Talk:Alleged attack on school in Hass, October 26, 2016

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Merged pages

We have two pages on the same topic, see also here. Maloof interview (+MOD) provides a reasonable rebuke. -- Resup

I have now merged Attack on School in Haas, Idlib here. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:04, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Funny, and thanks for the moving. I think you hadn't started this when I decided to, but it took a while to gather stuff and I didn't check back. :) --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:24, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Considering the Possibilities

I think we can rule out accident, and lay out these basic possibilities

  1. The school was functioning as a school and was bombed by Syrian or Russian forces (opp/hostile gov. narrative)
  2. The school was functioning as a school and was bombed/attacked by opposition or supportive forces, to make Syria or Russia look bad
  3. Same as above but The school was empty or otherwise not in use as a school
  4. The school was was being used as a militant base and was bombed by Syrian or Russian forces

Could these bombs be surface fired, if from very close, and rigged to deploy a parachute along the way. I suppose so, but otherwise, this does seem like jet strike. Jet sounds are not evident, that I noticed yet, parachute = time to be gone, besides altitude issues, and in some areas heavy gunfire cluttering the sound field. (shooting at the jets? pretending to? masking any possible sound of surface rocket being fired from fairly nearby?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Option 2: The children's art along the walls is western-inspired cartoon niceness, not baby scribbles but older kids, with no sign of Islamist teaching yet. (the graffiti on the blasted front wall, however, is different, mixed, unclear, perhaps Islamist) That argues against this being a currently-used school in an Islamist-run area. But only so strongly - I don't know the real details. Maybe some schools defy the Islamist edicts ... and then get bombed by "the regime." ? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Reuters via Yahoo News: "A report on Syrian state TV quoted a military source as saying a number of militants had been killed when their positions were targeted in Haas, but made no mention of a school."

This makes me wonder if these are jet strikes and it's option 4. They didn'y mention a school, but perhaps they bombed militants based in the school, and killed some. There seems to be no other news, reports or images of attacks in Haas, other than the school area (not that rebels would show us anything to contradict their story) If so, they had some dead kids and adults lined up mangled, to be found, pretty soon thereafter (see videos, Twitter, front page, and note the locale of that grisly find is not clear - possibly at one of the schools or not). As noted above, we see signs of non-Islamist education here, arguing against its current use. We see some school desks neatly lined up inside, like there never was a bomb (that is, likely set up after the bomb), or in another room, piled perhaps too much, like it was already a junk room. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:51, 2 November 2016 (UTC)


Shadows/Time of day

  • This video. Starts running when shadow-to height is about 1.17:1. Arrives around (0:50 into video) at shadow-to height is about 1.37:1. when we see children (around 3:45 video time stamp), shadow-to height is about 0.89:1 (short shadows). ( Actually, shadows shorter than height are not supposed to happen there at all , calc gives 1:13 to 1 as the shortest, at about 12:00 pm (UTC + 3, local time, as of 26 October; Summer savings time ended on 27 Oct) (Not done very carefully, from screen) --Resup (talk) 14:43, 28 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Resup. I's less versed with solar altitude, this might be helpful. But you're suggesting it was a different time of the year, clearly an inserted scene if so. That scene isn't obviously tied to this by content. But it adds to the children/school aspect. That would be interesting if it could be shown to be inserted. Visually, I'm not convinced - person height to shadow length ratio looks about 1:1, perhaps .9 to 1.1. Not as rigorous as it deserves... Also noting fairly warm-weather clothes, so not much earlier in the year. For now I'd bet on it being the right day. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:34, 2 November 2016 (UTC)
Notes from looking at most of the videos and photos: Azimuths seem to vary between response video, between (roughly) a bit before solar noon to a bit further after it. Scenes as the blasts are happening have south and southeast faces of buildings lit up. They say it was about 11 am, and that seems about right.

Video Locations

establishing that this is or isn't in the right time or place (scene-by-scene as needed or possible) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:10, 1 November 2016 (UTC) Northeast view: This video apparently starts right here on Wikimapia. The divider doesn't come through, or is newer (or I got it wrong? Open to challenge) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Note: left-hand blast was earlier, smoke column dissipating when right-hand blast (further west) happens.

Southwest View: The first scene in this video is filmed from SW of Haas, in neighboring Basqala (WM). (likely from this building) All foreground details line up nicely. Camera to road bend where sand meets trees to two buildings also points about exactly to the middle of the school district. This blast is a bit west of that line, either on the west side of or near that area. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:28, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

graphic: Google Earth view vs. video still - objects and lines between them correlated - white triangle is around the falling (bomb?) - blast area will be almost right below that, however far back
Haas School View SW.png

Note: Smoke from the other blast a bit east is dissipating, so this shows the second, more westerly blast. That lines up with the order in the other view (as does angle of sunlight in both cases, at least approximately) This big blast seems to involve lots of concrete dust, so some serious structural damage. I suspect the first blast was the strike at the school we've seen from different angles, with only moderate damage, and this is where that house was flattened and they have the dubious rescue video.

