Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Rocket attack

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The US argument or "proof" for Assad's guilt seems to be based on the premise, that the alleged "attack" was carried out with rockets. (see Brother Nathanael for some clips.) The argument is that only the government possesses rockets capable of carrying the alleged chemical weapons. I am starting to believe that no "attack" in the form described ever happened. (See Murder investigation, part 2 above.)

There are however all kinds of rockets flying around Damascus on and after August 21st. Some of the witnesses describe the eerie sound of rockets. When did these rockets appear in Damascus? Can we find footage of previous government use of rockets in Damascus? If these are rebel rockets, where did they come from. Is this part of a new US financed Saudi delivery of weapons? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:03, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

From the US assessment:

The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack on August 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.
Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21. Satellite detections corroborate that attacks from a regime-controlled area struck neighborhoods where the chemical attacks reportedly occurred – including Kafr Batna, Jawbar, ‘Ayn Tarma, Darayya, and Mu’addamiyah. This includes the detection of rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media. The lack of flight activity or missile launches also leads us to conclude that the regime used rockets in the attack.
Local social media reports of a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs began at 2:30 a.m. local time on August 21. Within the next four hours there were thousands of social media reports on this attack from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area. Multiple accounts described chemical-filled rockets impacting opposition-controlled areas.

I would assume, that the last sentence "Multiple accounts described chemical-filled rockets impacting opposition-controlled areas" comes from "open source" sources. If so, we should have seen it. This is a statement, that is falsifiable, i.e. it can be disproven with empirical evidence. Good! Let's challenge it.

As well known, Brown Moses has been struggling to put together a case for regime use of CW rockets. If the US government has this information, the Brown Moses should have it. What Brown Moses in fact has is bits and pieces of anecdotal evidence; photos of rockets that may have hit the area weeks earlier, "activist" statements, that the rocket remnants are somehow related to a "gas attack". The fact is there is not a single eyewitness to a rocket impact, least of all one that could tie a rocket impact to a gas attack or "chemical weapons incident". (In fact, we have not seen any direct witnesses to the gas attack.) It is possible for activist sources to synthesize this narrative from observations and rumors, even more easy for the Whitehouse, but as far as I know there is no evidence tying these statements together. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:25, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

HRW Report "Attack On Ghouta": Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack

Zamalaka map.jpg

Does quite exactly what Petri says must be done in the last paragraph above. Pretty comprehensive result, I have to say. Two distinct events, one in the south-west with old soviet 140mm rockets at around 5 am, the other one earlier at around 2:30 am in the north-east, centered in and around Zamalka and with the kind of rockets Brown Moses located which are 330mm as measured by people on the ground they contacted. At least 8-12 rockets of that kind were found, precisely located. Fits on Iranian launcher possessed by SAA, they say. --CE (talk) 09:13, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

I have not read the PDF report, but some observations based on a quick look at the web summary. HRW is basing their rocket claim on the work of Moses Brown, even using his graphics. Moses Brown claims to have found a possible chemical rocket which he has named UMLACA (Unidentified Munition Linked To Alleged Chemical Attacks). HRW takes this assumption as given. There are several reasons why I do not believe this to be the case:
  1. The mystery rocket has the structure and design of a thermobaric rocket, sharing its design features with known rockets. As Yossef Bodansky point out the design is poorly suited for delivery of nerve agents. There is also no point in a 500 kg chemical warhead. Nerve agents need to be dispersed over a wide area. Usually this would done using cluster munition – or simply by using smaller ordnance. The same topological constraints apply to nuclear warheads; the 100 MT Tsar bomba is totally useless as a weapon. A far larger area can be devastated with 10 smaller warheads.
    That's exactly what they're saying: estimated 50-60 litres each. --CE (talk) 18:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
  2. The photographs of the crash sites show the effects of powerful explosions centered on the rocket remains, indicating that they were thermobaric explosives.
  3. So far I have only seen activist claims that the rocket were used at the same time as the gas attack.
For the HRW claims to have any merit, they would have to somehow prove that the rocket remains observed are the ones fired at time of the alleged attack. They would also have to show that their impact sites correlate with the chemical deaths. As stated elsewhere, no one has been able to pinpoint the site of the Zamalka attack. For HRW to have proof, they would need to have video of the abandoned homes, with such details that they can be placed on the map.
I also wonder how HRW has been able to locate the 12 impact sites. Did they look for craters in fresh satellite images, as they have previously have done? CW rockets do not leave craters. I have not seen any footage of these impact sites. Even if there was some, pinpointing them on the map would be a huge task – I believe beyond the capabilities of even HRW. Most likely the impact map is based on nothing more then activist claims. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
Read the PDF. It's pretty much as good as it can get without having access to the ground. I don't have time now to read it again and didn't check the youtubes they link, but out of head they
  1. located the (some) original uploaders and contacted them
  2. interviewed them on skype and were provided by some with additional footage including high-res photographs and access to other witnesses they interviewed
  3. were provided with measurements and precise GPS locations
  4. matched those locations with other videos and satellite images
  5. matched videos of the UN investigators at (some of) the same spots
So there's a pretty strong case that those rockets are said to have been the means of delivery of toxic agents, have been there immediately after the event and have been there when the investigators visited. Which leaves us with:
  1. HRW made it up. I know they are politicized but they aren't the White House. Count me out if you can't show that their linked youtubes don't show what they say they show.
  2. The rockets were planted in the night, fitting with faked hospital videos/doctor reports/planted corpses etc pp. I say unlikely at this point. Best way to make it more likely would be to conclusively locate the rooftop pics you uploaded from the "Zamalka ghost house" in that area.
  3. Their conclusion is correct and it was "Assad", meaning a rogue element in the army, who did it.
  4. These rockets - and I still maintain that you don't have to be a rocket scientist to put that stuff together - have been fired by something like Bodansky's Liwa Al-Islaam "Chemical Unit" loaded with Kitchen Sarin. I think this is the most likely scenario atm. You would of course want to make it look as "professional" as possible and don't number them 1-20, but with random numbers up to the high three digits.
--CE (talk) 18:33, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Russian satellite images?

Ayssar Midani, a French Syrian citizen and political activist, joins us from Damascus to talk about the latest developments in Syria. We talk about the history of the terrorist jihadi insurgency in the country and their prior use of chemical weapons, the latest attack and claims of satellite evidence proving that the attack was not launched by government officials, and the likely consequences of a US-led strike on the country.

Moon of Alabama comment, Rowan Berkeley, #23, Description of a description of something reportedly amazing:

This is out from behind the paywall, and I’ve watched it now. It isn’t on YouTube yet. But in fact it does not contain anything radically new. She names the local Jabhat al-Nusra commander, Sheikh Zahran Abdullah Alloush, as having ordered the firing of the two rockets with chemical warheads. In fact, Alloush is the commander of the Liwa al-Islam Brigade, based in Duma. He is a well-known and documented figure. She says the satellite imagery actually shows the rockets being fired, travelling and reaching their targets, and that it has been given by Vitaly Churkin to the UNSC. She does not say whether satellite telephone communications from or to Alloush substantiating the claim were intercepted. The video evidence (and audio evidence, if there is any) has not been released publicly, and this is a typically Russian authoritarian mistake. They will not comprehend the fact that the world public has to be treated as an equal interlocutor in emergencies, not an object to be manipulated by competing rulers. There is nothing else of importance in this video, though of course it is all very interesting. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:02, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
You know, with a few minutes to sit on this notion, it does not sound right. This is satellite video that she describes, real time and discernable like a security camera video. Isn't that totally not how it normally works? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:42, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
This is very fifth hand information but contains important names and leads, at least for further Google searches. I was expecting all of this to have been reported elsewhere. I wonder why no-one has linked to it. Listening more closely, it may be that Ayssar Midani bases her information on the satellite images on what is reported by Islamic Invitation. There was a more reliable source for this content, evidently translated from Arabic, but I cannot find it now. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:37, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
She says one rocket landed in Jobar and one in Muadamye, IIT says one landed in Jobar and one between Irbin and Zamalka. Differences in details. As to the satellite images and CL's question if that "isn't totally not how it works" - isn't it? Don't they have real time satellite images flow in very small intervals if not outright video these days? I don't know but I suspect they have. If so, the US of course have them as well. --CE (talk) 16:51, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, Duma and Harasta are known for some of the most heinous terror gangs around, remember those corpses they used in several states of decay for new "massacre marketing"? urs has followed their videos with extreme disgust, I recall. --CE (talk) 16:53, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

BM-14 type 140mm rocket?

