Talk:Houla, May 25: Who Was in Control?

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Video Analysis: RPG-firing rebel

Later note: The following will be / is being moved to the new page Houla: Saad Street RPG Incident Should I strike-out, delete, leave, or what? --Caustic Logic 21:47, 15 October 2012 (EST)

You could just move the whole discussion to Talk:Houla: Saad Street RPG Incident#Video Analysis: RPG-firing rebel. In fact, I just did that. -- Petri Krohn 09:52, 17 October 2012 (EST)

Hospital burning?

(moved here as it's too questioned to be on the main page (good work, CE!) I run ahead too much sometimes. I'll at least re-write it as a view since it has a time frame and some evidentiary value at least)

modified and re-inserted into the page. --CE 23:59, 10 October 2012 (EST)
Houla Taldou Burning 1.png

It was claimed by alleged witnesses "Arifah" and Anonymous (from Kafr Laha) that rebel forces set fire to the national hospital and the woods behind it. These and other claims and evidence have it that the homes in which massacres occurred, plus apparently others, and their crops of many, were burned as well. as well as the crops, and the . All this in Taldou is sure to have some smoke rising in the south of town. An opposition video from late afternoon on May 25 (app.6:30-7:00PM) (around 4:15-4:45 PM, sun roughly due west), shows that. Posted by alhoula samer, it looks southeast over the south end of town, to the giant water tower by the elevated "water company" forward Army base. In the span between, huge plumes of smoke rise from something on the same visual line with the National Hospital or the Al-Sayed crime scenes. One dense plume is pouring from a raging but unseen fire, apparently contained inside a building, and it seems to be the large one in the center that can only be the hospital (note its smaller water tower to the left - it doesn't look quite right, but all else suggest that's what it must be, and placed right).

Less visible in the still here, but evident in the video, is a lesser source of smoke, apparently a bit to the south of there. That suggests, in addition, fires in the open (crops or more likely trees). The area of filming seems to be, roughly, the building in the center here. It's eerily silent at that point but for birds, whose chirping suggests relief at the lack of previous massive noises. According to the video poster, the smoke is apparently caused by shelling, not arson, that came from the Army post he was pointing at. More massacres and fighting would occur some hours later.

Thanks, CE. Excellent save. Was surprised to see the picture and text there. Swift work. Will double-check the Main Street part tonight, your graphic, and some variations. --Caustic Logic 10:04, 11 October 2012 (EST)
Good work including the open-area smoke clues. Wherever we're looking it's a clue. Laying out the scene, I just now noticed an issue with the hills and why parts are strangely dark. Two big patches of field burnt? One is adjacent to the water company base, the other north of the tower, halfway to "Al-Shumeriyeh." What do you guys think? --Caustic Logic 00:23, 12 October 2012 (EST)

Hospital burning? Not this image, but see "sniper videos" below. --Caustic Logic 10:42, 20 October 2012 (EST)

Hospital ID/View Issues

This is crucial, and we've been slow just as I found it. (CE,Petri went out of town -has internet again, but apparently limited, and then you flaked for some reason and it's just been me and MyronM (?). Anyway, could use some other thoughts. Visibly, it's not certain. That water tower is by deduction. It looks a bit more like minaret, too small and shiny. For that matter, the army post looks a little small and strange, and the trees right behind the hospital seem pushed south, etc. And which exact unfinished buildings are in the foreground, etc. But Otherwise, I can't see what view this is aside from about what I indicated (or north/west even of there). "Al-Shumeryeh?" is visible when it pans north. The apparent closeness is nothing - illusion of no-depth always happens. Four to six "rows" of houses distant, the hospital, no problemo - fields and the canal lie in between there. But there should be a small water tower there, and instead there's a minaret, so I call illusion. Anyone else? --Caustic Logic 22:48, 9 October 2012 (EST)

