two including US?). This coalition, unlike the Russia-Syria-Iran-etc. coalition, includes nations seeking to overthrow Syria's government or peel away its territory, weaken it, etc. Turkey, the Gulf Arab partners, European colonial powers, mercenary allies from places like Ukraine, Libya... are in this coalition. Islamist radical including Deash move across their borders, etc.
Most important here is a principle of this coalition's thinking that anything the "Assad regime" loses to anyone is something they should lose forever, eventually to moderate whatever yadda yadda, but never back to "Assad." And with this in mind, a "salafist principality" emerged in the Iraq-Syria border area, and took over all kinds of places someone's got to take back and decide what to do with. Here is Deir Ezzor we can see how this phenomena has "isolated the Syrian regime," and threatens to close their last island of sanity in the southeast. There would be massacres, etc.
So, unlike the side with alleged Russian goof-ups, the side with Erdogan et al. has a strong and well-established motive to help ISIS (temporarily) take over areas, like Deir Ezzor. They would find that crisis twice as sweet as Palmyra. Of course, so long as Russian idiot irony could be blamed. If it sticks (doesn't seem likely this time), maybe "Putin" will start goofing up here and a few other places on a more regular basis. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:17, 11 December 2015 (UTC)
It's now been over one week and still nothing. I'm doing news searches twice daily, and following tags on Twitter. No new info from either side. The anonymous officilas have quite a scoop here, as they let us see previews of: Russian jets crossed Iran and Iraq to secretly bomb targets including (accidentally?) the Saeqa base. Sure, coalition/US jets did fly in that same attack path area, but it was on an unclear heading and bombs fell no closer than 55 km to the base, and that happened either an hour earlier or at the same time as the attack (still not clear). But this was Russians, radar proof they flew the same path everyone else says the coalition jets flew, and actually hit the base, plus probably Deir Ezzour city. And it's known the Russians were there, dropping munitions, and they have an exact minute for the base attack (from what?) to line that up with.
Russia, man! They were there. Killed their own allies, almost helped ISIS overrun one of the last bases in that tiny last area in their supposed pro-government ISIS campaign.... wow. Isn't this worth more than that wooden confidence operation job they had all ready nine days ago? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
- Maybe they're waiting for the other side to announce it was munition from a Russian-produced aircraft after all? I call this option. They said Backfire (TU-22 is it?), and they seem to know a lot about the operation. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
- Dec. 2 tweet in "genocide in Syria" meme, from @aboalhodalhamwi #Urgent #Russia warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting the military airbase of #DeirEzzor #Syria Dec 2 --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:35, 14 December 2015 (UTC)
- ISIS was trying to take it, had taken part of it, were bein chased out. Syrian forces were bombing the base, too, its outer edges anyway. About this day, IIRC from Twitter scan, the attack was launched with a suicide bomber at one of the gates. So maybe Russia was just helping with pushing that back. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:37, 16 December 2015 (UTC)