The UN is studying the remnants of a Soviet 140mm BM-14 type artillery rocket of a type that can carry a 2,2 kg sarin payload. The fact that the rocket part is still intact points to no explosive warhead being used. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:22, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

The rebels in Jobar have the capability to launch a dozen 140 mm rockets at once. See Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Locations/Jobar#July rocket launches. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:39, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

... information is now circulating in the city that Russia's new "evidence" about the attack includes the dates of export of the specific rockets used and – more importantly – the countries to which they were originally sold. They were apparently manufactured in the Soviet Union in 1967 and sold by Moscow to three Arab countries, Yemen, Egypt and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya. These details cannot be verified in documents, and Vladimir Putin has not revealed the reasons why he told Barack Obama that he knows Assad's army did not fire the sarin missiles; but if the information is correct – and it is believed to have come from Moscow – Russia did not sell this particular batch of chemical munitions to Syria.
Since Gaddafi's fall in 2011, vast quantities of his abandoned Soviet-made arms have fallen into the hands of rebel groups and al-Qa'ida-affiliated insurgents. Many were later found in Mali, some in Algeria and a vast amount in Sinai. The Syrians have long claimed that a substantial amount of Soviet-made weaponry has made its way from Libya into the hands of rebels in the country's civil war with the help of Qatar – which supported the Libyan rebels against Gaddafi and now pays for arms shipments to Syrian insurgents...

Unidentified Munitions Linked to Alleged Chemical Attacks

UMLACA redirects here. These "mystery rockets" we associated by Syrian rebel activist and the blogger Brown Moses to alleged CW attack.
See also #Video: Liwa al Islam fire UMLACA on August 21?


Mystery rockets

UN investigator collecting samples next to the remnants of a SAA thermobaric bunker buster rocket. Note the blast damage to the wall in the background.
Large numbers of victims have been reported, and the following pictures have been posted online claiming to show two of the munitions used in the attack. What's extremely interesting about these devices is they match with devices previously recorded in the conflict, reportedly launched by government forces, with it's first appearance in Daraya, south-west Damascus on January 4th.
That is a strange-looking device. Note he says "it seems likely these munitions have been manufactured inside Syria," which I guess both sides are capable of, and of course "local activists certainly seem to think they are related," and I would give them some credit for knowing the different parts of their psyop. But why such an odd part when it's been rebels building bizarre new weapons mainly? Why not use any of the stuff they've stolen that Syria technically still owns? Did Syria steal a multinational forces improv weapon and false-flag them with it? Specifics will help narrow down the possibilities. I plan to catch up a bit within the next few days. I also plan to pop in at this link for some comments. I've been well-received there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:57, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Brown Moses has found the smoking gun, a video of his "Mystery Rocket" being launched by what look like a Republican Guard unit.

The problem with the evidence is that it is Brown Moses himself that has linked the rocket type to alleged CW attacks. Most likely the mystery rocket is in fact a thermobaric weapon, and has nothing to do with CW or even August 21st. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:17, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

I commented on Brown Moses blog, but it now has moderation on, so it is not (yet) visible. I am saving my comment here.

Now that I see this, it is clear that thing has nothing to do with chemical weapons. The warhead must weight several hundred kilograms. A huge team and a crane is needed to set this up for launch.
There is no need to deliver this much of sarin or other chemical agent in one punch. The same amount of toxin could far more easily and accurately be delivered in mortar rounds, or 140 mm artillery rockets.
This is termobaric weapon. The true use for the huge cylinder is to create a huge blast. The likely use is a bunker buster; caving in underground tunnels. The range is most likely limited to a few kilometers, accuracy is minimal. Useful in open, unpopulated (or depopulated, as in Syria) areas, but genocidal if fired on a civilian neighborhood.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:12, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Foreign Policy follows up with a propaganda piece: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:03, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, Petri, I missed this when re-posting some of it below. This page has grown so much. Every thime I see it I feel like an old man. "Last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grass-hopper" Your explanation sounds plausible and attractive to me, but I'm no expert. Is your comment still not approved? That would be lame. Indeed, the problem is probably the "linked to" part, which he, along with others, is responsible for. Not, necessarily, the facts. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:51, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
We should do something about this page, it's far too large now to navigate even for us, let alone visitors. Maybe start a couple of raw evidence subpages named like "02130821/Videos" etc. And split the current content to those while using this page here only for active/new stuff. Maybe put some condensed conclusions to the article page first. I'm gonna expand the death toll thing a bit in a moment (great find at that sdvc page, CL) but then I have to leave for today (BB) --CE (talk) 13:16, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Thought that the other day. I think a rocket forensics page, a UN investigation/political response page, alternate hypothesis page, etc. Each might not get huge, but would be linked together prominently. Front page needs some work. Is there one? (looking) Oh yeah, that. Not too bad. Sounds like you might be willing to start? I'll be helping. Expect another slow day tomorrow/later, then a good day, on my end. Monday off, paid holiday, woo-hoo!--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Almost didn't finish what I just added - nice hit from SOHR on White House there... :oD Have to hurry to not miss the noise ;o) I'll likely find some time tomorrow. CU --CE (talk) 13:54, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Disposable section to discuss that? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:49, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Launcher misidentified!

Update: The earlier identification of the rocket as a SAA weapon is false. Brown Moses concluded that the UMLACA rocket was the same as the a large rocket seen on video being launched by the SAA or the Republican Guard. The rocket seen on the video is huge, over 4 meters long and weighting a ton. HRW has now published accurate measurements of the Zamalka rockets: The total length is 220 cm; half the length and 1/8 the volume of the rocket on the video. The warhead capacity is only 50-60 liters. These measurements are very close to the original American SLUFAE design. (patent) The origin of the weapon is thus still unknown. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:17, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

This is actually a VERY strong argument against the conclusions, not the findings of the HRW report. See how I used it here. Wonder if the guy will come back to this after me post #1829 (currently the last one in the thread). --CE (talk) 23:38, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

HRW report and debunk

Brown Moses has been cooperating with HRW in creating the report discussed above #HRW Report "Attack On Ghouta": Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack. The HRW position is based on the false assumption thet UMLACA would carry a chemical warhead. This is not supported by the analysis. The rocket is a thermobaric of Fuel-Air (FEA) bomb. The chemical theory is debunked in the first comment in Brown Moses' lates blog post.

Daniel S writes this comment
No mystery at all. You can see the same exact part documented in the patent for the SLUFAE, on which this "mystery" is based. I've said it time and time again, and it's been ignored time and time again. I've also gone out of my way to show that "red numbers" means FAE, black is HE... find another color and we can talk about chemical variants. One port is for filling of the fuel, the other port is for arming with a fuse and controller. It gets screwed on prior to launch. As it's a FAE, the container is designed to burst in a predictable fashion, downward, with the fuse traveling through the cloud and igniting it for detonation. The rocket itself, as it's at an epicenter of a fuel air explosion, remains pretty much intact. If there is deflagration or unburnt fuel, then yes, it's toxic and the effect is well documented to cause the symptoms exhibited. The reason there are no parachutes, is due to creation of a sitting target to shoot at that defeats the intended effect. The other reason to have two ports for a FAE is to allow for better filling as it must be able to vent the displaced oxygen as well as be able to be drained for proper storage.
So, the claim that "So far, no-one has been able to identify the "bicycle pump"", is just false, I have already done it, it just doesn't fit in with your agenda. Nor would a chemical munition be filled in a manner that causes or even risks pre-flight mixing.
As per the comment of "well, if it's so deadly this way, why not just launch them all like this", it's actually far LESS deadly than sarin, and not nearly as useful when what you want is a thermobaric explosion to drive out terrorists from dug-in positions. Dead animals die from the shock or the oxide as it destroys internal organs and sucks out oxygen from the lungs... dud or not, there's still deflagration. Which is why there is scorching seen in all accounts. Unless of course, you choose o believe that this inaccurate munition is being deployed in pairs to somehow cover up a sarin attack, with the kicker-charge magically vanishing every single time. The lengths some people will go to to buy believe own bull is astounding. Ignoring the obvious in favor of yellow journalism and warmongering.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:28, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Rocket impact site