I first thought that what you describe as small water tower is the minaret of the big mosque, because the actual water tower in the city comes into picture at 2:20 to the left. But after that, a bigger pin comes into sight and that could be the actual minaret. If that's the case and the water tower is "right" of the minaret, it must be filmed from a steep angle somewhere like here, at an elevated point over the city. From skimming the area, I think the thing on your screenshot is this structure, maybe telecommunication of some sort. In any case I think that the Hospital is out of sight, to the right, for the whole video and what we see burning is the military intelligence HQ. --CE 05:10, 10 October 2012 (EST)
After further attempts to line things up, I think the view at 2:26 with the minaret left of the city water tower and the antenna left of the water tower on the hill can only be seen from even further north-west, somewhere like here, already in Kafr Laha, and the building with the many windows in your screenshot is this one. I stick to my assessment that the smoke comes from somewhere near the military intelligence HQ (or even further north on main street), and that the Hospital is out of sight. --CE 11:47, 10 October 2012 (EST)
Water tower to the left, hmmm... I'll be back. --Caustic Logic 20:02, 10 October 2012 (EST)
I see what you're saying about the line-up of minaret, water tower, other thing. Would be a ways north of all three, looking close to due south. I can't line up "Al-Shumeriya?" right - it seems to look more east on it, from just a bit north. And the hill water tower would be like 3-4 km distant, or more, depending how far out you have to go to get things lined up. I don't think the tower could be seen that far, and here it looks just as big as the north city one, despite being actually a little narrower and very, very distant. So my pervious view is confused but I have a hard time with this one too. Looking again for a water tower northwest of Shumeriyeh. --Caustic Logic 20:45, 10 October 2012 (EST)
I see no reason why the tower on the hill shouldn't be seen, it's not THAT far. And that they look of equal size .. well, I think the one on the hill is a bit larger than the other one, and the perspective could play a role too, as the camera position looks up to the hill and down to the city. I think your "Shumariyeh?" is actually Nasiriyah as "Shumariyah?" is up on the hill and likely only in small part in sight. --CE 21:58, 10 October 2012 (EST)
You're right, and with enough northerly position, Al-Shumeriyeh can line up okay. I actually compared all towers, and the hospital one is too big for my original idea, but still smaller. The one in the north of town seems to be broader, if not taller, than the one on the hill. Maybe there's that smoke magnifying things effect that makes harvest moons look bigger. What building that is burning, I don't know. I didn't see any good fits on the line, unless its a ways further north. It is about hospital size, lots of windows. --Caustic Logic 22:36, 10 October 2012 (EST)
I don't think it's the building with many windows that is burning. Checked the link above? That building (IIRC a school according to the wikimapia labels) is half-way between the camera and the burning. I think burning is on main street, but one can't be sure, it could also be in the city itself behind the school. --CE 22:45, 10 October 2012 (EST)

Here is the government view from Syrian state television,

The video shows the claimed rebel attack routes to the hospital. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:41, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

cool. I had seen it once, meant to actually watch, thought I saved it, thanks for the reminder. It's been included at the Scene page. Not sure about the precision of their info, as cool as the imagery is. But it makes sense and is worth considering. No thrust from due south at all, huh? I guess it was never clear there was supposed to be. No need to get past the water co. base to attack Shumeriyeh this way. I'll need to consider it a bit more. It also helps flesh out an idea I have for a big Rebel attack video. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:05, 11 November 2012 (UTC)

I just noticed another YouTube channel of the Houla Media Office: Abu Usama Al Houla. Here ia a view of the hospital from June 10:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:38, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

A Better Perspective?

Taldou burning perspective.jpg

The perspective I determined after some experimentation. Red is the view at 2:26, with the minaret, the city tower, the antenna and the right border of view with the water tower. Yellow is the view at 0:26 with the right border guessed by the hill view and the left border according to the antenna. --CE 22:54, 10 October 2012 (EST)

Not as excited by the issue now, but I imagine you're right and should check the work and see it. After some sleep. It might not have to be that far north even. Gah, why did I not just keep watching and notice the water tower? --Caustic Logic 23:26, 10 October 2012 (EST)
Oh, and hope you don't mind the section bump. --Caustic Logic 23:28, 10 October 2012 (EST)
It's still a great video and the timing fits with this being the military intelligence HQ burning - also interesting the explosion or what it is at the water tower on the hill half-way into the video. --CE 23:34, 10 October 2012 (EST)
Until I check, no word if military HQ is it. The smoke looks closer, like at the big unidentified building, but that might mean nothing - lots of things look closer than they are here. being north also puts the time later. That's why I'll update that eventually. No set time, yet, but the sun's coming from somewhat near behind the camera. If he's further north than I though, so is the sun. North of due west means nearer sunset, maybe 6:30-7:00 PM or even later. --Caustic Logic 20:59, 11 October 2012 (EST)
Looking forward to your closer look then. My analysis is just "good-enough" to say it's likely not the hospital and locate the area where it was shot from, and i'm not good with reading the sun. --CE 21:41, 11 October 2012 (EST)
Taldou Burning LoS Study.png

ETA: This is worth pulling out an old trick from even nerdier days - FOV division and lines-of-sight comparison for all visible objects - middle of view, four quadrants, angled lines outfrom different centers, along this line, this and this line up, this is just left of the line we should see a small outbuilding, etc. I've been trying that, but not organized enough. The water tower ID can't do it, so everything else might have to work together. --Caustic Logic 22:53, 9 October 2012 (EST)

And CE did it first... --Caustic Logic 23:28, 10 October 2012 (EST)
no panic, my attention was just distracted by Venezuela for a day or two. Am at work now, will take a look at this this evening (while you are sleeping) and add Arifah n stuff to the attack narrative. --CE 22:58, 9 October 2012 (EST)
Wasn't any panic, just. A little frantic, as usual, maybe. Good adds. This will be the powerful page. Present organization may not last but it works as a starter at least and some room to grow.--Caustic Logic 23:43, 9 October 2012 (EST)
Oh yeah and unaware of all developments and details, and at the risk of alienating potential contributors, go Hugo! --Caustic Logic 23:45, 9 October 2012 (EST)
He already did. :oD Forgot to say - great job with this page so far! --CE 00:00, 10 October 2012 (EST)

