Talk:Aleppo University Attack

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Here's a wrap-up from "Syrian Girl":

Interesting that the "rebels" claim that it was a government plane firing rockets, while the "evidence" video shows no plane - and that the "western" sources so far don't seem to buy it and just add the "explosions, blaming each other" quib. And the Nusra stuff seems to imply bombs. --CE (talk) 10:16, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

A psychic hunch says there might be a jet involved. But if so, there should be videos. Keep an eye casually out. If video proof appears, later than it should, that's interesting. Especially if the gov. still denies it then and people have started to side against the rebels' proof-free story. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:18, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
That vapor trail should be looked at closer. It is squiggly. Is pointing to the school? Could be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
See below. Also, I just now realized this video is the content of Infowars' widely-read piece. Almost nothing else but an intro, credited to Syrian Girl. Kudos. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:20, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Students (and refugees) Speak (in Arabic), SANA
Nice view of the plastic sheet camp at 2:50 - a food booth? Injured speaking from 3:20-3:50. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:48, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Contrail Video

From that video, the contrail. Not likely original but early posting, Souria 2011 archives: "Syria #2 Assad Air Strike on Aleppo University - Jet Fighter Contrails in Sky 1-15-13"

Aleppo Univ contrail area.png

Inset below is the contrail. Zooming in helps little now. It would have then. This is the best view, and there's not much there. For reference, the top of the smoke plume, still rising with energy, suggesting just moments after the blast. And the general area (left). The best direction reading will have an exact vantage decided. I know we can do this, and should soon. But I can't do it at the moment. Any readers, feel free. Here's the basic area on GM. It'll be not too far South-southeast of the northernmost dorm building at the intersection (upper left). Time, as established, is around 1:50 PM +/- 10 min, and view is north and a bit west.

Location upadte: I just couldn't match the buildings seen to any in the dorms area (as marked on Wikimapia). They'rejust too short and not the right shape for either of the two main building styles. Nor did anywhere on campus SSE of them yield a match. So I zoom back off campus. Between AU and the nearby Aleppo American College is the fit, I think. a citypark: حديقة أهل بدر الكرام (حلب (gtrans: Dear people of Badr Park (Aleppo)). The buildings just north seem to be fits for the ones we see here. Google Earth images from July 4, 2010 give rare details of the south faces that match, aside from number of floors. The foreground is a nice fit too, better than anything in the relevant part of campus: manicured grounds, benches, and walkways and large green space, then more trees to the northwest. The distance from park south-center to the plume's base is about 1.1 km, heading 346 degrees. The implications for the contrail is an issue I'll come back to. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:04, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
Aleppo Univ contrail.png

It will also require a reading where that condensation is and what direction it traces in 3-D space. It seems to me to be on a heading kind of like the opposition's missile from southeast. Unless that's a mile up and to the north/nw. Or arcing down more than laterally? It might be too high and too old to be directly related to this at all. It could almost be a strange contrail-shaped wisp of the smoke cloud itself, not far above it, pulled off on its own by some rising heat bubble and just now dissipating (??). Note the faint speck of smoke near the trail. What's that? And it could be inserted pixels, at least hypothetically. He might pan up to the 'insert contrail here' space. It looks totally natural to me, however. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:50, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

On the other hand, it is rather wiggly, as Syrian Girl notes. And it's to the north that he's looking and sees it. He'd have to pan up further to see a trail over his head. This suggests there was no jet or rocket trail visible from the lauded southeast, actually. It could well be a segment of spiraling exhaust trail from the self-propelled rocket/missile rebels fired - but from Al-Lairamon to the northwest? I think I can see north, and slightly northeast. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:50, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

James Miller's project has an interesting take on this, and a much better still, from better quality video I guess. In fact, it's almost the only thing he's done yet, trying to get a fit with a certain type of air-to-ground missile that might be responsible. See the page here. The graphic about halfway down goes into suggested rotation rates of this wiggling wisp. That's beyond anything I've considered trying, and for good reason. ("the frequency would have to be determined from Youtube footage", etc.) Anyway, he says:

Originally, the theory was that this could have been the vapor trail of the jet fighter. However, it is worth considering whether this is actually the curling smoke trail of an air-to-ground missile.

And do note, it's just a segment of it, I still know not why, an seen at a distance to the north. And there is no jet contrail. So if it's air-to-ground, what in the air fired it? Something too far off to the north to see? Maybe. But then, what about the pixels to the southeast? All in all, it is worth considering whether this is actually the curling smoke trail of an ground-to-ground missile from the north, just like the government always said. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:58, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Re-visiting this later, I have an interesting thought. Here's the contrail enhanced and blown-up - not much there to begin with. I understand its altitude and temperature differences that cause condensation trails to appear in some case or stretches and not others. So maybe this is is the high point in a steeply-arcing flight path? The little nub to the right, about halfway along the squiggle here, might be part of the far side of this, as it was arcing up, and the rest is the closer part, where it was starting to fall. If so ... the way both halves line up means we're looking roughly right down the flight path - line of sight (I don't think that was ever established) will point almost to the firing position, an unknown distance back. The little nub to the right suggests it came from a bit right or of the line of sight. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:04, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Blast video

Guardian version

Smoke trail of missile in the sky? No, it is just the cameraman holding up a plexiglass ruler. (school of architectural engineering was hit)
First frame of video showing the blast. The cameraman seems to be turning the camera toward blast site already earlier.
No missile or trail seen in previous frame.

Syrian Girl: "New footage has just emerged of the Missile that struck Aleppo univeristy. Now we know for sure it was not an IED"

Amateur footage, which cannot be independently verified, purports to show the bombing of Aleppo university in Syria. Residents are seen running down an Aleppo street with smoke rising behind them. Another blast follows and people hurry to find shelter. The bombing on 15 January resulted in the deaths of at least 82 people with at least 162 people injured