Ghouta Comp Map Jobar.png
the impact site is at the epicenter of huge blast that has collapsed the walls of the nearby building

I am trying to find the location of these two videos (+ one more). It would help to establish the trajectory of Brown Moses' mystery rocket. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:19, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

I'm having a look. Seems semi-distinct and possible enough to narrow it down, maybe to one, but not guaranteed or easy. Can we even say what directions/time of day? I can only say either a bit before or a bit after mid-day? Doesn't help much. I'm comparing stills to some areas of Irbin, or will start in a minute. The furrows in that field, at 0:10 looking down them. If late morning, you're looking kind of north or perhaps northwest. If early afternoon, more like northeast. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:44, 24 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I meant 0:10 in the first video. I'm looking again, still not sure, but it seems to me that sun is pretty high, and this will all be a little closer to the middle, north-south orientation of the range, or looking primarily north at 0:10. Maybe? What we need is a good elevation estimate and from that narrowed time/azimuth options. I don't know what to say - greater than 45 degrees, well under 90. Maybe 60 degrees? Petri? --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:19, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
I think the flight path is perpendicular to the furrows in that field and the building wall. The building is facing north or southwest depending on whether it is am or pm. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:24, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
here's a spot to discuss. Not the one, but perhaps that shape and orientation of a field (or flipped on the N-S axis), bounded by buildings on left and right, pretty big, tall one(s) on the right, open space to the north. It's the major road on the south side at least that doesn't fit. Also, note how the (right, damaged) buidling(s) is not continuous, but has a split or recess in the middle. That should appear too. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:11, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Isn't it strange that the second video doesn't show the rocket at all (came across it elsewhere so I came back here to find that you had already linked to it)? --CE (talk) 18:31, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Brown Moses and team have figured out the impact site in this discussion thread on Google+. The location is not in Irbin, as suggested by the original video upload originating from the Irbin CC, but futher south in Zamalka. As I initially suspected, the building wall is facing due north, meaning that this is also the direction where the rocket came from.

Note: the spot is included in the inset image, comparison map: app. strike areas orange, rocket #197 as labeled, identified strike area in the red X. Jobar indicated, with parts that are about north. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:05, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

A thorough analysis of the pictures can be found in this pro-Kurdish blog. The analysis confirms the direction: NORTH.

I am still not convinced this is a chemical rocket and even if it is, it has anything to do with the hundreds of deaths. If the damage to the wall of the nearby building is related to a blast from the rocket, then I suspect the mystery rocket is a thermobaric weapon. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:41, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

P.S. – I had a closer look at the photos. I now think the angle of impact is at a 40 degree angle to the east-west furrows, making the direction from northwest. This would make Jobar and Qaboun possible origins for the rocket. (I do not think it can fly much over 2 km.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:05, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

You'd better make it from the northwest, because everyone's saying north=SAA. ;) I had a look at all this. What a weird-looking bend. Are we sure that means it didn't come almost straight down? Somehow that would help explain it, to me. I'm not 100% on the spot chosen, but it is an uncanny fit for the images. Tricky, not even in Irbin and barely in Zamalka.The map shows e-w here is a couple degrees off, towards the west. So right there, 360 is actually 258 or so. Jobar to the northwest is one area that's sort of in the middle of all these, as the Wikipedia graphic shows.--Caustic Logic (talk) 07:02, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
There is a mound forming on the side of the crater where the rocket head is buried or where the earth has moved sideways. It is pointing some 30 to 40 degrees east from due south. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:29, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Brown Moses does a thorough visual comparison of the alleged impact site to the video: 100% match.

Update:This whole discussion is an infowar distraction and a waste of time. The weapon has been shown to be a government siege engine, used for "bunker busting" i.e. caving in underground tunnels or for mine clearance. The Brown Moses impact site has nothing to do with the alleged CW attack. The physical damage at the site shows that the warhead exploded with a huge blast, almost destroying the nearby building. The blast damage is old, but there is absolutely nothing that indicates the remnants of the rocket are from August 21, apart from "activists say" / activist lies seen on the video. Besides, why the hell are these activist filming this empty field anyway, when they could and should be filming the empty homes of the dead victims. They know that the rocket is old, yet they are involved in this fraud anyway. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:58, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Follow-on discussion at Talk:Thermobaric weapons

Update 2 – UN is now claiming or suggesting that these rockets carried sarin-type chemical agents. Video has emerged showing Liwa al-Islam terrorists in gas masks firing the rocket on "August 21st". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:28, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

UMLACA Impact Time

There's nothing visually in the imapact sites shown proving the alleged CW rockets actually came down early on August 21. To me, some of the samples shown seem to have been exposed to some days of weather, but I don't know how to prove or disprove that. Below this line, a general discussion space for any informed thoughts on that. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

What would be really useful now is current satellite images from Zamalka, to get the solid visuals and answer this question. If not the rocket then its mound of dirt will be visible from space, and I notice no one's yet proven Aug. 21 by showing before and after images. That to me means we should go after them. There's enough of a technical community here now to ask how hard is it for private people like us to get ahold of such images? HRW gets them from Digital Globe, and doesn't have to rely on what Google puts up which is currently more than a year old. We can say the UMLACA's and their impact points came into existence sometime between late August 2012 and Aug. 21 this year. Anyone in a shopping mood: Best single date and locale would be August 20, the one Zamalka field where #197 hit (GMaps link), next the other field (GMaps link) same day. I'd also like to see an above view of after the strikes (which I suspect will be in the first images checked, and too bad everyone else didn't bother) will also help get more exact measurements on the burn zones around the UMLACA FAE/thermobaic strikes, as I suspect them to be. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Bolded for emphasis - this we can already use to imply the rockets predate the alleged attack. What would be awesome is to test it and get visual proof these things have nothing to with all these reports from the 21st, because they had fallen at leasyt X days prior. But I think it's worth looking into, and I did, a bit. It was confusing. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry for that, I was being manic that day. I have to refine: First, the order was wrong; the second option should be first. #197 is more famous but its strike zone too frequently hidden in shadow and no UN finding of Sarin that I know of. The other, unless I got the location wrong, is more likely to be visible anytime after landing, and has that test, so proven alleged significance. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 6 October 2013 (UTC)

I was hoping for useful insights, if any are around, on technical issues like these:

  • which company is most likely to deal honestly and just sell an image instead of sensing the intent, getting activist, and slipping one in to conceal the truth? (D. Globe is the biggie, frequent helpers of Human Rights Whitewash, et al - I don't trust them) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Who would have data for the relevant time and place, as good as Google Maps or better, that's not in some arcane unreadable format? There are questions mainly about available dates - the more recent the better, up to the 21st. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Resolution: I think at usual GMaps/DGlobe resolution, the good-sized rocket, its dirt mound, wall damage, and burned zones of ground are all things the could be visible, could be too fine, or somewhere on that borderline. Between all of them, chances are good it will be visible (if still deniable to some) If pass times could be specified, well before or after mid-day would be best, especially for #197, but for both by illuminating any N-S rocket and mound with a lit and a dark half, possible giveaway glare, etc. Best times: sun hits due east at 9 am, due west about 6:00 PM (the useful NOAA solar calculator, despite the .gov shutdown, is telling me that, GMT +3, DST on) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:46, 6 October 2013 (UTC)


Estimated launch site of UMLACAs according to Sasa Wawa

This simulation gives a maximum range of 2.5 km for the UMLACA with liquid warhead. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:38, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

I posted a comment: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:39, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