Just an FYI, it's taking a while, but getting all objects onto same/similar seven lines is suggesting something less distant and a bit further west than you mapped. Graphics forthcoming, at least halfway there. --Caustic Logic 10:16, 12 October 2012 (EST)

Inset picture added. Your red and yellow lines, two anyway, were traced in behind for comparison. Trying to keep each line the right distance from each other (note the three "checks" along the way, same proportions, compared at three spots. Not perfect or totally precise, but it explains the two buildings lining up on the light blue, the tall building between the greens, etc. I think tracing back this line until they converge would give us our location. Military intel HQ does seem to be about on or a hair south of the purple line, like the smoke here is, and so is the likely source of the smoke. Or something closer, on the same line. Good call. --Caustic Logic 15:02, 15 October 2012 (EST)
Ah yes, the two "light blue" buildings kind of line up, good orientation point. Thinking about it, the scene of the RPG incident is quite exactly closer on that line if you located it correctly (which I assume). --CE 20:55, 15 October 2012 (EST)
Actually, that's one of the points I had a hard time with, and still not sure it's quite right. It's a point where a different reading might work. But all in all, line spacing, all major pivots, overall angle, seems to fit pretty well. The tall building between the green lines all but clinches it for me, with a little ambiguity on the right side of the view. --Caustic Logic 10:40, 20 October 2012 (EST)

Arabad bin Sarieh battalion

I have redirected May 25 rebel attack in Taldou to Houla, May 25: Who Was in Control?#A Rebel Attack on Taldou. The talk page is however still there. I am moving this one topic here to give it more visibility. -- Petri Krohn 09:11, 13 October 2012 (EST)
Taldou figters ride Taliban.jpg

Here is an important clue from TIME magazine:

Syrian soldiers who defected to join the Free Syrian Army and set up the Arabad bin Sarieh battalion join a protest against Syrian President Bashar Assad in the town of Hula, near the city of Homs, on Feb. 3, 2012

The article uses a photo from an event also depicted in this photo as well as in a rebel video.

Doing a Google image search on the image gives s large number of pages, most of them in Arabic, some possibly containing more clues.

Here is another photo from the same Reuters feed:

More of the same:

Demonstrations in support of Brigade:

-- Petri Krohn 09:03, 8 October 2012 (EST) –– updated 03:01, 18 October 2012 (EST)

Attack on clock tower and Baath Party HQ

The Brigade channel has two videos that show the distraction attack in the Baath Party HQ and the clock tower checkpoint. The shoots are fired next to the bridge just north of the HQ. -- Petri Krohn 13:04, 17 October 2012 (EST)

Here is one more video of distraction attack in the Baath Party HQ. This time one rebel firing a machine gun is hit and is taken away.

2nd and thrid videos are actually the same. The spot is the same you found (below), centered slightly better here, in the alley marked by the white line running along the 8:00 line from that tree. Do we know which building exactly is Baath party HQ? If so, it would be worth a graphic. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:44, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
The location is this alley next to the bridge. http://goo.gl/maps/FEXEw Note the tree by the bridge. MediaInfo is useless in this case, but I believe this is from May 25th. 1) The action corresponds to other descriptions of the fake attack. 2) This action is labeled as "liberation of Freedom Circle". I believe the clock tower was "liberated" only once.
You are right that the action does not look too professional. The same Brigade channel also has videos of highly professional snipers inside buildings. i am still analyzing them to see if I can say anything of those locations. -- Petri Krohn 09:30, 18 October 2012 (EST)
This is good. The action and time match with May 25. We have a rebel gunner downed by live fire, corroboration of "Arifah" and others, and shadows to look at. Petri, I know you prefer altitude to azimuth, but I'm not sure of the building height, etc. And I like doing it on maps. One question I'm not sure of is how far from the north wall does the building's shadow stretch? And how far from the east wall? I see a range of 3.5-4 feet north vs. 6-8 feet east, or anywhere from a 2:3 ratio to a 1:2 or higher. Mapping out those ratios against a model corner, rotating and shrinking that onto the map, gives me angles to the sun of 212 deg for video 1, 232 degrees for the other (all rough). Both lines run near parallel to the low wall along the canal. Good test -the visibleface of it is shadedin the first video, no direct sunlight. It's half-lit in the latter, as the line swept just westof parallel and it starts catching the rays. Reasonably confirmed. NOAA calculator gives a time for 212 as 1:06 PM, with 232 hit at 1:40 PM. There are the time zone issues, some sources saying GMT+3, others +2, neighbors at +2. But "Arifah" et. al. would be citing official time, whichever that is (GMT +3, I believe, and used for the calcs). In fact, otherwise, wouldn't the time be 12:05-12:40? That's way off when we've been hearing around 1/1:15-2PM. So - do we have an approximate distraction attack time? Start no later than 1:00 to 1:10? 12:55-1:20? Etc.? And the rebel was shot back about 25-40 minutes later? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:15, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
Or rather, let me back up. Got a little confused there. The shadow proportions, read roughly, and visibly about the same in both videos, suggest a time between about 1:06 and 1:40, or 1:00-1:45, and being a range, somewhere nearer the middle is more likely - 1:10-1:30. It might not seem like a terribly sound method, but the lines - 212 low end, 232 high end, come out nearly parallel to that low wall, which the sun's rays had to be; we can see the wall not quite catching sun and then catching it partly. We can be sure which video is first by the fact that the gunner hasn't been shot yet, and by that lighting change on the wall. But we don't know how much time was in-between - all else suggests the difference was not great. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:29, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Related videos