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:23, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Petri. Here's the (a) Youtube link, uploaded 23 hours ago: No Jet sound anywhere in there, is there? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:36, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Enduring America ""Proving the Assad Jet Fighter's Attack on Aleppo University" is based on this video. Still no jet sound, but better missile sound. Silent stealth fighter? As if not proven, EA also wonders "is it possible that the insurgents launched a surface-to-surface rocket or a surface-to-air missile, trying to hit a regime warplane, which went astray and struck the University?" Yep. They tried to hit the invisible jet, I suspect, but missed, and that's why the invisible jet was able to drop its deadly payload on the "university of the revolution." Anyway, four frames shared there show what must be the missile, big and white, from the right. I guess others have the scene mapped out. I'd like to soon, to see where this invisible jet was vis-a-vis rebel-held areas. And also get a catalog of all missiles seized by rebels in the Aleppo are prior to this incident. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:22, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
What time did this happen? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:32, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I finally checked. Fence post shadows on the left traced roughly give an azimuth of about 200 degrees, +/- 4. So 1:40-2:10 PM, maybe a bit early of center (1:50-ish). --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:40, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
And for fun, we can triangulate with campus time. He's going towards the smoke now, but was set, clearly, for a 2 PM exam involving a flexi ruler. So presumably it's before 2:00 still, but I would guess not by not much. 1:53 as the rebel rocket hits is my best guess. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:45, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Wow, that's indeed quite a blast. SANA said the stuff was fired from "al-Lairamoun" district which seems to be partly rural, here, 3-5 km north of the University. Do we have the buildings located? Faculty of Architecture is here, are the hit buildings those on the east side of that street? --CE (talk) 15:38, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Yep, a good fit. I looked around elsewhere and can say there are few good fits.Walking towards the highlighted buildings for finals. Studied hard, friends killed. A roundabout is nearby. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:20, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
So this looks like early PM. If the video isn't faked, the missile seems to have come from the south-SW. I don't know my rebel districts, or where they might be able to drive a missile launcher, but Hamadaniyah area looks right for direction. Or the artillery base just south of that, better yet. If taken, we'd likely hear, so ... just thinking. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:37, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Ah, should have clicked on that "Enduring America" link first - seems I got the hit buildings right. But why do they claim the government blamed it on car bombs? SANA clearly said missiles from the beginning. EA says they think whatever it was came from the south, which would not fit with the named district to the north(-west). --CE (talk) 15:52, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Wrote that in a comment before seeing that i'm not the first who noticed it - the SANA articles were pointed out to him yesterday already. Combined with that he now claims to have solved the issue in a new article - asking us to believe anonymous "western" government officials(!) - I'd say this guy is demolishing his credibility. --CE (talk) 16:12, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
My (anonymous) comment wasn't approved yet. Here he gives his take on "motives", repeating the fairy tale that Aleppo University is kind of "The University of the Revolution", blaming the pre-announced FSA assault on Aleppo last summer on some crack-down against protests there. Complete hogwash. Smells of operative. --CE (talk) 18:41, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
I still think this was a IED, i.e. large amount of explosive placed next to the building. Here is my reasoning.
For an explosion outside to kill 100 people inside the building the blast must have been huge. If it was a missile it must have been the size of a Scud. Anders Breivik killed 8 with his blast. Timothy McVeigh killed 168. The Markale marketplace massacres in Sarajevo killed 68 + 43 people in open air. I know of no missile in history, that would have killed over a hundred people inside a building. American smart bombs killed more people in Iraq, but they were directed right into the heart of the building through an air went or something. The university building is made of poured concrete and did not even collapse from the blast. If the people died inside the building, it must have been from the enormous force of the blast. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:25, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Fakery of a missile with no fighter jet sound even mixed in? I'm no missile expert, but it does seem high. But remember the first blast that killed some part of those 87-100 or so people. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:20, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Against 100 killed inside: "Simon" (maybe trustworthy in areas) says the first blast killed the most people, in traffic, and the second mostly caused damage. Dorm rooms are not usually heavily occupied afternoon of the first day of finals. Maybe the second one was supposed to hit traffic too bust missed. I don't knowat all how to assess blast size or rule anything in or out. More details needed. Officials there with the evidence could help. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:45, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
That's very plausible. The initial PressTV report I posted over there shows some glimpses of the devastated roundabout. --CE (talk) 13:01, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
In the beginning of this video - also contains "regime tv" witness testimony, mostly students, with english subtitles - it is claimed that two Scud launchers in "rebel" hands are shown. This also shows some launchers in Aleppo countryside (don't ask me about that stuff). Found on Urs' blog. --CE (talk) 19:41, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Rebels with missiles. Need more info. I don't know either. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:20, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
The sound in the Guardian video may fake. There is no clear sound for the blast. The sound of an incoming jet or something is almost as loud as the rumble of the explosion. If the missile was subsonic it should be seen in the previous frame. A Scud – or even artillery – would be supersonic. You would hear nothing before the blast. The only subsonic projectiles are mortars, Grad rockets, cruise missiles and bombs dropped from airplanes. I think the explosion (cloud and damage) is too large for a mortar. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:12, 24 January 2013 (UTC)
Here is something that could explain the sound. This seems to be an incoming Grad rocket. Syria - Violent shelling of Darayya. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:25, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Here is another video from the same spot. Incoming artillery or Grads. Draaa: the bombing of the nests of mercenaries -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:30, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Another video from Aleppo: Footage appears to show Aleppo university bombing -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:37, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

KurdishCouncil version

Four frames from the video showing projectile – via EA

The New York Times has a link to the original video:

The video shows the incoming projectile. Looks more like a bomb than a Grad rocket. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:06, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

I had a thought on the video. The gov. says the missiles came from the north, perhaps from radar data or something solid. The video shows it coming from the south. However, as noted, the cameraman pans north, towards the building before the blast. Why? Most likely thing to trigger that is sound. And if the sound is north, isn't it most likely the missile is? This would mean the one we see is fake, inserted. Back-up rebel argument: okay, it wasn't a jet like we emphatically said, but not a car bomb like the "regime" said either, and the missile came from the opposite direction than they said, maybe from the artillery base south of campus. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:42, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Sound argument aside, I don't see it coming from the south. The south is behind the camera. I don't see it coming from over his head from the south-west, and it can't come from the south-east because then it wouldn't hit the facade. What I seem to see (if anything) is it coming over the smoke from the first blast. And that would be from N-NW. We have a whole bunch (edit: ok, four) of those high, long buildings in a line from north to south there (wikimapia says they're dorms), maybe the sound can be explained by some breaking at that line? --CE (talk) 10:05, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
As he's facing (or captures) the missile/pixels, south is to his right, slightly behind. Only a bit is seen, coming from the right. I added the west direction since it hits the west face. Rebels are now using the video to make just this argument: "The direction of the missile was opposite from Al-Leramon." They have it from the southeast, however. Maybe it hit the top more? I'm not totally clear there. Countering my point about the camera's pan, they seem to find two people looking kind of south-ish. Don't know how significant that might be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:14, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh - watched it now, thought it only was the original source of the Guardian video. But it has a slightly wider camera view. You actually can't see in the Guardian video what I just saw and missed in my comment, it's out of frame. Apparently they cut the beef out? Strange. Yeah, that's definitely not from N-NW. --CE (talk) 11:32, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Interesting Reports/Opinions

Angry Arab News Service's Turkey correspondent Ali submitted a nice critique on January 20. Some bits below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

If army had decided to give the "dissedent students" a lesson, it would not have used the aircrafts for a campus that is already in their control. Such a choice ultimately would push the neutral or pro-regime students tho the ranks of opposition. And we know that there were refugees in the dormitories of the university. So why did Assad decide to punish the people who refuged to his authority rather than to flee Turkey?
Similar to the widely wondered question of why they would bomb a university in government-held territory, but more elaborated. I think the point gets better when you elaborate it. Even if "the regime" hated these displaced people, why would the the government concentrate them at the University, instead of some remote shed, before bombing then all together? Etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2013 (UTC)
Syrian opposition claimed that rebels had no missiles to create such a devastation but a photo of AFP showing them to fire a missile in Aleppo: Two retired Turkish officers that I asked their opinions confirmed missiles like this one are capable of such devastation.
Note: the photo in question is apparently #15 in that sequence, not #5 as linked. And it shows nothing but smoke from a described rocket launch, no rockets to identify. It's dated, I think, Jan. 18, so it'd be nice to see what kind they were firing, to see if those Turks are right. Unless I missed the right photo? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

University Press Office Blames Regime Jet?