One way of estimating the range would be from the flight time of the rocket. As far as I can see, the December 2012 video with the UMLACA fired from Mazzeh airport into Daraya shows the full flight path. I estimate the flight time to be about 20 seconds.
For simplicity, I will make calculations with an idealized artillery shell fired in vacuum. The engine running during flight might give a longer range, but that would have to be determined through simulation. Air resistance will decrease the range.
The projectile will have the longest range when fired at a 45 degree angle. The 20 seconds flight time means 10 seconds going up and 10 seconds going down. The terminal downward velocity after a 10 second drop will be g × 10 s = 10 m/s2 × 10 s = 100 m/s. The vertical distance traveled will be 500 meters.
With a 100 m/s initial (and terminal) vertical velocity and the 45 degree angle the horizontal velocity will also be 100 m/s. This does not change during the flight. The 20 second flight time would give a maximum range of 2000 meters.
From the video it seems that the rocket is fired at a higher angle to achieve a shorter range. This will increase the flight time. Consequently the flight time at the maximum range would shorter then the 20 seconds we observe, thus the range would be under 2000 meters.
In your simulation you should consider 20 seconds the absolute maximum flight time. If your rocket flies longer than that, then your engines are too strong or your payload too light. From your simulation I cannot read a flight time. How long is it?
The assumption of 45 degrees and vacuum is quite wrong. These missiles have significant air resistance at the speeds they travel. This alters the range, altitude, and time significantly.
rocket simulation software is a program that better simulates the flight of these missiles as compared to back of envelope calculations.
sasa wava for a variety of reasons has concluded the missiles have a range 2.0 to 3.5km. This is partly fallacious based on a ratio comparison of presumed weight of the CW variant and the HE variant. As in any non-linear system simple ratios don't work.
In my estimate his lowest calculation of 2.0km is probably a bit high as he uses an impossibly oversized rocket motor for the simulation. Better would be 1500m+
The higher estimate of 3.5km is almost certainly wrong based on simple physics. 2250m - 2500m is more realistic for the lighter CW/FAE/WP variant.
--DEADBEEF (talk) 14:05, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
Can I jut say you made me smile. I just was noting tomorrow, prod deadbeef to do something on this page. I'm no use at the moment judging technicals, not much netter on this, usually, and at the thermo barics page (another I'll prod you to check out) you can see why I put trajectories and such on a second tier of importance. But it's important, and I'll at least get out of the way. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:39, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
There has been a quite similar Nazi rocket called Wurfgerät 40/41 and nicknamed "Heulende Kuh" (Howling Cow). It had a range of 2200m in the most similar version. --CE (talk) 15:10, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
I've been posting a bit on the sasa wava page as 'Charles' where I discuss the likely propulsion system. My take is that there are two variants of the 300mm+ device that use two standard rocket motors. 122mm and probably 107mm. I support that with photos of the rocket tubes and tapes. It makes much more sense that they use standard easily available motors rather than esoteric custom manufactured ones.
The 122mm for the HE variant is well supported by images HE variant end-view 122mm and Tube circumference 420mm => 133mm OD
I do have to say that the 107mm is a bit of a stretch, but that is the only readily available size that would fit inside the 120mm OD case measured by the UN
A necessary corollary of different rockets, payload dimensions, and payload type is that it is not possible to directly compare measured performance of the HE device with imputed performance of 'CW' devices. In particular the sasa wava upper-end range of 3.5km is highly unlikely. --DEADBEEF (talk) 04:16, 29 September 2013 (UTC)

Sasa Wawa has now calculated a likely launch site for the UMLACAs.

I have now had another look at the video of Liwa al-Islam firing UMLACAs on August 21. I think there is a possible launch site right at the center of the double cloverleaf intersection. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:21, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

As I point out above, the range is likely less than 3.5km - bringing the launch site further into insurgent territory. Perhaps in the fields due south of the intersection? --DEADBEEF (talk) 04:20, 29 September 2013 (UTC)
I have prepared a range diagram based on the latest range estimates for the 122mm Volcano. They are centred on one of the UN locations (most southlerly) and concentrate on the North-West sector to accomodate various theories of the incoming azimuth.
Pink indicates a possible Northerly trajectory based on whoghouta calculations.
Ghouta Range.jpg

(How do you do a smaller version and link?)

--Charles Wood (talk) 12:47, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

See source. More formatting options see here. --CE (talk) 13:08, 4 December 2013 (UTC)


As I have posted elsewhere the rockets examined by Brown Moses have 133mm OD rocket tubes that contain 122mm GRAD rocket segments with a custom nozzle. What is of interest is the UN measurement of the missiles in Ghouta where they claim the rocket tube is 120mm OD. Either they made a mistake, or deliberately reported the wrong figure for unknown reasons, or the Ghouta rockets were a different model-type but very similar in appearance. The last option of course is wonderful fuel for conspiracy theories and false-flag theories.--DEADBEEF (talk) 04:57, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

The value of 42 cm / 133 mm diameter may be a bit too much. I think the activist guy has his fingers under the tape. The correct value may be 41 cm or 130 mm diameter. THis would still allow the use of standad 12 mm GRAD rocket engines. I do not think the sleeve is 5 mm thick. I think 2 mm is nearer the truth. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:01, 30 September 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Main tube diameter ~130mm of lighter steel. The fin attachment area is much thicker for strength. That is the outer fin tube is attached seamlessly to a thick fin support ring. It can be thick because the motor is a lot smaller diameter than the main Grad body.
So standard 122mm Grad with a outer mechanical sleeve and large fins for improved aerodynamics. --Charles Wood (talk) 12:53, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

Context: SAA attack

This story by Alaa Ebrahim helps understand the context of the events of August 21:

This is Zamalka in Damascus countryside a pivotal intersection between the Syrian capital and its countryside. The Syrian Army has launched a daring operation in August to regain control over this area and reopen the Southern bypass one of two main entrances to Damascus. The vital road has been closed down by rebel snipers for over a year now.

The ANNA news also describes an operation that started on the morning of August 21. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:49, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Artillery fire on the night of August 21?

Was the SAA targeting the effected neighborhoods with conventional artillery or rocket fire at the time of the alleged gas attack? One HRW report says there was no fighting during the night. Rogert Fisk here says there was shelling during the night. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:25, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Rocket Quantity Calculations

CW-guy Dan Kaszeta has published a piece trying to quantify the rocket-dose required to do the alleged damage done. He says 80 - 2000 rockets would be required just in a 63 hectare patch of E. Ghouta. I find his assumptions, calculations, and logic strained to the breaking-point. In my Oct27.13 responseusing Kaszeta's approach I estimate 4000-100,000 (!!!) rockets for both E. Ghouta and W. Ghouta. Go figure . . .--Pierpont (talk) 14:14, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

I like your writing and attitude. I read much of it. For reference, Kaszeta's original report link, ads and all. You know if you're reading this, chances are you have some toxics needing cleaned up, and hey, there's a professional for ya, how handy. Didn't see any ads about feeding hungry monkeys. :D I thought 80-2000 was a range for the same munition, set wide for different eventualities. But checking the report, he says "4,400 kg equates to 2,000 of the smaller 140 mm rockets or, roughly 80 of the larger rockets." 80 is no more than about 50% more than rebels claimed (I think). Some 50-60 rockets, but they can only show four strike scenes, one a dud. You decided 4,000 of the larger UMLACA rockets? 50x difference on both - That's different. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:27, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Further support for the actual number being about four. Rebel next to #197 the day after: "in the night of 21/8 at 2 O'clock after midnight, Bashar Al Assad fired 3 missiles at us from mount Qasion The rockets had a sound like a whistle the first one fell here, the second one at the way to Zamalka and the Third one at the way to Ein Tarma, the distance between them is about 150 meters." From Talk:Thermobaric weapons#Rebel Scene Analysis --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:17, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Actual evidence as seen by the UN shows three missiles in Zamalka with reference to an unseen fourth. This matches the published images from the local activists. My impression is that if there were more missile strikes they would have been shown.
sasa wava has concluded that the only verifiable missile strikes were in Zamalka and "at most five" though that may include the Moadimyah 140mm rocket.
sasa wava also concluded that the much wider reports of neurotoxic symptoms were a result of casualties being transported to nearby medical centres outside Zamalka. --Charles Wood (talk) 11:51, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
P.S. Watch sasa wava as there is a major stoush developing between him/her/they and Dan Kaszeta/Brown Moses on the likely origin of the chemical weapons. My personal opinion is that sasa wava is much closer to the money than the others. (delete this at your leisure)

August 21 rocket reports

The New York-based NGO also spoke to one doctor working in the medical center at Arbeen who claimed that activists told him 18 missiles were fired "from the direction of the October War Panorama, a military museum in Damascus city, and of Mezzeh military airport, hit Zamalka, Ayn Tarma, Douma, and Moadamiya."
The Syrian Support Group (SSG), a U.S.-licensed rebel aid provider, cited one very early report that preceded the HRW briefing that was relayed by Mohammed Salaheddine, a journalist with Al Aan TV and an eyewitness to the early-morning attacks. Salaheddine claimed that four rockets hit Eastern Ghouta, the first striking Zamalka, the second Ayn Tarma, the third Jobar, and the fourth Zamalka again. He said these were all Grad 122-mm rockets and came from the Damascus-Homs highway near the Baghdad Bridge (southern Damascus), and the other two came from Qabun (north of Jobar). (Note that the Baghdad Bridge is near the Nusariyeh chemical research facility, which the regime currently controls.)