Searching for the title produces several other videos, possible from the same battle – I presume on May 25th. (Liberating Freedom Square / Circle in Taldou seems to be the keyword.) Also see this remix.

  • The battle to liberate Freedom Circle in Tldo
    Published on Jun 29, 2012 by almrsd alsori, 11 minutes, 52 seconds.
    Battalion Arabad bin valid in conjunction with the confidentiality of the martyr Abu Omar in the battle to liberate Freedom Circle in Tldo in mid-June / Ewenio 2012

The video combines several pieces of footage, some from Main Street. Did this battle happen in mid-June, or was the video compiled to honor the martyr Abu Omar (RPG guy on Main Street) who died in mid-June?

"the martyr Abu Omar (RPG guy on Main Street) who died in mid-June?" ?? Interesting. Please explain. Maybe at the talk page for that scene, if you have a solid connection. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:44, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Satto Road (right) as described by rebel defector

Another version of the video, with less descriptions was publisher by the Arabad bin Sarieh battalion on June 27th:

Great work Petri, have to catch up. Started with this one - it's actually one continuous scene, they are running from their original barricade to main street (starting at around 4:20 in). Should be possible to identify those places. But the date remains a problem, as with the other vids. --CE 22:32, 20 October 2012 (EST)
True, but as Petri notes, wherever it says "battle to liberate freedom circle,"May 25 is suggested. Tough the "circle" with its fake clock tower doesn't seem to have seen any battle itself, just required a wide swathe of freedom around it to the south, apparently. --Caustic Logic 22:56, 20 October 2012 (EST)
Freedom Circle is the real clock tower. The fake is on Revolution / Martyrs' Square. (I do not really know what they call it, but the hoax called it "Town Square".) -- Petri Krohn 03:15, 21 October 2012 (EST)
Yes, it's likely our battle, but we can't be sure. I took a look at possible locations and am quite positive that the barricade is here and they are shooting west, down the defectors "Satto Road". Then they run a couple of meters south and turn west in front of the white building, crossing the open space south-west and then make it west through the back alley to main street. Al-Hassan clan. --CE 23:03, 20 October 2012 (EST)
Yes! You are correct! The barricade is on street 240E ("Satto Road"), 90 meters east of Main Street. The rebels shoot west, at the intersection on Main Street. At first I had trouble understanding the directions, it is past 6 pm – the sun is shining on the northern face of buildings. The rebels then run to alley 285E and shoot an RPG southwards on Main Street. In the end they again change position and seem to be running south along some alley. -- Petri Krohn 05:16, 21 October 2012 (EST)
Had a quick look and I think I agree with the location they emerge on Main. The route there, other details ... Tomorrow night I get serious about these videos, place one of my own, or something. Just been sidetracked and this deserves full attention. --Caustic Logic 20:20, 21 October 2012 (EST)
Again, it would be vital to date this to May 25th. The title helps: "liberation of Freedom Circle", known to have happened on May 25th. What is fascinating is how well the video corroborates the story told by the rebel defector. -- Petri Krohn 20:35, 21 October 2012 (EST)
In my third point over there I already noted that your videos should be checked if they match the place - and I did so with some shorter videos, but without the running sequence wasn't able to pin it down with certainty. What's with the other vids of the guy firing the RPG and people shooting down south, any of them dated earlier? --CE 20:41, 21 October 2012 (EST)
The videos started coming out in late June. There is no technical way of attaching an earlier date to the videos. -- Petri Krohn 20:45, 21 October 2012 (EST)
Note to self and others: This string cut by wikinet's disappearance is worth to get incorporated. --CE (talk) 05:29, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Two older videos are related. Both published on Apr 23, 2012 by ALHula:

Very cool, thanks for adding these. (quick note, I'm booked today after flaking a bit yesterday, so it's good to see someone else working here) I watched one, the first one in that last batch ... pretty boring in itself, but likely placeable, and possibly raw. This is supposed to be May 25, or later, I wonder? You'll have to update if MediaInfo gives a useable time. I added from the sidebar a related video, same guys moving forward, better action and scenery/rout of attack clues. These aren't the main force, either, clearly. They have not one vehicle or heavy machine gun, and no mortars I noticed. Ism it sanitized, a prop group to show how weak they are? Or just one small unit with one small task among many? --Caustic Logic 06:57, 18 October 2012 (EST)
Noticed Apr 23 date later... --Caustic Logic 22:56, 20 October 2012 (EST)