Until now anyway, the Wikipedia page on this subject has been made to say "the University press office claimed that Syrian air force MiG fighter planes deliberately targeted the University and denounced the attack as a "criminal attack"." The source is the New York Times, and the cited Jan. 16 report manages to almost make it sound this way. But even with all their known anti-government bias, they could only say:

The university’s press office appeared to have issued a statement accusing Syrian air force MiG fighter planes of targeting the campus ... (and) denounced the attacks as a ‘‘criminal act.’’
But it was unclear if the statement, which was posted on an opposition Facebook page, reflected the view of the leadership of the government-run university.
U of Rev Statement.jpg

Helpfully, they linked to the page, University of Revolution. And with some digging I found the post in question and the statement on fancy letterhead with rebel (French mandate) colored watermark, and talk of living "free" and "proud" vis-à-vis the "Assad regime." The site is Aleppo U opposition, not a university-affiliated page. The statement published there is pretty clearly signed by these same people, just described a bit differently: "The Media Office of the University of Aleppo.. University of revolution" - just clarifying which university they're describing that way. Does that really "appear" much like the university press office? No. They give the order of attack wrong (dorm building 9 hit first, then the roundabout), seems to mention Shadi Helweh lying about something, declares that all perpetrators and especially him should pay, and the "international community has a (??) responsibility about the crimes of the Assad regime." --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:54, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia page fixed just now, on this and car bombs front, explained on talk page. Other fixes involve more subjectivity and my/our own analysis, so may just not appear. Not sure. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Battle of the Experts

This was the section for Miller's experts vs. Mackey's (see bottom of section ow). But our own "expertise" became mixed into the battle, and that is what's new here, so these first. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)


A Closer Look on Syria contacted N.R. Jenzen-Jones, an Australian military arms and munitions specialist for another opinion. In a February 24 e-mail he told us, based on cursory examination:

"My money is on a ground-launched ballistic missile or unguided rocket (several in the Syrian arsenal), however I could not categorically rule out the possibility this was a result of a powerful air to ground missile." --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:45, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Time of Attack

Aleppo Univ attack time.png

I earlier estimated the time at 1:40-2:10 PM, guessing 1:53, from measuring an azimuth about 200º. I re-did the analysis more carefully and got the same basic thing. The shadow of a fence post runs just over 1/3 of the way across the sidewalk, in just under the span between posts. Putting this on satellite imagery of the sidewalk gives an azimuth (compass direction to the sun) of 199º. This is +/- one degree now, IMO. NOAA's solar calculator has that reached about exactly at 1:51. The range 198-200 correlates to 1:47-1:55 PM local time (if it's GMT +3 as I usually use and get matches). --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Note: I got matches mostly for the Houla massacre, May 25. Syria does observe DST, and that's it. Now they're on standard time, 'til March 28. Fall behind an hour, blast was at 12:51PM, +/- 4 min. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:17, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

And in support of that general time ... I thought the Guardian's early reports did, coming in at 2:09 PM, but that's GMT. It happened hours earlier. By this time, the Guardian reported the Syrian official first story - rockets. I did find a contradiction. Maybe it's GMT +2 this time of year? I say it was roughly 9 minutes before whichever hour. confirmation: LA Times report, Jan. 16:

It was about 1 p.m. on Jan. 15 when the first of the explosions rocked the university's sprawling, tree-lined campus. The blast appears to have occurred outside the architecture building, where Laila and other students were gathering inside for midyear exams.--Caustic Logic (talk) 11:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC) and --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:17, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Someone said the blasts happened only about three minutes apart. The first would then be app. 12:48 PM, +/- how good that assessment is, if Syria is on GMT +2. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:13, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Building Damage

Main article: Aleppo University Attack: Physical Evidence

(the following will be moved/covered better at the above link) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:13, 26 February 2013 (UTC)

Aleppo university damage.jpg

One thing about the damage that's noteworthy is how hard it is to determine just where the missile hit before it detonated. Everything looks more like the damage of blast shock wave. This seems to effect mostly the central stairwell and the facade just south of it. The inset shows damage to the railing on three floors, and outer-wall removal effecting at least five floors, widening at the bottom. Also, the facade seems pock-marked for a bit south of this zone. Belongings are blown out with some pressure wave, but not terribly burned, by and large. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Aleppo Univ damage 4.png

The inset image from SANA is potentially quite useful, looking to the north/northwest. Note intact walls here, but marked. Three holes and a chip in almost a line above ground floor windows. 2nd floor, third window, chipped facade. The junk -what is this, wrecked awning and stuff? A bicycle wheel is in there. Note also at far left, what looks like a communications tower, but too short to bother building that way. Was it impacted by the missile? Did that cause it to detonate early? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Another photo of cars just south of the roundabout shows the base of this tower. Between the two and reconciling surrounding, it seems to be just inside the fence where it curves at the northwest corner of the block. If we take the rocket as hitting this and the middle of the dorm's west face, its trajectory points back about 351º, or fairly close to due north, so from the sparse eastern portion of the Al-Laraimon area. However, its height in 2010 should be double-checked against the buildings. Was it always this stubby for some reason? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:24, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I checked Google Earth, two dates: May 11 and Aug. 1, 2011. The former (my reading, imprecise) suggests the tower was 72% the height of the dorms. The latter suggested 80%. The buildings are 6 floors high. All roughly and reverting to feet, lets say 70 feet, so the tower about 50-55 feet originally - and presumably with something on top. Now it's got nothing capping it, and seems to be just about 25 feet tall. I suspect the revision was on Jan. 15. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:58, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Then, I saw this photo, with a very similar tower just south of there, clearly not hit by anything, ending short, halfway into a red stretch, just like the one. The one I now notice has some kind of transmitter attached to the side, so it wasn't right to say "nothing on top." That's apparently the top, this was a dead-end, and never mind. Also, "the junk" seems to be the remians of an internally displaced persons camp in front of the dorms (see below). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:10, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

This reminds me of studying the 9/11 Pentagon attack. The plane there impacted several things before the building, and was already exploding before it hit. I imagine that's a frequent problem with low-flying projectiles, and might play in here. Damage is low-centered, worst on the first two floors. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

*bitestongue* ;o) You might wanna check out Urs' video collection, IIRC there are some from inside the building filming the damage outside n stuff. --CE (talk) 10:54, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I bites tongue too, otherwise. ;o) Those have some helpful bits, not that I saw them all yet. No sign of fiery explosions inside, wherever that is. SOme other interesting stuff there as well. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:03, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
One big difference here is how few others are bothering to look at these things. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:24, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Aleppo Univ damage 9.png

Another interesting image run with a Press TV report. Looking kind of along the lossible trajectory, there are little holes on the interior walls along this line. Likely most-damaged impact or partial impact location: left of picture center, heavy gouges in the vertical members, upper ground floor, a bit on the second floor. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Damage Repaired