August 21 rocket videos

This video published by Damascus Media Office on August 21 claims to show "missiles with strange noises in East Gouta".

The Assad regime targeting East Gouta chemical weapons and the Office of the Damascus Media filmed and monitor missiles strange you see for the first time with strange noises also the night of the occurrence targeting chemical weapons. been watching more than 7 missiles broadcast to you some of them in this recording.

The video shows multiple rocket launches. At least one has a flare color similar to UMLACA. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:16, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

The flare time for launch around 2:10 is 2.3 seconds - very similar to the Amer Mosa video but longer than the 1.8 second burn time for 122 rocket artillery and 122mm Burkan. Unless the flare lasts 0.5 seconds longer than the smoke and sound this isn't a chemical rocket. --Charles Wood (talk) 01:32, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Amer mosa video

The first video on the Brown Moses list is one that allegedly shows the nighttime launching of the chemical rockets on Eastern Ghouta. When I order my list by publication time, it turns out to be the earliest video on my list. YouTube metadata API says the video was published 2013-08-21T01:09:55.000Z – that is 4 am in Syria.

The video is by someone who calls himself amer mosa. He has four videos on his account, all uploaded within the last week. The first is some Islamist chant or prayer. The second shows a rebel group capture a huge cache of 9K38 Igla anti-aircraft missiles.

Three hours ago he posted his fourth video, Al Jazeera instruction on how to protect oneself from chemical weapons. The videos suggest he is a Islamist fighter, possibly a foreigner who recently arrived through Daraa.

The video of the nighttime launching of the rocket suggests that he (or who ever made the video) was part of the rebel group firing the rocket. I cannot quite understand the title, but I guess it says they are firing chemical weapons at Assad's agents. The timing of the video is also of interest. The video was uploaded before the news of the attack broke out. How could he have known that the rocket pictured was carrying a chemical warhead, unless he was part of the team? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:19, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Spooky pattern, cool find. I'll say hypothetically, they happened to be near enough and panned in to film a firing by the regime at midnight, drive to the attacked area, learn of the chemical gas, and knowing that, upload this so titled at 4 a.m. But I doubt all of that. I'm not sure on the title admitting to firing the missile, a good translation would be needed. I can say firing chemical missile, God, Assad agents are all mentioned. Did you save a copy? Spooky pattern-leaving travelers sometimes pull stuff back down. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:00, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Checking Amer Mosa Oct27.2013, the YT account is shut down, vids not available. I'm seeing this quite a bit. As the heat gets turned up on some of these vids, they are disappearing. Has anyone started archiving them? I have the DiFi Package converted to MP4 should any of those 13 vids disappear. My MP4 library is still quite small; it takes quite a bit of time. I have also found the video player VDL to be invaluable for dissecting downloaded YTs. You can step forward, backward, etc. and have a lot of control. --Pierpont (talk) 17:03, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

I need a copy of the Amer Mosa video. I've noticed something not remarked on before. The Liwa Al-Islam missiles have a much shorter burn time than the HE types we see. Closer to 1.6 - 1.8 seconds compared to 3 seconds for the HE.
I checked the 'special forces' night video but it's impossible to tell if they have a short or a long burn time. It will be very interesing to see what the Amer Mosa timings are. If they are long then they can be excluded from consideration. The downside if they are short is that 1.6-1.8 seconds is the burn time for a normal 122mm rocket.
--Charles Wood (talk) 00:12, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Update. I found a copy of the video at copy. I also did video and audio timing. The missile burn time is ~2.3 seconds by either method. In comparison the normal HE Volcano has a 3 second burn time and Liwa al-Islam videos have a 1.6-1.8 second burn time - which incidentally is the same as a normal 122mm rocket.
The Amer Mosa timings are sufficiently different from the standard HE type volcano and from the Liwa al-Islam volcano to say it's not recording the launch of either type. --Charles Wood (talk) 01:30, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
PS - can someone publish a copy of the copy to stop links getting broken? --Charles Wood (talk) 01:30, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
One possible signature feature of the rocket is the color and brightness changes at launch. See the launch frames of the Liwa al-Islam rockets here: Category talk:UMLACA#Possible location match. I tried to compare these to the other nighttime launches, but none of the other videos show the launch itself. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:23, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

Qaboun rocket lauches

Note: It was originally thought that this rocket launch site may have something to do with the conventional "mystery rockets" described in the section above. This is not the case.
NYT map from August 26 places a "suspected rocket launch site" at the southwestern corner of Qaboun.

Qaboun MediaOffice is publishing videos of rocket launches from some clearing in the residential area of Qaboun. I understand these to be rebel rockets. (Overall I doubt if the SAA ever uses rockets for anything. It would only produce random shelling, and we have never seen proof of that. "Assad gangs" seem to be using heavy artillery.)

The correct translation would be: Qaboun - rockets being fired from the barracks of the Special Forces towards East Gouta 25/08/2013. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:59, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
The title of the videos refers to the SAA Special Forces HQ located in the middle of Qaboun. The implication is is that the rockets were fired by "regime" forces. Qaboun, including most likely the Special Forces HQ, has however been on rebel / al-Nusra control from June 2013. See Special Forces Headquarters below. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:44, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

This looks almost like a smoking gun! Nighttime launch of rebel rockets from Qaboun to East Ghouta. Uploaded on August 22.

The daytime videos show rockets being launched towards the west or southwest, thus in the direction of East Ghouta. Now, before even exploring the CW aspect of this, one must ask, why are rebels in Qaboun firing rockets at rebels in East Ghouta? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:59, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Comparing this video to the Amer mosa video uploaded to YouTube 4 am on August 21st, claiming to show chemical rockets fired at East Ghouta, I think it may show the same launch site, maybe even the same rocket. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:07, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I am trying to locate the launch site. The Markaz Rif Dimashq mosque targeted by SAA fire in this video is here. The launch site is about here. (No, not there, but 100 meters to southwest, in the parking lot here.) I still have not figured out where the camera is located. Could be as far away as the bombed out high-rise tower in the northwest corner of Jobar. The distance from this launch site to the crash site of rocket #197 is 3810 meter in direction 146,25 degrees. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:46, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

The location match looks good - I keep being ready to try but someone else gets it. Where filmed from, less important, somehwere pretty tall. That's a government-run site normally? I see trucks and stuff. One important problem though: the title translation you got was jumbled. Go word-by-word and it's more like special units barracks firing towards Ghouta. Special alone translates private. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:45, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
The large building in the background is the Tishreen Military Hospital. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:32, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

More rocket launches from Qaboun: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:38, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

If this is the video I watched earlier and I'm reading it right, this isn't firing towards East Ghouta but kind of west and probably a bit south, maybe Moadamiya etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:09, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
More videos from August 22. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:42, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Special Forces Headquarters

Wikimapia says the launch site is the parking lot of the Headquarters of the special forces (Damascus). This absolutely, without any doubt proves Assad did it!!! (Or then this is all a part of a deliberate, well planned false flag operation.)

Maps published by the pro-Assad blogger Syrian Perspective however show that Special Forces HQ was in FSA / al-Nusra hands on August 16 – or the very least, highly contested. In fact this other Qaboun CC video shows the SAA shelling the area, including mosque, just south of the parking lot with heavy artillery in August 24. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:03, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Another video from the 18th talks about Qabon under siege of the army. reports fierce clashes on the 16th. On the 21st, SyrPer (is that the same one doing the maps on FB?) brags that Qaboon and those "trapped inside" is about to fall and elaborates:
The news is in and its not good the apes of Arabia or their terrorist mercenary rodent kin in Syria. Finally, the Syrian High Command is optimistic about the next 24 hours in both Barza and Al-Qaaboon. These two abandoned suburbs are falling into the hands of the SAA. Tunnels underneath the two areas have been discovered and closed down leaving the rats with only surface pathways out. They are also being closed. Monzer is in Damascus and tells us that the numbers of dead rodents in these two areas exceed 230 at the present.
Doesn't sound like the SAA controlled the city centre while those rockets were fired. --CE (talk) 13:22, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Okay, then. Impressive turn-around. I'll say Qaboon is a good sized area with room for numerous control situations at once, in its sub-areas. Shelling the mosque area could be to protect this base, or to rive people out of an area they control including that and the base. The map is not a good indicator. But being "abandoned," if true, might mean even by the military. Rebels could and would run it all. I'll say it's contested. And to about there, or maybe Jobar, somewhere mostly north but a bit west, seems where the tail of that rocket came from. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:15, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Who controls Qaboun?