Sniper videos

Here is a list of sniper videos:

The sniper position could be this building seen across the street on main street:

Update: In fact it is the same building. compare the door and window to the balcony: 2s43s – I already commented here on the position of this alley on Main Street. Also note the sandbag positions on the roof of the building to the north.
Continued: No, this is not one of the two alleys I located earlier. It is 720E, just south of security HQ.
Houla Hospital Burning 720E.png
Agreed. Man, a little slow to build up steam here... The right (north) face of the building across the way has a third floor, while the left (south) majority of the building doesn't. All else matches. Looking southwest, lining things up (near building corners, the big tree, the smoke), the big tree must be from the big orchard down there, and the smoke seems to be further yet. It's on a line to match the woods behind the hospital, or pretty damn close, and not the hospital itself. I tend to think that's it, in fact. Will be worth a graphic then. That took part of the time. Middle line, very corner of the near building to the smoke = to the row of trees behind the hospital. :) --Caustic Logic 22:49, 19 October 2012 (EST)
It would be of huge importance if we could show that this video is from May 25th. The fire (or firing?) in the distance could help establish the date. -- Petri Krohn 13:55, 20 October 2012 (EST)
I'm not sure there's a way to be totally sure. The sense of actual fighting leaves only so many days it could be (number unknown). It isn't likely any earlier than May 25, but possibly later. The fire being at the hospital would be a good clue of the day, or vice-versa, but best not to let those two lean on each other when neither is certain. BTW I'm still lagging and may 'til Sunday night. I've been stuck trying to stabilize the background of the Saad Street RPG incident video. Next, maybe I'll scrap the video altogether and manually shift around the relevant majority of 300 some frames... then render, lighten/sharpen/zoom and crop. Any better ideas? I really want that perp stabilized and clarified. We can't see who he is, just what he does. Starts out falling on his ass, for one.--Caustic Logic 22:19, 20 October 2012 (EST)
This video may be from the same building (staircase), but most likely from a later date. It shows the same actors as this set of Facebook photos.

School:

-- Petri Krohn 11:57, 18 October 2012 (EST)

Hasn't the school ben identified, or the location of a building described as one? There was also talk of an Air Force college, from which direction "the regime" was firing. Sorry, no details to help with at the moment, but if anyone else has them handy, would be good to know what "school" means.
The school is 950W on Main Street with an extension in the back. -- Petri Krohn 02:42, 21 October 2012 (EST)

Here is a south-facing sniper position, that has had its walls blown off. Can we identify the spot?

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:56, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Nope. Not likely anyway. Looks like many roof-level views around there. Could be this one I can place by view as south Saad street, a ways back. This looks familiar too - correlations, if possible, await. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:51, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Abdulrazzaq family (A-2) uncorroborated
I found the red house on the 1.10.2012 video. It is off Saad street at address 1330W+100 – meaning 1332 meters south of the Kafr Laha Road and 105 meters west from the street, the fifth house in the row. It is notable for being one of the few buildings with the staircase on the eastern side. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:21, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
P.S. – Incidentally it also the same house marked as Abdulrazzaq family (A-2) uncorroborated on this image. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:45, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Incorporating the videos

Petri, you've added much I'm only starting to nibble on. I'm thinking how to incorporate it. And also, before I forget, I didn't mean to sideline the rebel attack page. I think we can have many pages, and there's enough detail by far, especially with the videos, that it deserves one. This page should have, in the end, a good summary with all major points and most sources, but less explanation and images. Plus rebel narrative, base details, etc. - it'll be a big enough page. The other could have more detail. In fact, I thought I did link to the "Main article" here. Maybe I'll let you if you agree with that approach.

Okay, on these videos. There should be a section on both front pages for rebel videos of the rebel attack. Some ambiguity on date, if noted, is fine. If it's likely part, it should be noted. I think they're fascinating. More detailed thoughts on organization after a bit. --Caustic Logic 20:55, 19 October 2012 (EST)