This was quick! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:33, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Cool! As we're seeing, the damage wasn't that massive,but still - quicker than our investigation here. One month and good as new. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:04, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Direction of Projectile

Aleppo university0516.jpg

Okay, this is important. The government said the "rocket"was firedfrom Al-Laraimon area. That's in the far northwest of Aleppo (slightly different name) on this map. As a rebel Youtube video points out, "The direction of the missile" or of the pixels said to be the missile "was opposite from Al-Leramon," from the south. That's correct. The video has it from the southeast, set to to hit the building on its top, south, or east side. The blast is clearly against the west face (see Aleppo university0516.jpg), so it can't be anything east. The video - to me, it suggests little if any westward trend. Seems to be a side-view, at some distance to the southeast. But this is a complex 3-D question, so I'll let that sit for now. Also in that initial blast is a "leg" of brightness to the left - pointing west or northwest. Is this something deflecting, or perhaps the vapor trail of exhaust being re-ignited? Plus, the turn to the north as the sound approaches also suggests the sound was coming from the north, not the south. (graphic coming) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:13, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Is it at all possible the projectile is nearer to the camera than the light pole it's seen about lined up with? If so, it's a small and blurry rocket. Otherwise, it's larger, a bit east, in the distance, "behind" the pole, correct? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:29, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Also, what do you guys think of where that pole is? Middle of the street, right? I can make them out and get the right spacing, but whichever set, it's tricky getting it all lined up. He's further south and looking more north than I thought, meaning south is behind, as CE said, to a higher degree than I thought. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:24, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Well, the road and therefore him runs almost perfectly from S to N. I don't think it's possible that the object comes over the lightpole/his head, this would look very different. If the video including the object is authentic, I'd say it drops in from very high, a bit to the SE so that it almost hits the top of the building and then "falls" shortly in front of it without directly hitting the facade. I don't know if this is even possible if Petri's speed calcs are correct. And I don't think what we see happening at the building really matches that (that's why I was quite sure whatever it was came from NNW before I spotted the object in the second appearence of the video). I don't consider this to be solved with the video in any way. --CE (talk) 19:28, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Agreed it's not over him, but distant. Cannot fully rule-out a top-hit and tumbling, but it doesn't like like it to me. Will cover that soon. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:46, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
The cameraman is standing next to the tree that is right in front of the new faculty building on the western side of the street. The distance from here to the blast site is about 100 meters. The lamp post is in the middle of the street. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:37, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Aleppo Univ Lines of Sight.png

::Thanks. I think this might be it, in the graphic at right. The pole placement is by precedent -it's not visible. FIne-tuning suggestions? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:46, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

You have placed the cameraman 20 meters further south than I originally did. Please look at the Google Earth image from June 26, 2011. (Nice colors, camera near the zenith.) There is a red bus near where the cameraman is standing. En the left (west) there is a tree and car parked just north of the tree. On the video we see a car parked in the same spot. The cameraman is right next to the rear bumper of the car, placing him some 5 meters north of the tree. I chose this tree because of the view of the building on the eastern side of the street. The cameraman seems to be just south of the center-line of the building. You have aligned him with the south facing wall. We need to check the video. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:21, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. I was confused first by the trees vs. their shadows. I have him about on the shadow. If that doesn't change it for you, I could re-do, or just note its about 20 meters off to the south. 20 meters? That's significant. Not sure the light pole would line up with the middle of the dorm's narrow end then. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:27, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Just going by trees, it seems you might be right. And I'm not certain about my light pole grid, but it seems to fit all visible poles, and that crucial to the line-up, so... It's not the main point. Basic FoV and implied direction are about the same. I might not bother sorting that out. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:48, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
When I lined him up with the south dorm, it was further north. I think he was. Different pole. That plus the wrong impact area require a new graphic soon. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:08, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for ignoring you guys. I have been trying to figure out the trajectory of this thing. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:55, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
No worries, of course. That is a fascinating story, not that I'm actually fascinated by it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:30, 18 February 2013 (UTC)
Aleppo Univ Lines of Sight 2.png

Here's the revised graphic: attempted lines of sight analysis. Better south dorm line-up, nearest pole as the fulcrum, a little wiggle room from nothing being exact, and he's about 20 meters north of before, with two close trees ahead. As before, the dorm roofs arecut out and slid onto the actual building footprints, to correct satellite skew. The impact point is better set based on actual damage, but I'm not sure that's what he's seeing. The fireball might have looked further north for a reason. Lines of sight: green is the pole to the middle of the south end of the dorm. Line 1 corresponds to the line on which the projectile is first seen. The next positions are somewhere along lines 2 and 3, and the blast in the mid-west face is its final impact point. The lines are all approximate, and it can't be certain how far out (east) on each line it would be at each point, nor how high. Apparently, though, it started out high and distant, getting closer, lower, smaller, and blurrier each step of the way, before finally making no sense at all in frame 4. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:30, 18 February 2013 (UTC)

Two more images: first, overall directions (how I set the "tan" lines from Al-Laraimon), along with the AlepNews video analysis showing the SE approach, plus the final maneuver needed to hit the west face as seen. Then, a filtered still of the initial blast, showing bright spots. Note these are all low-centered along the wall, with much north-south movement. The bright parts are the center of detonation, and they aren't along the roof line. The fireball seems to expand along the west face, and then roll over the roof. If it his the roof, it's de somewhat the opposite, I think (and again, I'm no expert) Note also the "leg" of the blast extending to the left/west/SW/NW. Its tipis on of the brightest spots of all. I wonder why? I suspect it's a clue. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:11, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Aleppo Univ Directions.png
Aleppo Univ bright Spots.png

Internal detonation?

Branching off of the above direction issues, I suppose there is one way the southeast hit could make sense with what we see here; the missile punctured the roof and detonated inside. I'll have look at the damage photos, but in "Aleppo university damage.jpg" it seems the inside isn't damaged enough for that. Interior walls are removed, letting us see the sky through the rooms across the hall. But none the perpendicular walls between rooms are pretty much all intact, and none of it looks terribly burnt, as if the detonation was on the other side of a wall form all of it. Obviously, that's not the main area to check, but the south edge of the damage zone. But this is closer to the center of any internal detonation of a missile from the south, blasting out just north of here. Right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:35, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

My damage assessment so far is way off. Putting that image alongside this one and this one, for starters, It looks like the damage center in mid-building, on the stairwell (rail/ledge damaged on two floors, upper one near circular-main hit?) There's lesser damage to the south, those walls knocked off, and all walls to the north are intact. To me, this itself suggests a trajectory from the north. A lot is blown out of windows, but the detonation pressure would do that either way. That the cars are knocked over outside the mostly intact wall proves it wasn't internal as well, and certainly no north-trending internal blast. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:50, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

Speed of projectile

I am trying to calculate the speed of the projectile based on 3 frames in the KurdishCouncil video.