Damascus June 17 2013
Damascus August 16 2013

Qaboun and Jobar are important, as the main highways north from Damascus pass between them and Irbeen in East Ghouta. Syria's largest double cloverleaf intersection sits just east of Qaboun. Controlling the area means the rebels could block all traffic north from Damascus. I have often wondered how this effects the strategic situation? Is civilian traffic able to pass on the main M5 motorway? (Update: This July 16 ANNA news footage (mirror) shows the civilian traffic does in fact flow freely past Qaboun, kind of. :-)

Syrian Perspective's two maps would indicate that Jobar (Jawbar) and Qaboun (al-Qaboon) are the only place rebels have made progress in the summer of 2013. The June 17 map show an attack over the cloverleaf intersection and the August 16 map rebel control (green) in Qaboun. At the current state of the war, most rebel advanced are done by al-Qaeda-linked groups or hard lined Islamists. Regular "FSA" revolutionaries are at best capable of holding rebel-held populated areas. The ANNA report from August 21 described the rebel forces holding Jobar as "elite units" of al-Nusra. I presume the rebel forces in Qaboun have similar allegiances.

The current situation in Qaboun is best described by a comment on Syrian Perspectives August 21 blog post posted by Parviziyi on August 24. (Parviziyi is an Assad supporter and a regular contributor to Moon of Alabama.)

parviziyi – August 24, 2013 at 8:18 AM
I've largely quit reading this blog. But there's an item above that jogged my memory from when I was reading the blog more regularly, a month ago. Ziad wrote above with date 22 Aug 2013: "We predict the fall of Al-Qaaboon shortly, i.e. withing the next 4 days." On 12 Jul 2013 Ziad wrote: "AL-QAABOON LIBERATED COMPLETELY". On 17 Jul 2013 Ziad wrote: "AL-QAABOON ON THE VERGE OF PURIFICATION".
He made similar bald assertions in July and early August about Damascus Jowbar district, Homs Bab Hood district, and (more ridiculously) the entirety of Idlib province. When Ziad writes assertions like that, Ziad truly doesn't know what he's talking about.
In the fighting in Al-Qaboon we know that the Syrian army has got bigger and better weaponry and more men on the ground than the rebels have. But the question of whether Al-Qaboon will "fall" is a question of whether all the rebels with decide to withdraw from the area and stay withdrawn from it, and decide to concentrate themselves in another area in Damascus. And Ziad has no information basis whatsoever for answering that question.
And if Al-Qaboon "falls" it may mean very little. The Al-Qaboon-Jowbar area a warzone depopulated of all civilians, or almost all. There are a number of other neighborhoods in Damascus that are heavily populated and almost normal today. If you were a rebel in Damascus city and you had your choice between either (a) retaining your fighting presence in the largely empty and desolate Al-Qaboon-Jowbar neighborhood or (b) destroying law and order for hundreds of thousands of civilians in some other Damascus neighborhood, which would you pick? which option would more effectively advance the goal of bringing down government? If it were to turn out that Al-Qaboon does "fall" shortly, it'd no way indicate that Ziad had the slightest intelligence on what he's talking about.

Parviziyi then continues with the topic:

From rebels sources it is clear that the rebel fighters that have been in Jobar-Qaboon since early Spring 2013 (and before) are with the Tahreer Al Sham brigade and that's same brigade that is fighting there today.

He links to this 22 Aug 2013 post by YallaSouriya, which names another brigade also active in Jobar the day: Abu Thar Al Ghafari FSA brigade.

I am sure a search for Qaboun and Special Forces would produce rebel videos of the launch site, most likely with FSA / al-Qaeda in control. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:36, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

See also this source: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:27, 25 September 2013 (UTC)

The Qaboun area on August 21 (Map created April 20, 2014) – For discussion see User talk:Charles Wood#Jobar Qaboun Industrial Area August 21

August 20

I couldn't tell what footage is from where or get a location on this comms building. Seeing the inside, I wonder if this is where that confirming call the Israelis picked up was placed from? That could be almost as damning as the missile launch itself. Wasn't it the following early AM, less than 24 hours after this footage, that it would've been placed? --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:13, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
I knew the Israeli claim was bogus, I did not know whether it was the Israelis or the FSA in Syria who provided the falsified information. You are right to take note of this. Capturing a communications building the day before for the purpose dissipating false messages is yet another indication of the thorough planing and enormity of the conspiracy. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:35, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

I am not really following the details here, yet, but it sounds good, well worth pursuing. I will add a thought. Anyone presented with this theory, and inclined to doubt it for complicating the cool regime-blame thing, will ask this: "If rebels took over the missile base, why wouldn't the government tell us? Especially when it's said the rockets hitting Ghouta came from that base?" It's a good question. I could offer maybe they didn't know (not likely) maybe they're embarrassed (but clearly should get over it), afraid it wouldn't be believed, would sound like a dodge and an admission it was their base that fired it or, maybe, it never was taken over. Or they did tell us, but the fact has been completely obliterated from our telescreens. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:15, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Follow up

This section has been referred to in several columns. William Bowles writes:

On the 21 August from a suburb of Damascus, Douma (or Duma) then under ‘rebel’ control, two missiles were fired at another ‘rebel’ controlled suburb of Damascus called East Ghouta, killing an unknown number of people, including children. It is assumed now that some kind of nerve gas or at least poison gas was used. The New York Times have documented this here, although they’ve moved some of the locations on the map. In this regard how does the NYT reconcile their take on the source of the missiles with the Mossad version, which makes them artillery shells fired from the mountains in the South ( see the Mossad version below, such as it is). This is confirmed by Pepe Escobar’s report of Russian satellite evidence.
Within hours, or even minutes, videos of the alleged effects of the attack were circulating on the Web and without a pause for a breath (let alone any evidence), led by the UK and followed closely by France, they were blaming the Assad government for the attack and pressing for an immediate attack on Syria, with or without authorisation from the UN Security Council.
For more on this see this Wiki [a reference to this section], where details on the launch of the two missiles can be found. It’s not exactly a coherent presentation as it’s an assemblage of links and descriptions, but it looks like the missiles were launched from a Syrian Special Forces base in Douma (or Duma) then occupied by the ‘rebels’.

William Bowles argues that the rockets discussed here, the ones on the New York Times map and the "Douma" rockets seen on Russian satellite images are all one and the same. Quite possible. It is likely the New York Times has seen the same videos, with the descriptions tying them to Qaboun. One must wonder why they chose to place their "suspected" launch site at the southwestern corner of Qaboun. Did they have another source? Most likely not – like any good propagandist, they just placed the site on the only spot in Qaboun they knew to be in government control. After all, they already knew they were Assad's rockets!

Bowles is unfortunately mixing up Qaboun and Douma, some 5 km to the northeast. There is also a "Syrian Special Forces base" just north of Douma, but it is not the same HQ site were the rockets came from. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:38, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Also linked from this "Op-Edge" by Pepe Escobar: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:39, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Baghdad Bridge

I don't know if you've dealt with this before, but the Syrian Support Group issued a statement on the day of 21 August claiming four 122mm Grad missiles were fired from the "Telecommunications Factory" in Qaboun and from Baghdad Bridge far to the North-East. Both at 2:20am.

Qaboun is now known out of range and far more out of range is Baghdad Bridge. New missile video and analysis

Baghdad Bridge

Telecommunications factory unknown but probably Syronics - this is also close to the NYT map location.

The report was by the Syria Support Group, a US agency tasked with providing logistical support to the FSA and almost certainly part-time CIA .