Here should work. Excellent Houla playlist, Petri. Haven't been consulting it enough. Here's a view given as May 25, "the moment of shelling," but clearly a bit after. running up to a smoking home standing kind of alone up a gravel road, tree-covered hills and mountains in the distance. It almost doesn't look like Houla. But if it is, we need to find out where, get a rough time, and note the hell out of it.No guess now, just noting for others or for myself later (soon), lest I forget. (was looking for the re-visiting damaged homes videos, did not re-locate the mother lode) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:59, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
My guess would be that it's up on the mountain with the big water tower, but very hard to say as it's so short. Clicked some related videos and ended up on the "AlHula" channel which at least I haven't harvested before. Have we seen this scene with the UN observers before? From May 27, maybe on Saad road or further up north-west, nothing really noteworthy ... but isn't the guy in the khaki uniform our "UN Jihad Raslan"? --CE (talk) 18:16, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
New to me. In the fields -body recovery? No, holding kids. Fleeing something? Yes, or playing like that. The guy at 0:25 not Jihad. At 1:30 maybe. but looks too young/dumb/hairy by a couple of degrees. Is that a kitten persistently squeaking, or a bird, or a creaking sign? Exact location would take a little more panning around, but that's the forward army base at 2:35, pretty sure, on a hill that looks unexpectedly small. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:50, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
The guy you can see the back of for five seconds starting at 1:55, prominent throughout the video and really trying to get the UN's attention during the end of the video. I will be back next week with more than failing-to-catch-up. --CE (talk) 23:54, 8 November 2012 (UTC)
No, that's the first guy I mentioned, I think, that looks almost nothing like Jihad. Older, nerdier, paunchier, different stars and stuff. He seems to have their attention and be sort of in charge here. He's a person of interest. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:12, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
We also see another guy's back then, maybe who you meant, and I think the other one I dismissed. Anyway, I don't think Jihad is in there. But I think I have a location. Road and buildings 1:03, 2:17 looking south - panning west, woods and gash 2:20, fields/groves and homes, base and water tower 2:30 looking SW. On a paved road, in front of buildings, It seems they brought the monitors to the Abdulrazaq crime scenes after all, or that area. People are crossing those daunting fields on foot, no real sign here of that problematic canal but for some greener grass and likely softer ground. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:49, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Back to the mystery video of May 25. A mountain in the background could mean different views. It could be a E-SE view over this space to Dahr Alksair forest and, I suppose, mountain. Or S-SE to the mountains over the border in Lebanon. (40 km +, no prob, compared Spokane Mt. to my view downtown, and it looks clearer than that, 35-40 km) The sun seems slightly low, mid-late afternoon, behind the house, so looking either direction makes some sense, but more so looking east (?). Knowing where the higher peaks south are would help-they extend a little east as well as south - perhaps Qurnat al-Sawda image. Anyway, some unseen span, a nearer ridge with some buildings, then whichever peak in the distance, looking Southeast-ish. Being apparently on high ground itself, over near the water company/base and tower makes the most sense, perhaps Al-Shumeriyeh area. Hmmm... --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:12, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Looked more and didn't find a fit. What I see is a pave road running somewhat N-S, a gravel road crossing at an angle, running about the direction to the mountain. Left,a large tree and a building, right, a telephone pole. The only thing over there I saw fitting that profile was the forward base itself, approached from behind somehow, other than the building to the left not being there and the tree not being clear as usual--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:23, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
The satellite dishes indicate the camera is facing north-east or south-east. The shadows suggest south. Would make this something south-east. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:06, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Dishes tend to point - a certain way? I've never noticed/heard/though about that but it makes sense. And it's something east? That goes towards the mountain being the local one and not the one in Lebanon, and it being later in the day. Should be solid afternoon before homes are targeted. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:38, 9 November 2012 (UTC)
Satellite dishes always point south, toward the equator, or more precisely the geostationary orbit at 35,786 kilometers above it. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:28, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Seems he's facing almost into the sun, which I'd say is almost due west. The dish seems askew, facing presumably away, and a bit more south, but perhaps also facing a bit west of south. The nearest peak is a ways W-SW. I still can't place it, but the outskirts might have a fit. Though I searched them too and didn't find it. What I think is something just like the gravel road behind the base and its back building, same SW meeting a north-south main road arrangement, building across that road SW, but with another building and a tree at the left, and power lines cutting diagonally left/behind to right-ahead at about the same point. Or that same scene rotated to whatever cardinal directions prove best. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:58, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

Came back to the mystery video. One spot did stick out for me before, but it didn't stick, I guess because it's not in Taldou. I don't know the topography here, but the cardinal clues are all there-along with two extra buildings to the right of the candidate. However, the matches - gravel onto paved roads (not the exact angle I thought, but ...), facing the right way so the mountains still line up, power pole line at the right angle, trees and a building on the left, fields on the right, a wall hugging the building ahead, trees right of center inside, something reflective outside it, right of center. Dishes maybe visible in sat, antenna too maybe? Not visible in video. The mid-background could match, except the taller building behind the center building, same line. The skeleton building could be the one E-NE - It's eerie how similar it is and how few other matches come close. Is the surrounding buildings issue workable somehow? Because this site is at the southern end of Fulla, where the Alawite attackers allegedly came from, just one mile from the nearest Abdul Razaq massacre site. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:45, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Monther Hrfosh videos

I am looking through Monther Hrfosh videos from the week of May 25th. This one is particularly interesting:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:27, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

This is the next video on the channel, also published May 25th.