  • Assuming the horizontal field of view of the camera phone corresponds to that of a normal lens (53 degrees), then the projectile covers 20,68 degrees in two frames.
  • This source says the cameraman was 120m (400 feet) away from the blast. I checked on Google Earth and get a value of just over 100 meters.
  • Assuming the bomb is flying perpendicular to the line of sight, it would cover 45,3 meters in the first two frames. With a frame rate of 29.97 frames per second we get 566 meters per second.
  • With the speed of sound at 340.3 m/s (Mach 1) the projectile would be traveling at Mach 1,66 – almost twice the speed of sound.

Measuring from all four frames I get 32,9 degrees from the top corner to the blast point in three frames. For the lowest possible speed we can assume the shell flies right past the cameraman, and he captures it in the first frame at a 90 degree angle, then it would travel 54,3 meters. At 30fps this would make 543 m/s. If the projectile was traveling at an angle, meaning towards or away from the cameraman, the speed would be even greater. (Now, this calls for a pause to think!) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:40, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Correction: There is one frame missing from the EA montage. However I did not count in any time for the blast and the fireball to form. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:17, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Sorry I'm not following along on this aspect, Petri. It could be quite usueful, but my eyes were glazing over at number last night, and today not much different, so I'll continue doing other things instead. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:00, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
And I still didn't look at this. Now I'm pursuing an argument the pixels are added, and do not show a missile. First digital video fakery allegation I've yet made, in Syria or Libya, that I recall. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:51, 13 February 2013 (UTC)


I am now starting to think the warhead may have been thermobaric. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:20, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

The blast is in fact smaller than these missile strikes in Gaza:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:30, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Air-to-surface missile?

SyrPer say ...MiG-23s carrying improved air-to-ground missiles. I looked for air-to-surface missiles that Syria has or might have. Found some:

  • Kh-29 – 320kg warhead
  • Kh-25 – 89.6-140kg warhead
  • Kh-23 – 111kg warhead

Looks like expansive hardware to throw at militants, but the key here is guidance. Most are laser guided. I just wonder how the pilot can guide the missile from 20km away? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:00, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Miller's Experts vs. Mackey's Experts

(moved to front page) James Miller vs. Robert Mackey. Interesting! James Miller, Enduring America: "proving" jet attack "definitive Evidence" of jet attack The second link is more relevant - the "definitive evidence" is an unspecified number of unnamed experts he spoke too, every one of which, with reasons specifically held-back, believes this was a fighter jet attack. He took that in a comment to the second source, as a counter-point. Robert Mackey, NYT blog (check my comment)

According to Joseph Holliday, a former Army intelligence officer and a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War who studied the clip for The Lede, the video strongly suggests that a missile struck the university. “There’s no jet noise before or after the strike and only missiles would be supersonic – the ripping noise at the end is just the missile ripping through the air,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Add to all that the size of the blast definitely seems more like a ballistic missile than a bomb.”

He suggests it was fired by the government ("the regime didn’t mean to target the university, but their Scuds just aren’t accurate enough and they screwed up – big time"), like the ones Mackey thinks landed near Turkey a while back.

Mr. Holliday showed the video to another analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, Christopher Harmer, a former naval officer, who observed: “I am 90 percent confident that is either a Scud or a large surface-to-surface rocket – that is much bigger than a Qassam or Katyusha. Might be a Fajr-5 rocket.” He arrived at that conclusion, he wrote, by the following process of elimination:
R.P.G.? No — explosion is too big. Mortar? No — explosion is too big for the size of mortars in theater. Artillery? No — explosion is too big for any of the artillery pieces in theater. Also, if it were fired by artillery, they would have heard firing. Airdropped bomb? Possible, but unlikely. No visual indication of jets in the area.

But... but... the students saw the jet, circling around all over and attacking twice. The State Dept's condemnation was based on that. Not on 'deploring the regime attack by jet bomb or scud missiles or whatever.' --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Mackey: "While an image of a jet has yet to appear, some opposition activists insisted that they did see a plane before the explosions." Miller: "Many witnesses saw an aircraft. ... However, no videos appeared to show an airplane. " Etc. Winner, Mackey, hands-down. Aside from quoting Mr.Dark in lieu of the government, and some other things, really a pretty good piece. The rebels lied again. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

The version that this was a regime-fired Scud by far missing its target doesn't make sense as it doesn't explain the first hit at the roundabout. --CE (talk) 12:06, 25 January 2013 (UTC)
They screwed up bad twice in a row? No, this is a silly version too, everyone scrambling to fulfill their duty to blame "the regime" somehow or other. My comments there appear and then disappear. Tried twice, yoinked twice. I'm not to speak there. But still, it helps greatly to demonstrate that the rebels lied to us. Just don't point it out right there I guess. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:50, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

To note: Miller wins the contest on openness to comments. He allows my comments (so far, and I shan't push it too much - I gather he didn't allow CE's and I'm reluctant to even push it by submitting them mtself) Mackey deleted two in a row. Actually, he did that before, but somehow I kept wondering why, trying fiveformulas, and finally maybe in pity he allowed a comment. If it was getting traffic/attention that I was after (partly), no need - this page is already #5 is a Google search for "Aleppo University attack." Serious. #8 if you use "bombing." (at least on my end) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:58, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

My first comment re-appears with a response. In part: The statement that officials first suggested this was a car bombing is not based on retroactive reading of the current versions of reports posted on government Web site, but on information gathered immediately after the event by reporters who have been working inside Syria, like my colleague C.J. Chivers, and Syrian bloggers who have provided reliable information on events there for more than a year, like the Aleppo resident who writes as Edward Dark. Still no direct quote anywhere I've seen. But someone heard it muttered somewhere, something to that effect, and it proves a big lie, I guess. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:05, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
I see. "We have our truthful contacts and what we say they said the regime said is true and the fact that nobody can point to them saying it is evidence that they tampered with their articles later on so we can't expose their lies, they're evil after all". Sigh. The link to the collection of SANA articles i've put on the front page is a mirror on syria360 blog, not directly SANA, btw. Not that that would help, because they're of course dictatorhuggers and would change their little blog page when the ministry of truth calls. Here's a reference to webcitation, as notice to ourselves. --CE (talk) 12:20, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
For the lulz I tried to archive Mackey's blog article in case he pulls your comment again... ;o) This is the reply I got per eMail:
Your recent WebCite request has completed. Following are the results from this request:

The caching attempt failed for the following reason: No files could be downloaded for the given URL. This is likely because
a) The URL is incorrect,
b) The site in question refuses connections by crawling robots, or
c) The site in question is inaccessible from the WebCite network

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the WebCite team at


The WebCite Team
And the URL the webcitation website said the archived page would be found under when I submitted the formular is here and says: "When WebCite tried to archive the page, it received a Page Not Found error from the website concerned."
As you can see, the URL is correct. This can only mean that the NYT webserver (or at least the one hosting the blog) actively delivers misinformation to (presumably to avoid being caught tampering with their articles). Pathetic, but I can't say i'm surprised. --CE (talk) 12:45, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

There is a very simple explanation to the second explosion: it is a 250kg bomb dropped from an airplane, that missed its intended target by some 2 miles. Bombs are dropped in and around Aleppo all the time. Nothing surprising here. Holding exams next to the front line may not be the wisest idea, but Aleppo does not have much of a choice. Shit happens in war.