Attack Locations

2 Areas in the School district: These are the two damage areas in the school district. More notes forthcoming. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:10, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

Haas school location 2.png

Area 1 The southern area with yellow and orange markings, the most heavily shown school scenes are from here, with the main page photo from inside looking out. The SNHR report gives this as Hass preparatory school for girls.

Area 2 Shown by Russian drone video, in the area just to the north. The SNHR's report gives this as Martyr Kamal Qalaji primary school.

Area 3: There's one other main scene, implicitly nearby, with more collapsed buildings (as in the first 20 seconds of this video.). From various photos and video views, it seems to be north of one school building, east of the mosque, on a roughly north-south street seeming to start at the nearest southern cross street. The building details were hard to match clearly, but [ this spot on Wikimapia might be the place,] just a bit northwest of the same area. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:10, 1 November 2016 (UTC)

More looking around confirms this almost has to be the spot. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Area 4: this video at 0:40 - location is south of the mosque, apparently here, the gate belonging to that home. The place to the north just left of the intersection, is an especially good fit (see Google Earth image, 6-12-2014) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

Area 5: same video at 1:39-1:54 - From the general view and road angle, esp. at 1:54, could be this spot, if the building makes sense. Otherwise, almost has to be close by. Note distance view of the little strip mine pit (?) outside town (the larger one maybe just over a slight hill so invisible?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:07, 2 November 2016 (UTC)

All 5 areas mapped:

Haas School damage areas map.png

Scene Analysis

Haas School area 1 damage.png
Area 1: Damage seems centered near the gate in the school yard's northwest corner, taking out a small structure, some outer wall, and perhaps making a crater, besides knocking out 4 areas of wall on the main school building. (orange marks areas of notable shrapnel-type damage, and red is portions of wall completely removed - all approximate).

Area 2: Again the area near the gate in the school yard's northwest corner is what's hit. Damage seems lesser here, but includes serious damage to two structures across the street. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:42, 6 November 2016 (UTC)

Haas School area 2 damage.png

Weapon used?

About ODAB 500

This video seems to show a ODAB-500 bomb being used. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:16, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Could be, or a Western munition version of (unsure), couple of videos here (parachute) and claimed to be here. Those may be coalition's ODAB's (say bought by Saudi from Ukraine or whatever)--Resup (talk) 13:46, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Here is a video showing a Syrian Su-22 dropping a similar bomb with parachute. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:48, 13 November 2016 (UTC)

Southwest View

...continuing from above:

Another interesting thing about this scene is the lack of a clear jet sound (or is it that roar I took for wind?) and how you can see the glowing projectile as it falls, for several frames before impact. (analysis coming) It seems it was expected, and they say Allahu Akbar. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:28, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Projectile notes: I'm not sure if it's "glowing," but apparently reflecting sunlight, being shiny metal I guess - it doesn't come straight down but at a slight angle. 3-d projection isn't clear, but it seems to slant a bit left to right as it descends. That should be direction of travel, from the west-northwest. The angle is relatively steep, so nearby if surface-fired, or high up if dropped from a jet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:13, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