The shadows show it is around noon, maybe exactly. There is constant fighting in the background, not artillery, but small arms fire. Using the same address convention as for Main Street, Suleiman is standing in front of building 230N on the road going west from the clock tower. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:00, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Cool find, Should be included. I'll watch closer later. It's Friday! --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:48, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Hula targeting the hospital

Another important video:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:10, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

Nice regime shelling from their hilltop position. One guy, RPG launcher, looks like. 0:33. Just like on Saad Street but up there between the base and al-Shumeriyeh - hilltop "shelling"perp is stationed here. View at 0:10, S. Saad again, due west to WNW over this space, and that's the back of the hospital we see. Trees burnt? Smoke is faint, if any. It's right around sunset, just like the other video. Is it mis-dated? Something else is burning, up north, NNW. Near in-line with the mosque, might be about where the RPG guy over there was. It's burning for real, flames are visible. Not any of the known checkpoints or massacre sites. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:14, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
The guy we can see might give a hand signal, but the one that fires is apparently just off-frame to the left/north, and firing south along the cliff edge in the direction of the army outpost. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:27, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
Revised: That can't be the hospital. The title mentions one, but that isn't on fire nor is there a water tower I can see. I'm making a video and will include this in the southern front section. Firing on the base suggests the Army still held it as of Sunset, contradicting what "Arifah" said. Unless they had already re-taken it. And also, I'll revisit the possibility the mystery video of a burning building actually is the back structure of the base. The visual parallels keep bugging me. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:46, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and I'm trying to set the time on this. The south sides of buildings are dark, north sides not visible. The buildings in the foreground at the beginning - is that Saad Street? If so, the illuminated face isn't west but W-NW. The mosque's dome-I don't think we're seeing the brightest part of its reflection. Low, orange light. Trees and rocks on the slop have shadows on the south side. So it's comfortably after due west light around 4:30, closer to sunset at 7:35. Is app. 7 PM too late to say? 6:30? Any good guesses on the distinctive buildings seen at 0:08 and 0:10? The first could give us an exact time if we could define the angle of that reflective surface. And exactly where it's filmed from. So maybe not.--Caustic Logic (talk) 02:56, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Location?

I know the buildings at 0:10 because I've just seen them from the other side up on the mountain (see the "connecting the dots talk page"). Here is the "right" one on top of the hill (with the wall around it) and "left to it is the unfinished three-stories building to the north. Combined with the line-up of the buildings more down the hill (not sure which one the illuminated one at 0:08 is) and the way mosque dome and minaret line up in the beginning, I think HE is very close to the hospital, maybe here a bit leveled-up. If so, he's filming steep up NNW and what's burning is again the military intelligence HQ. --CE (talk) 03:24, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
The distinctive buildings on top of "the cliff" from up on the mountain here. --CE (talk) 03:40, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, was referring to foreground buildings. At 0:10, what I thought might be the hospital but isn't. At 0:08 the one reflecting all the sunlight back to the camera, with the odd pillars on the west side. So you're seeing from the other side of the hospital, just below the base? I see how that could line up (the one at the start, another roof at 0:06). But too many building and trees nearby, I think. And the view north to the mosque seems wrong, and a bit too near. My thinking on position was on Saad, but further north. It could be he mentions the hospital cause he's there, maybe on the water tower. Hmmm... just thinking there. Positions further east make it earlier in the day too, maybe too early for that kind of light. More thinking later - next some other things, THEN look at your new interesting finds. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:47, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
Building at 0:08 might be this one. Right shape, a low wall, prongs in back. Filming loc then would be across the street a bit south, or on that line, North of the tall building, because it pans a bit right/south without seeing it. How the rest fits, dunno. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:32, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
I think this is it. He stops panning south because the tall building blocks his view from there - helps set it. Building at 0:10 would be this one, seen through the northeast corner of that row of trees. (??) The building at the beginning would be the one in the middle of that orchard there north of the building cluster he must be filming from, in turn just north of the hospital. To quote the CoI, amplified since this is an opposition video: "The area around the hospital was in government hands throughout, so it is unclear when and how she was able to reach the given location given the circumstances of the day" He doesn't show us any smoke, however, when it should be blowing right over him there (northeast prevailing, it seems) --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:51, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
No,no, no... none of this lines up either. ?? If I'm even halfway reading the Shumeriyeh buildings right, the camera must be further south, screwing with the perfect building match... that town confuses me, what a headache. I'm calling it a day for the issue. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:04, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
House 1330W+100 on Saad Street
My best guess so far is that this is shot just before sunset from the balcony of 1330W+100 on Saad Street, also known as massacre site Abdulrazzaq family (A-2) uncorroborated. The "shelling" we see could be the very same explosions seen in the Saad Street RPG Incident‎. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:07, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
The building at 0:08 could be house 1330W+250 off Saad Street. The video would be shot in the orchard behind the houses. Interestingly, we see the sun mirrored in the glass door to the roof. We should be able to calculate the exact time based on the azimuth. (The altitude is a few degrees above horizon, so we know it is a few minutes before sunset.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:04, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
The cameraman may be standing on this water reservoir: http://goo.gl/maps/omKbV -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:36, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
My calculations say the reflected sun is at 314 degrees. This would be past sunset at 296 degrees / 7:38 pm. Does not quite sum up. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:06, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
I though S. Saad at first, but the problem there, including the line you suggest to Shumeriyeh, is it should see the smoking hospital, or it's smoke (northeast wind), right in the middle but doesn't. Just north or near the hospital can explain it. The smoke is all above the cameraman's head and or less obvious from the inside like clouds tend to be. I'm not sure which house that is, but I'm looking on the line to Shumeriyeh for anything similar that's not clear on the other side of Main (or can that come through so clear that far? I don't think so).
I see one line of sight I am 100% sure about: the southern wall of southernmost building in Shumeriyeh lines up with the southernmost of the nine rows of trees in the orchard below it. I am also quite confident about the building at 0:08; I can see the distinctive roof line on some of the Google Earth views. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:06, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
"1330W+250" Can you give me a Google Maps link, centered on it? And be sure to check the match I found-it's pretty perfect. It needs that shape and orientation, a wall about like that, and two columns/prongs on the west end. And huge windows between we won't be able to see. Azimuth there should be app. 280-290. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:24, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
You are off by a mile - or 2.619 feet to be exact. Here is Saad 1330W+250: http://goo.gl/maps/D2gfN – And get yourself Google Earth! – P.S. – You can also see the building in the top left corner of File:Houla AbdulRazaq Crime Scene 1.png. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:42, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
300