EA claims this this was a air-to-surface missile, not an aerial bomb based on what? Sound? – The sound analysis does not add mush to this. The "experts" cannot even agree if this was subsonic or supersonic. Besides, I know of no air-to-surface missile or rocket that would carry this much punch, yet one in the Syrian arsenal. EA cannot name one either.

Some of the analysis is totally delusional:

  • Assad fired Scuds from his Reichstag bunker in Damascus! The only military use of Scuds in this conflict is firing at targets deep inside Turkey. Totally unsuited for hitting something on a side street in Aleppo, when the Syrian Army could hit it with a hand grenade.
  • Assad deliberately killed his own people. ...or he killed his own people to frame the FSA / Al Nusra Front. If that was the aim, they could just have planted a car bomb. Dropping bombs from a jet in broad daylight is not the way to run a false-flag operation.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:31, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Miller's Aleppo University Project

James Miller sticks to the topic and has started an "Aleppo University Project" to further research. It's a different place, apparently slightly more interactive format (but no wiki ;o)), did only skim the introduction so far:

--CE (talk) 17:34, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Dissectednews is his own website where he "covered the uprisings in Iran before joining EA Worldview". There's nothing interactive about it - static articles with comment function. He intends to integrate and then delete comments, and to maintain a change log. Good luck with that. I'd suggest he pops over here and profits from the beauty of wiki software (including starting as many articles as he sees fit, of course). :o) Content: Early stage. Claim of Assad claim of bombs very prominent (and unsourced), not even a mention of "changed" stance. Hypothesis: gubmint did it. --CE (talk) 18:06, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Kept-back comment:
"If this were a video of a crime happening inside any other country, the videos would be analyzed, the witnesses questioned, and the evidence presented at a trial for the suspects." Most countries have not been tagged for regime change, which requires constant blame on the target government. If analysis is feared to weaken said blame, it won't happen or won't happen right. False claims will be called on to counter the clearly false claims of the opposition, etc. Seen it many times before, a dreadfully boring and predictable industry. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:42, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Just reading what Miller proposes sounds really good. From there: "I also believe that if the global community works together, we can solve this crime." I'm toying the idea ... should I challenge him to prove that by inviting me and/or our research on board? We're already getting way ahead of him when it comes to verifiable specifics. At the top os his summary, it's clearly announced this is at heart an exercise in straw-man destruction. "On 15 January, two explosions, three minutes apart, ripped through Aleppo University during the first day of final exams. At least 80 students were killed, and many more were wounded. The government of Syria initially claimed that this was a double car bombing, but new evidence definitively eliminates this possibility." From there it's down to whether to believe the rebel students, or the video evidence as to what was responsible - the ground missile experts just now figured out, no thanks to Damascus, or the stealth bomber? Major fail. In fact, no one ever mentions two car bombs. One source, unofficial, says one car bomb, apparently, then two ground-fired missiles. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:56, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

That was stillborn anyway as I kind of predicted. Don't see any changes to what I commented on in the last over two weeks. Nobody's participating. If you want to do collaborative research, use the proper software. Like we do. Even then nobody will participate. ;o) Again, he's more than welcome to sign up and share his wisdom on this and all other topics. --CE (talk) 15:36, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

Rebel Missiles?

As surface-fired missiles (model unspecified, but large) now seem the winning explanation ... who might have had them? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:44, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

This is best covered on its own page: Rebel Rocket/Missile Acquisition. Is it okay that I just cut all this and pasted it into the talk page there? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:19, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Syria Blamed Car Bombs?

The chief triumphant claim of those who still can’t find the stealth bomber in any of the video evidence is "well, it’s not the car bombs "the regime" blamed, so..." But did they? I start with Car bomb is only mentioned on the side as a concurrent story, a car bombing in Idelb. Is that what people mean? Some samples: (forthcoming -don't want to loose an hour's work again) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:29, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

  • Jan 15 Terrorists Fire Rocket Shells on Aleppo University and Bani Zaid Area, Causing Casualties "A terrorist group on Tuesday fired two rocket shells from al-Lairamoun area on Aleppo University, causing casualties and material damage. An official source told SANA that the rocket shells caused the death and the injury of a number of students on the first day of exams. It added that there were also causalities among displaced people whose areas were affected by the terrorist acts and who are staying at the University dormitory. In a relevant context, SANA reporter was informed that terrorists fired two rocket shells on Bani Zaid area in the city, with the initial information indicating victims and injuries among the citizens."
  • Jan 16 Wide Condemnation of Terrorist Attack against Aleppo University: "The students offered condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured quick recovery. A terrorist group on Tuesday fired two rocket shells from al-Lairamoun area on Aleppo University, causing casualties and material damage."
  • Jan 17: General Command of the Army: The Criminal Act against Aleppo University a Revenge against People of Aleppo "The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that the armed terrorist groups committed yesterday a new crime that claimed the lives of scores, targeting Aleppo University by rocket shells from al-Lairamoun area, which prompted the army to hit back against the gatherings of terrorists in the area."

Other sources:

Guardian: "Some activists in Aleppo said a government attack caused the explosions, while state television accused "terrorists" – a term they often use to describe the rebels – of firing two rockets at the school. A rebel fighter said the blasts appeared to have been caused by "ground-to-ground" missiles."

Wikipedia: "Syrian State TV claimed rebels had launched two rockets at the campus after a car bomb blast." Two sources. BBC: "State TV said "terrorists" had launched rockets at the campus, but activists blamed missiles fired by warplanes. ... A military source told AFP that a stray surface-to-air missile fired by rebels had hit the campus, which lies in a government-controlled area of the city." (no car mention) Al-Khabar: Non-official, Arabic - will take some checking.

Al-Khabar, Google translated, seems to say that. Turkish authorities ordered this attack, to hit science and education and contribute to the "brain drain," with preparations beginning on January 9. "[U]nder the supervision of the Turkish intelligence officers, coordinated with Ahmed Al Ajmi (Saudi, "the imam of the king’s Fahd mosque in Jeddah") security official for terrorist groups in Aleppo, were preparing explosives, which will be a tool of crime in a warehouse building near the university, and has massacre by bombings, and then bombed two missiles at a university." Cars aren't mentioned, but a bomb is. What exactly this is based on is not clear -no sources are indicated. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:08, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

The government did blame Al-Nusrah Front, didn't they? Those guys usually work with car bombs, so perhaps that's the confusion. (examples forthcoming) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:29, 25 January 2013 (UTC) (see Al-Nusra Blame below) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:25, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Addounia TV

Not quite "regime," but tends to take their side, private broadcaster Addounia TV filed a report, apparently with presenter Shadi Helweh (Facebook, extra face). I'd like to see (a transcript of) this report to see what he says and what he bases it on. Two sources suggest he reported it was a (?) car bomb, apparently, and was beaten up by "the students." Social Media Buzz: The Attack on Aleppo University: "Edward Dark" says:

Mate, nearly everyone in Aleppo saw it, there can be no doubt. A regime jet swooped low and fired rockets there. End of story ... Plus, Shadi Helweh, the Syrian TV reporter at Aleppo bombings reporting it was a car bomb was attacked and beaten for the outright lie.