SSG Release

The Telecommunications Factory factoid was added by


--Charles Wood (talk) 03:22, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

I think the talk about "Baghdad Bridge" may be a mistaken reference to the other great intersection just west east of Damascus, see Category talk:UMLACA#Possible location match. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:39, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Do you mean East of Damascus? Intersection of M3 & M5?
Further to the SSG report I saw a report very close to the date describing the missiles being fired by a named SAA missile unit from a named highway overpass. I can't find that report now but it was very specific. Although we have no definitive information we seem to be getting a cluster on some highway intersection. Baghdad Bridge and the M3/M5 intersection both could be candidates. --Charles Wood (talk) 04:01, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
See here: Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Activist reports#Syrian Support Group. The SSG report from August 22 only exists in .jpg form, so I will not copy-paste a quote. Both the Baghdad Bridge and Syronics are mentioned. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:13, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
The full text of the SSG press statement in PDF form is at Chemical Attack Ghouta August 21
The SSG report is not the report I remember of the named SAA missile unit firing from a highway overpass --Charles Wood (talk) 06:10, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
That is the August 21 report. Baghdad Bridge is mentioned in the "Updated Report" from August 22. As I said, no PDF or access to search engines, only .jpg images. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:22, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Video: Liwa al Islam fire UMLACA on August 21?

For details, see Category Talk:UMLACA

From Moon of Alabama: Rebels with gas masks seen launching rocket on August 21:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:46, 17 September 2013 (UTC)


The three nightime videos are in 360x480 resolution, rotated counterclockwise. The second and third show the launching of three UMLACA rockets.

Original uploads by salem Khai

  1. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part1
  2. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part2
  3. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part3
  1. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part1 (MOV_0039.mp4)
  2. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part2 (MOV_0040.mp4)
  3. Syrian terrorists.August 21 Part3 (MOV_0041.mp4)

The YouTube videos have higher image quality. Downloading from Liveleaks reveals the original file names. The numbering retains the order the videos were shot in.

Enhanced versions

These videos have been color graded by Anita Hunt (Liss Nup) by highlighting the dark areas and show far more detail.

Enhanced, rotated, but with wrong aspect ratio

  1. Syria: Alleged Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 1 of 3
  2. Syria: Alleged Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 2 of 3
  3. Syria: Alleged Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 3 of 3

Enhanced from inferior LiveLeaks versions

  1. Syria: Disputed video claimed to show Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 1 of 3
  2. Syria: Disputed video claimed to show Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 2 of 3
  3. Syria: Disputed video claimed to show Liwa al-Islam rebels firing missiles 3 of 3

These images are mainly .jpeg extracts from the original videos and show little detail in the dark areas. We should use the color graded versions for extracting frames. Evidently the mobile phone video format has greater color depth (10 bits) than the 8 bits in the .jpeg format. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:28, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


P.S. Brown Moses has a blog post on the videos. He agrees thet they are in fact the UMLACA. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:57, 17 September 2013 (UTC)

The videos are analyzed in several posts on the WhoGhouta blog:

Liwa Al-Islam launches rockets on August 21?

Look what I just found, both uploaded August 21. Are those the smoking guns? Especially the second? Or what is it? But it's at daylight. Revenge? Nice launcher, though. Are those 140mm? --CE (talk) 20:15, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

--CE (talk) 20:15, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

No, I do not think this is the smoking gun. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube of rebels (and their foreign controllers) firing all kinds of rockets, especially the Croatian 128 mm rockets. I do not think I have ever seen a video of the SAA firing any kind of rocket or missile in this war. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:05, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
Uhm, this is Liwa Al-Islam on August 21. --CE (talk) 21:14, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
What does the scrap metal you've linked have to do with the videos? --CE (talk) 21:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

This channel has the goodies.

  • Remember the rumour that an helicopter was downed that night? Liwa Al-Islam shot it down.
  • Presenting "Special weapons" on the 21st? Seem to work quite well for Liwa Al-Islam.
  • Those look special too, on the 19th on some base Liwa Al-Islam holds. What are those, Orbs? ;o)
  • Someone saw what happened and pays for it. No brigade logo.
Checked the title: In proper order it says "this Shabih (wushi? a verb, bad) many sons of Deir Ezzour. They saw what happened. This is his fair punishment." --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • UN Investigators in Ain Terma, again with Firas Al-Bitar.
  • On the 25th, different logo, now that's a launcher! Isn't the tall guy our old friend Abdulrazaq Tlas? Urs says he has reappeared in Rastan after the fall of Qusair. Quality too bad to say for sure, but my feeling is yes.

--CE (talk) 21:14, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Sorry I haven't had much to say on this possibly crucial subject. So we have Liwa al-Islam firing UMLACAs, perhaps from the cloverleaf NNW of the known impacts, unless it's faked like they say. Let's say the ones we can see after landing were fired Aug. 21, from there, by them and did contain Sarin - then we have a smoking gun, if one that could convince everyone, and the FAE clues must be coincidental, and also ... the masses of reported or even the real number of dead are still hard to explain. Or they were used as FAE by Liwa al-Islam, fired into pointless fields, tainted with Sarin later. The video recording would be to show a select audience, sent to the northern border right away and intercepted by Kurds. Or maybe it was intended to publish in a deniable way (are we sure real Kurds vouch for the capture?), filmed badly to look either fake or not depending on your PoV. This might be to make sure the rockets are included in the Aug. 21 events, even and especially for those looking to blame the rebels, when really they weren't involved (because the SAA used them as FAE). --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:03, 20 October 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, this is off-topic, isn't it? Just saw rebels, rocket, Aug. 21, smoking Gun. I will uh... just leave this note for now. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

UN report

  • Serious Questions about the Integrity of the UN Report on Syria, Subrata Ghoshroy, NYT Examiner, October 5, 2013 - This piece written by an MIT "research affiliate" tries to make a case for conspiracy between Brown Moses, HRW, some MIC-affiliated US scientists and the UN team to come up with the rocket delivery story. Can't say it's very convincing - he seems to overestimate the scarcity of pictures and videos and the role BM played in making them available. Anyway, here for completeness, and I think it's the best place to put it. --CE (talk) 17:44, 6 October 2013 (UTC)
A report worth looking at, and thanks for the assessment. Good points about the mandate to not point fingers, while taking every chance to show what way it would point if it were pointing. Trust the activists, find the Sarin, follow the trajectory (loosely), ignore anything contradictory, and you've got the direction clear. Integrity - questioned. Mision - irrelevant, pre-determined, only gathering props to fill out the script --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:05, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

SAA use of rockets?

Moved from #Qaboun rocket lauches

That is simply not true. There are plenty of videos of the SAA firing rockets in many locations, but in particular from Mezzeh airport. There is a range of hills just behind Mezzeh that gives an excellent vantage point as well as taller buildings in Darayya. Examples of certain Mezzeh rocket launches include:

Gas Modeling

As you can probably see I've uploaded METARS data for Damascus Airport (OSDI). The data is good quality hourly observations of wind speed, direction, temperature and humidity for the Damascus/Ghouta region.

Due to my background as an air-quality meteorologist specialising in toxic gas dispersion in night-time conditions (several careers ago) I'm interested in applying simple modeling techniques to see where gas released from missiles would have gone in the neighborhood and how strong it would have been at various locations and times.

I can do a general advection map of the area showing wind trajectory at various times, local midnight to dawn, but it would make a much better page if I could get precise GPS locations of impact sites and a reasonably accurate impact time.

First inspection shows highly fragmentary information and most of it probably wrong. What I would appreciate is any information supplying confirmed impact locations and impact time.

The hoped outcome of this exercise is maps of East Damascus/Ghouta with concentration/exposure overlays (sort of like isobars) showing which areas were actually affected.