The fact we can see it for several frames suggests to me (no expert) it's falling relatively slow. Not sure if this can be (would a mortar-rocket hit the same terminal velocity as a drop from x,000 meters, or can altitude matter? COuld this fit better with a low-flying jet over higher, or with a surface fired projectile just falling from the top of its arc? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:13, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Without parachute, terminal velocity will be in the ballpark of 100 m/s, and it does seem to make of that order on video. Bomb with parachute, maybe 20 to 50 m/s. Knowing sizes of structures, an estimate may be tried. Depends on construction but quickly no longer depends on altitude. --Resup (talk) 14:04, 29 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, I had forgotten the parachute part/haven't caught up. It didn't seem that slow at all, and you agree? If it's visibly slow, and it's a clue, that could be why they decided to claim parachute. Not at all sure yet, just popping back in (busy weekend). --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:51, 30 October 2016 (UTC)
That was a TNT bomb, so more likely Russian than Syrian, plus the aircraft used flares which is common for RAF, and rare for SyAAF. Also, terminal velocity of a bomb is closer to 300 m/s than 100. Finally the parachute is used for low level high speed drops to retard forward velocity quickly.--Charles Wood (talk) 00:09, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Charles, why do you think it is TNT? Previous discussion mentioned ODAB -500 (Petri above); that wold be fuel air volume detonation type, it is filled with liquid piperylene C₅H₈ according to Wiki, and parachute may be for properly dispersing (for myself, unsure, ODAB videos are not too dissimilar from what's seen here) --Resup (talk) 19:04, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
TNT bombs are oxygen deficient. As a result they produce a lot of unburned carbon on detonation. This makes black smoke. In contrast C/ANFO bombs are usually oxygen excess so the smoke is light beige - though an excess of FO (fuel oil) could possibly make the smoke darker. Most (all?) thermobaric / fuel air explosions I've seen are clean burning and don't produce soot. Compare propane burning vs diesel. See video of alleged ODAB500 explosion --Charles Wood (talk) 21:33, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
Agreed that there is soot for TNT. On the video, it's nearly white when video starts, the second --raising mushroom-- is a bit darker off-white (slow drop video is now gone). So soot in low quantities would be of that dirty off-white color? Could be. TNT video, e.g. here for comparison. --Resup (talk) 23:08, 14 November 2016 (UTC)
I now realise I was confused. The lead video in this section certainly looks like an ODAB-500. I think I was talking about the Petri Link. Anyway, the lead video looks staged as hell. I'm also pretty sure that video of bombs from other times and dates and locations have been spliced into it --Charles Wood (talk) 23:31, 14 November 2016 (UTC)

Explaining the Damage

I'm skeptical of the MoD claim the drone footage shows it can't be an airstrike. I'd say it really depends what the jet was allegedly firing/dropping. There's some serious damage, lateral, that we see, and very little seen from above, no big crater. What would explain it is whatever can explain that, and whether it could be air or surface fired, or if either can be excluded. And then again, air does not equal Syria-Russia over rebel-held turf near Turkey anyway.

Presuming all damage here is from one blast, and seeing the big fireball on video, I'd suspect FAE - doesn't blow up the ground it hits, but the air around it, mainly. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:58, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Planted bodies?

I think the victims on the video are staged. Maybe executed somewhere else and dumped in the orchard. One man had his brains blown out. Most likely by a heavy machine gun. The bombs were thermobaric ODAB-500. They do not blow people's brains out. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:01, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Indeed, to the extent that might be his blood, what odd some shrapnel hit just his head out on this filed. I'd suspect execution. But as miladvisor points out, his head seems totally intact when the hat falls away - the blood might be fake, or someone else's. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:06, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

The other victim was an old woman dressed in what looks like winter clothing. Is is really that cold? The men wear T-shirts. We saw similar clothing before. In the Ghouta false-flag attack the victims supposedly died in their beds in the middle of the night at 3 am. The women were dressed the same way. Adam asked who would dress like that? He said they must be hostages who keep on to all their belongings all the time. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:01, 29 October 2016 (UTC)

Good question, but less so than in August - if she were dressed for the night before, maybe, or possibly that morning - clothing aside, she could be a prior execution victim. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:06, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

The old man they carry out - no sign of blood where his leg was injured (implicitly), not covered in dust except on his butt. It's possible they just brought him to the rubble place and set him down so they could pick him up again. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:06, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

the severed arm (graphic) seems staged, at least in being attached to a school-ish bag. Appears likely it's from somewhere else maybe a day or so ago - no blood here, all dry, possible early decay color. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:06, 30 October 2016 (UTC)

Other School Attacks

By US-Coalition, just before:RU MOD Rutskoi: At 03.35 on October 24 US Air Force tactical aircraft performed missile-and-bomb strikes on the school building in the village of Tel Kaif 14 kilometers north of Mosul. There are wounded and killed. --Resup (talk) 16:14, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

By Terrorists in Aleppo, next day:

Children were reportedly caught in the crossfire again Thursday, with state media saying at least six were killed and 15 wounded in rebel rocket attacks on the government-held west of Aleppo city.
The rocket fire hit two west Aleppo neighborhoods, with one of the attacks striking a school, said the official SANA news agency. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:28, 28 October 2016 (UTC)

Deadlier, 2 years ago: Claims that this was the deadliest school bombing in the conflict fly in the face of the ignored record, as Eva Bartlett points out here at the Duran - Akrama School Bombing in Homs, in early October, 2014, witnessed a double terrorist car bombing that killed a reported 48 students, plus teachers, guards, etc. Same basic child death toll as the Houla Massacre, barely condemned or mentioned, now forgotten by most. Other cases also cited. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:44, 30 October 2016 (UTC)