(as noted there, "(Edward Dark is a pseudonym for an Aleppo resident who used to support the revolution but now calls on the Syrian military to retake control of the city" WTF?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC) And CNN's Simon tells a similar story:

The students then turned on the Duniya TV crew and began beating them. He said the crew was reporting that there had been a ground explosion, but he and others were sure that it was aerial shelling, suggesting that the government targeted the campus. "They were lying in front of our eyes!" Simon said.

So I wonder did the crew drive all the way there just to makeup/sow the cover story fed in advance? Or did someone they spoke to who didn't know what happened speculate it was a car bomb that made traffic blow up around him? Did Helweh say that' what happened, or that's what someone was saying happened? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Late note, long-ago added up-front: The only relevant posting from Addounia that can be found on the Internet is an English sub-titled report from the 15th. [1] By the subtitles anyway, their first take was exactly the government's - two rockets from Al-Lairamoun. The death of students and displaced people sheltering in the dorms are mentioned, along with rockets on Bani Zaid. There is no mention of a car bomb or ground explosion. It's not clear if Shadi Helweh is the on-site reporter, or if he said anything in particular, or got beat up.--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:40, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

What if There Was One?

And, in fact, what if there was a car bomb co-ordinated with the rocket, to maximize the death toll? Only the forensics could really rule that out. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:44, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Indeed. Or if someone said there was. This whole argument these "experts" engage in is quite silly. Isn't that what "truthers" are so often accused of, that they treat very early initial statements and errors made as much more important than what was later reported when the fog lifted? I'd say on some aspects even with more justification than here. Would be funny if you'd stick it to them to see how they react... ;o)
As to the Addounia stuff - if that really happened, there should be video evidence of the team getting beaten up on campus. Is there any? I'll certainly not take the word of some "Aleppo resident" who calls himself "Edward Dark" and calls other people "Mate" (the latter smells of badly scripted propaganda).
Screw those "experts", I don't think the job of our articles should be to react as prominently as it is now to what guys like that say. --CE (talk) 15:36, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Jabhat Al-Nusra Blame

First thoughts: The warnings and fliers are damning - if they weren't faked, or handed out by "regime" actors posing as Al-Nusrah. It looks like a car bombing (but I'm no expert and haven't watched much video - it could be other things). The pulled admission is damning but strikes me as odd. If the style of the admission was much different than usual (I don't know usual) it's of interest. They might claim the "regime" hacked them to create a false admission to their own crime, and find some other way of bolstering that. But they probably posted it themselves, and it might even be the truth of the matter. Arrogance. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:35, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Rebel Suspicions

(moved) Guardian "I’ve just been speaking to my colleague Martin Chulov, who has been in Aleppo today and yesterday. Martin said the suspicion among Aleppo rebels was that the opposition jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra was responsible for yesterday’s rocket attack on the university, which killed at least 87 people."

Government Suspicions

(moved) Neely, ITV "Syrian government blames Aleppo university bombing on extremist group al Nusra": "The government's explanation is different. It said initially two rockets were fired from a rebel-held area of the city and hit the university. ... The government has now changed its position. Syria's Information Minister has just given me another explanation. Omran al-Zouabi says the Islamist extremist group Jabhat al Nusra is responsible. He says the twin explosions a few minutes apart, the intent to kill large numbers of people, the targeting of a government building and the capability of the group to do such a thing, all points to them as the most likely perpetrators. ... It, rather than the Free Syria Army, has shown its has the capability of exploding massive bombs outside buildings."

Speculation, and not neccessarily a changed story from the one he describes - "terrorists" is just more specific. Neely does seem to hint it was an Al-Nusra car bomb, but it's not clear if that's his presumption or the Al-Zouabi's claim. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:29, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Displaced Persons

I finally decided to check some records on this subject. Was it rebellious students like the jet-blaming rebel students claim, or rebel-displaced families in dorms and tents hit by two rebel rockets, that somehow yielded such a high death toll?

  • VDC listing 75 martrs from Aleppo killed by "warplane shelling" January 15. 7 members of a Tammawi family, including 3 children. But these were killed in Bab, it says.

Okay ... there's a note: "A massacre committed by the Regime Forces killed more than 50 students due to the shelling by warplane in al-Emara square next Aleppo university." (the entries also note Martyrdom location "Aleppo: Amara Faculty Square" but I could find no such square) No one but students mentioned. All the laundry in the windows, the tiny spongebob shirt, etc. just there for no good reason. Students should be all adult, mostly. And what do you know:

  • 61 identified students with that note. At the top, adult, male and female. At the bottom, 29 adult males unidentified (gender left blank comes out adult male, by the way). What these are based on is unknown.
  • A better list: all January 15 dead from everywhere, every cause, with "university" anywhere in the notes. 76 people are listed here. 29 no-ID "adult males," 33 identified adult males, 12 adult females, one boy (Najeb Ziad Ghazal, age 15, from Soukari - unexplained), and one girl (just passing through). Again the clues for displaced families over students is family names appearing many times, young children, or perhaps elderly. Many are given as students, with photos. Here's one from Kafar Zita, Hama, was there to study architecture, not to take refuge. Most lack all details, including age. Here are some exceptions to their '50+ students and no one else' massacre math:
  • And then there are those who didn't die right away on the 15th. VDC at least lists 4 of these, all adults (two men, two women, just one 18-year-old woman specified as a student) One was just added on the 17th, the others dying on Jan. 18, 19, and 25. Added to the 76 above, it makes 80 total (again, with 29 arbitrary unidentified entries)--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:12, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
  • The girl, Tala Manla, appears young and cute, and died there with her dad Wasim, who looks young and mellow. "he went to take his wife from the university," the entry says, taking Tala, and so both happened to be there in traffic and both died. Could be that, but that would mean every young child who was killed has been denied (how many is that? Not sure)
  • A Fattouh man from Baniyas, for what it's worth.
  • 2 Syrafi men from Salah al-Din, unexplained. A third (Sairafi) comes up as the only one killed by "shelling" with no jet specified.
  • A Palestinian woman from Neirab camp, and another were added later than some.
  • Yousef Siklaya age 19 is acknowledged as from Zeyabeih and "displaced to the university city" as was his brother maybe Mahmoud, age 30. Could be.
  • A man and a woman named Waysi al-Saed from Tal Refaat
  • Here's a guy who might have gone to the dorms to escape some problems back home: Mohammad Adib Attouk, from Hama, Mourek (Morek) 2 other Atouks from Hama, both from Morek, are listed as dying before him. both non-civilian but on the martyr's list: Bilal Ahmad Atouk age 23, "defected soldier," field executed March 25, 2012, and rebels got video ([ 1, 2). Then, Abdullah Ahmad al-Atouk, age 19 was shot in October, 2012. More than defected, he was with "Martyrs of Freedom Battalion" and died fighting, in Aleppo. Some go to college to escape a draft like that. Some might have to run away, and just wind up stuffed in a dorm, in Aleppo, that gets hit be a rebel missile. Who knows?