So if you can come up with lat/long, and approximate time for one or more of the alleged missile strikes I'd be very grateful. --Charles Wood (talk) 14:15, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Two UMLACA rocket sites located, a third maybe. Moadamiya is another issue. The locations are around, number, can get later tnight. Times, no. Prior to filming, by hours or weeks, unknown. I want to obtain satellite imagery from the 20th if possible. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:55, 29 October 2013 (UTC)
On Google Maps, one placed UMLACA strike (ll=33.520387,36.35605) and the other (ll=33.520677,36.35737). Yes, they're very close to each other. Four impact sites are listed at the page Thermobaric weapons, which I suspect they were used as. The "dud" one could be placed with some work if it helps. HRW has this map with 12 impacts mapped (is it right on this page?), including our two, and I think we're totally hazy on the scene in Moadamiyeh. And as for time, I'm vague on the alleged window: on one end app. 2:45 or maybe 2:30 am, the other end, not sure ... prior to 4 am. We have some specifics and no-later-than times around somewhere... --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
FWIW, I'm not at all sure there was any rocket releasing anything into the air. My working theory is people gassed in confined spaces, with unrelated munitions - fired by whoever from wherever and whenever - laced with GB. But I'm happy to learn if that's wrong, so long as I'm learning. Your effort here is ambitious and intriguing. I just wanted to make sure you know the context, that it could be all hypothetical, and neither the claim of rocket-borne Sarin nor my particular alternative theory are set in stone. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:36, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
My modeling makes no assumptions that it actually happened as described. Only what the consequences would be if it were. I am guessing the model will show a band of several kilometres length of lethal concentrations - or at least a series of stripes of that length. It may well be that the most likley lethal zone is far larger than has been reported. For example, a single gas burst released in a 4 m/s breeze will have travelled 14.4 km in one hour! That's a seriously long way and it is likely the gas will be at lethal concentration for much of that. --Charles Wood (talk) 10:44, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The METARS show the wind speed was low at local midnight - around 2 m/s, increasing slowly to a reasonably brisk 6m/s at 3am. That's 7 km/h at midnight (a slow jogging pace) up to 21 km/h at 3am which is a long distance running speed. --Charles Wood (talk) 10:59, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Theodore Postol has done some estimation work on this in his rather strange presentation the NYT presented as part of their propaganda. See second half of the PDF. I never looked closely at this because I thought the form alone of the whole thing was quite an insult coming from an alleged M.I.T. scientist. --CE (talk) 11:38, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
The Postol paper is a good read, but immediately flawed as he uses a drawing of the missile with the wrong dimensions and then uses mostly photographs of an earlier missle, not the Ghouta ones. --Charles Wood (talk) 11:59, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Update: He also uses Ghouta photographs but it's not at all clear in many cases which are actual Ghouta and which are filched from other incidents
Reading further on his dispersal data, he seems to get it a bit more accurate, but it's obvious he is no expert in the field and he's cobbling together lots of only partially relevant reports. He claims 2500m downrange lethal zone using 2 m/s. I'll do independent analysis using my prior Gaussian Plume / Puff model methodology and see what arises, but for one thing, the wind-speed is continually rising up to 3am - the latest probable missile strike time. This increases transport distance and may increase horizontal dispersion --Charles Wood (talk) 12:11, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Another located place where alleged rocket remains were presented is around here (roughly correlating with one of the spots on the HRW map) as estimated by myself after what's shown a few minutes into this video. See context over here. --CE (talk) 12:17, 30 October 2013 (UTC)
Did not know that one, thanks. If relevant (can't play video ATM), cool spot, fits the pattern, not far. Wikimapia link says lat=33.524713&lon=36.359583 for the house with dead doves on the roof, as you pointed to it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:40, 30 October 2013 (UTC)

Geolocation of all Impact Sites ?

I've two projects in hand - one to map a theoretical maximum kill zone from the 12 alleged missiles using meteorological records and military planning zones - assuming a perfect deployment. It won't be what actually happened but it will define places people couldn't possibly have died from missile delivered gas.

I am also planning to refine and map probable launch locations based on the new shorter range estimates - i.e. 1500m to 2400m.

For both these I need precise coordinates of the impact points. A kmz version would be best, otherwise printed coordinates. Is there any source for these ? --Charles Wood (talk) 05:27, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

First, sorry, don't know what kmz means, and a printout might take a while to mail. But spot with coordinates are set in 3 cases, and should be translatable to whatever system that refers to spots on earth. Right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:56, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
Second, Our stuff is a bit of a mess, or it seems that way on my end. But I was pretty sure I collected all the locations we had in one spot, with geo coordinates. I thought it was at the rocket attack page, but no. For whatever reason at thermobaric weapons page is the only half-gathered spot I remember, covering the four seen impacts I know of. The two I could verify then: Site with inspectors is here on Google maps - app. 75 meters west, the scene filmed by rebels on GM. CE seems to have placed the rooftop scene, with footage of the surroundings to what seems to be this place - I forget where that can be found, but the spot was nearby, to the northeast. The possible dud UMLACA impact scene might even have been placed, and could be if it hasn't. By someone ambitious (hint). BTW all this could also form the start of a simple section here or on the best sub-page, for a locations section people can find and cite as a resource. Best format, the right numbers or links to give, sounds like something you'd know (hint) --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:56, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

By the way, Brown Moses has come up with a fantastic theory (as in fantasy) that the missiles were fired from the armoured vehicle depot on 6th Tishreen - despite the depot being under continual observation and intermittent mortar and infantry attack, and yet no-one noticed 12 LOUD, BRIGHT missiles being fired at 2am or at least didn't bother reporting it.

I suspect his relying on the Al Jazeera in-depth video report for the direction may have something to do with it. Though they concluded the missiles were all fired from many kilometres away from the hills behind the Presidential Palace (presumably with Assad gleefully rubbing his hands and chortling while plunging the firing handle) --Charles Wood (talk) 05:27, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

I've now generated Google Earth Coordinates in klm format. The only ones known for sure are the two UN locations. The other ones are from various published maps based on activist accounts. Both the mapping and activist accounts are suspect. Add in my error for guestimating the actual location from lower resolution maps. Feel free to get better locations

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="" xmlns:gx="" xmlns:kml="" xmlns:atom="">
	<Style id="sh_ylw-pushpin">
			<hotSpot x="20" y="2" xunits="pixels" yunits="pixels"/>
			<text><![CDATA[<font style="font-size: 11px;">
	<StyleMap id="msn_ylw-pushpin">
	<Style id="sn_ylw-pushpin">
			<hotSpot x="20" y="2" xunits="pixels" yunits="pixels"/>
			<text><![CDATA[<font style="font-size: 11px;">
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 10 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 1 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 2 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 3 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 4 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 5 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 6 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 7 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 8 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Alleged Missile Location 9 - Zamalka</description>
		<description>Missile not inspected by UN.
Missile labelled 197.
Missile had been inspected, dug up, and moved multiple times. 
See for August 23 activity - well before UN arrived.

See also signs of scorching and comment by man in video that all the grass had died. Perhaps sign of a WP round? or FAE?</description>
		<description>First missile inspected by UN</description>

Missile Identity to Location


Any information on which numbered missile came from which alleged CW splash location?

Missiles 155, 197, 38 (138?) and 165.

A four missile number also came from the Syrian Support Group - but they talked about 4x 122mm Grad missiles.

--Charles Wood (talk) 01:17, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

138 – Adra, August 5, 2013 (Published August 22, 2013)
155 is from Adra 2013-08-05 - Adra Missile It has a significantly brown stain on the payload cannister with what appear to be heavy liquid smears that were applied later or perhaps came from some denser component of the payload.--Charles Wood (talk) 11:46, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Cool add, thanks. That means we'll be missing the number from at least one of our alleged Aug. 21 rockets in that set of four. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
165 is from Zamalka 20130-08-21 in One of the rockets dropped on chemical area Zamalka and Gota 08/21/2013 The cannister central column is a much lighter shade of brown than 155 - possibly different chemical mix? No sign of brown liquid stains. --Charles Wood (talk) 12:03, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Okay, I've seen that, but ... Brown Moses may have identified this as an earlier video, re-posted as Aug. 21. Or maybe it was the above - an Adra scene. I had written it off, let the motivated double-check on that. I don't think we've placed that, but then it's not an impact site. This isn't the dud, nor I think the rooftop one. The motivated could also search the site for CE's placement video for that one, remains in situ in an apartment, which has been located and hence its rooftop too.--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
197 is from the field west of the one the U.N. investigated. I don't think they went there. The rest I remain vague on. I'm not even sure all four are from Aug. 21. In fact, I think at least one is from earlier, and I don't know if anyone has all the numbers from Aug. 21. But the number of visually verified impact sites is exactly four that I know of, and everything else is just alleged. That's not to say there weren't more than the four, but it could be that there weren't. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:17, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Why didn't they visit 197? it was only 100 metres away. That sounds very suspicious. Unless the missile had already been removed? But even then there would be ground samples available. --Charles Wood (talk) 09:32, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure they didn't. (I'm so far behind on Ghouta details, I'm cementing it as a trademark) But I think I heard that. It would be a good question, why. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
197 is from Zamalka 2013-08-21 - Zamalka Missile
Indeed. That's the very carefully-placed one. Nice singed filed three meters around it ... --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)