--Caustic Logic (talk) 15:13, 12 January 2015 (UTC) and Caustic Logic (talk) 11:31, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

  • Mohammad Mahmoud Izza Civilian Adult - Male Aleppo Soukari 2013-01-15 Warplane shelling - age 31 he was displaced to the university city
  • Amina Jawad Civilian Adult - Female Aleppo Zeyabeih 2013-01-15 Warplane shelling - martyred with her sons Mahmoud and Yousef Seqlaya - documented in 21/01/2013. she was displaced to the university city --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:12, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Member of Ahel al-Kheir Association ("the good") Logic (talk) 12:12, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

Below: what can be seen of the external encampment, mapped out. This, besides at least these two dorm buildings and the one behind them (and probably most of the other 14) is where the IDPs were living. Photos cited: those around on these pages. Alep Univ encampment study (1).png

At the north (left) end of the scene, the roundabout crater and a view inside the broken fence. To the left, large parts of an improvised structure are seen, leaning over. To the right, unclear. A stray piece of was apparently blown out into the intersection kind of sideways (likely was moved to this spot after landing nearby). The yellow star is the com tower, with its small structure (power box) that might have slightly shielded the area just south of there. As the aqua blue boxes show, the cross-wires of an improvised roof, and some of its tarp, can be seen stretching over the area inside the fence here. A large span remains unseen, that I've seen. The area right out front of the dorm, around the likely impact point, seems to mainly be cleared of encampment materials (and people) filled in with building material blown out after the pressure wave was blown in (? dark blue). The areas just around it show what probably covered the whole area: to the north bedding, furniture, metal frames (light blue). It's unclear if this is how it landed, or more likely where other stuff was tossed to clear working space. To the south, clothes, bedding, satellite dishes, lots of torn up plastic sheeting, some frame material (purple, oval). South of that, a large, damaged but standing, structure like the one that probably was here. That seems to be in front of the next building south. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:11, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

CNN Talks to Simon

CNN Jan. 17 Aleppo University student describes chaos, carnage after blasts Stellar work to be credited to Ashley Fantz and Salma Abdelaziz and "Simon," a self-described dental student, who accidentally pulled of a woman's hand trying to help.

"I was on campus when I heard a plane over head from a distance," Simon recalled to CNN. "Suddenly a loud explosion erupted just 50 meters away at the gates of the College of Architecture," he said. "Since many roads in Aleppo are blocked, this is one of the few roadways that is open for those traveling though Aleppo."

Access for car bombers greater? No - access to people to kill, with the jet, they think.

At least 10 cars were blown to nothing, killing the people inside, he said. Minutes later a second blast exploded a few meters away. "But this time, thank God, it was mainly material damage, not casualties," he said.

No jet mention that time.

Students on campus believe the government specifically targeted the school. "Aleppo University is known as the university of the revolution," Simon said. "We staged a peaceful protest last week, and this is why were targeted. Our pro-government professors would always threaten us and say 'we swear we will shell this university.'"

Sure he did. Was this protest the boycott demanded for that day? Says students were then locked on campus, maybe held for another bombing, An Addounia crew showed up to film, suspiciously fast.

The students then turned on the Duniya TV crew and began beating them. He said the crew was reporting that there had been a ground explosion, but he and others were sure that it was aerial shelling, suggesting that the government targeted the campus. "They were lying in front of our eyes!" Simon said.

Then, Shabiha.

Then, men known as Shabiha appeared, he said. The Shabiha is a group of typically hulking men who are regarded as the shadowy arm of the government and are infamous for their strong-arm tactics. The men began shouting speeches praising President Bashar al-Assad. "Just 15 guys chanting for Assad," Simon said.

The US condemnation is then presented, making relative sense in context. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:48, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Second Attack in March

I missed this before, but it sounds worth looking into. An engaging December report from Franklin Lamb says:

Aleppo University, like nearly all of Syria’s institutions of higher learning has paid a bitter price for keeping its classrooms open. On January 15 2013 the School of Architecture was shelled and more than 90 students and visitors on campus were killed. By shocking coincidence, Damascus University’s School of Architecture was similarly shelled only five weeks later on March 28, 2013, killing more than 15 students.

That almost sounds like a hitting the same, sore spot a second time. Someone (will find) noted the first time part of the pain was the attack came just as Aleppans were starting to get back towards normal and healing, and this was designed to rattle them anew. Were these second 15 victims students as well like he hears? Likely. One can hardly imagine the refugees would be kept in that same exact part of the dorm camp by the architecture school, or in the open outside the dorms at all, after two massive rockets hit their tents. Maybe the follow-up was to show "the regime" wasn't aiming for the fugitive Alawites and such, but specifically for rebellious students ... of architecture. Yeah, that part's still a puzzle, working on it ... Note the higher death toll Lamb heard - more than 90, vs. 82 as we heard before. Considering the massive array of arbitrary injuries a rocket into tent will cause, just over to 90 to just under 100 dead in the end sounds more realistic than a stale, pre-frozen 82. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:28, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

Two Years On

So after this page sat unchanged for close to two years, I decided it was worth reviving, amidst everything else I'm not keeping up with ... one of the things I'm doing is probing Edward Dark, an interesting character in Aleppo whose claims were central to the mainstream view of the university attack. He was ostensibly a sort-of government-supporter at the time, lending weight to his boosting of the rebel claims. He seems to have learned a lot and taken a clearer anti-rebel stance since then, and I was curious what he would say now about this event.

I'm not sure I understand Twitter yet, but I sent these three tweets to him. No response yet. Hopefully will be able to update with those in time.

@edwardedark #AleppoU, 2 yrs on,

  • 1/3. I have two qs, 2 further tweets. Refresh if needed:

  • 2/3. Q1) do you still believe those were fighter jet strikes? If so, why? (motive)
  • 3/3. Q2) Do you still think the government first blamed car bombs? If so, recall source? Thx.

--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:55, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

I'm interested in his answers as well. Actually thought about asking him before you did, because unlike two years ago when I questioned his credibility, now I'm convinced of it. I (@highopei) will try to get his attention to your questions when I see him around. Twitter seems to be a lot about timing, at least if and when the person gets a lot of feedback. --CE (talk) 12:31, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, peer pressure works better with numbers. As for timing, he was posting right after, and I think before, so he should have seen it. I confronted him about this once on Twitter, may have rubbed him the wrong way on a touchy subject. It looked like he deleted my response (or was that just a Twitter viewing issue I didn't get?) It was in response to him accusing rebels of bombing a school full of refugees with a rocket. I was like "oh, you see now how they do that?" (to that effect) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:00, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
oh, btw, "twitlonger" can be quite a useful service doing what it says to do. See my little rant informing the Martins about Alexander Litvinenko here. --CE (talk) 12:37, 16 January 2015 (UTC)
Eh, it's another platform with the added value of having twit in the name. If we both happened to be members already, okay. On your longtwit, sounds like a plausible narrative, never did follow up on, or trust that bizarre story. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:00, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
  1. Syria - Terrorist attack on Aleppo University, Caused CasualtiesYoutube video, published by addouniaEnglish, Jan. 15, 2013