:Okay, same conversation, less indent. This remains confusing. As I look, things fall together, but in two distinct ways that has me wondering someone messed with this video to make it confusing. First, the compelling building match I didn't think I'd make and I now have a hard time letting go. I finally looked it up, the building at 1040E on Main Street, I believe. It's walled. Here's the visual (inset). None of those in the area you showed have these characteristics. Even the big door in the side, all matches, with some uncertainty on the trees in and outside the walls. I measured the proportions, and it's about exactly 1:2. Then I checked how much of the FoV each side fills as seen on video. Just about equal. Too complex to explain, but the big image below shows the box I made to explain that with an angle of view. 246 degrees, a good fit with the two buildings, the top of a burning tree, maybe the hospital itself, far corner, or further back with no smoke visible somehow. Implied azimuth: 294.

Awesome fit, but we must be further back, because this foreground view doesn't line up with the backdrop. Except it sort of does. I tried closer to match Shumeriyeh buildings in line with each other. Ignore the 228 line, it was already flattened but I didn't line up the right corners like with the blue. That one, done better, comes out making sense, explaining the last (closest) foreground buildings before nothing, but leaving the fields between at angles I haven't resolved. And it measures 245 degrees, same basic angle of view, but from here pointing way too far south to see the building 1040E at all. Now ... How far back must we trace the 246 and the 245 until they merge on the filming spot? They don't. They'll diverge, or if I'm off a bit, they'll remain parallel, or slowly merge miles out. It makes no sense. So what am I missing? Must be improper building correlation caused by confusion over depth/rise, etc.? CE seems to have been seeing about the same way though, right? And I see no good replacements for 1040E down there.

Taldou 246 Angle.png

And if we're pulling further back to allow these lines to merge, we would clearly see the tall 4-story building not far south/right of this 1040E. But we don't. I also can't find any confirmation it was there on May 25/26. The Thomson video cuts too early, but I don't see it peeking up behind the trees. Might it have been torn down for some reason by then?

One more note: at 1:06 as he pans up -why? We see a building top, and on the same line, higher yet, the top of a smoke cloud? Is he trying to avoid showing us the burning intel HQ? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:08, 12 November 2012 (UTC) and edits --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:31, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I already responded here: File talk:Taldou 246 Angle.png#Lines of view. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:44, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
The most important thing is this. this video is shot dead center at the Abdul Razaq massacre time exactly at the alleged time of the massacre! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:58, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Untwisted angle.jpg
Petri is right, you confused the buildings. Wrong skeleton n stuff. Review the mountain expedition video to locate the "cliff". It's roughly like that. --CE (talk) 13:35, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
As to the reflecting building - when you follow your line 246 to the edge of the hospital and go a bit NNW, there's a single building at the "lake". Got myself Google Earth - it's brand-new/unfinished (not there in late 2010), just like the "reflecting one" seems to be. If Petri is right as to the camera position west of Saad, this could be a candidate, with the reflecting window facing the lake. Google Earth is awesome, btw, and gave me the explanation for the many skeleton buildings - Taldou has seen amazing growth over the last 10 years. The whole "Tripoli Road" was built around 2004, and that Abdul Razak alley had less than half of the buildings in 2003. The little "sight-seeing pavilion" at it's western end was erected after 2010. --CE (talk) 14:10, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Off topic – Good observation! Didn't Assad steal from his people and let them live in poverty? Or was it al-Gaddafi? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:12, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I have it on "good authority" that the Colonel was wealthier - inflation-adjusted - than Ford and Vanderbilt and just a bit behind William the Conquerer!!!!!!1 *rolleyes* ;o) --CE (talk) 18:07, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
This building? About the right shape and orientation, but no wall around, and no columns sticking up west end, and apparently just one story with no big door off-center on the south side. It is almost on the same line, however, as the better fit. The yellow line extends to the 2nd to last house, north side, on that alley. It could be filmed from there, OR the hospital area, both problematic places for rebels to be fiulming. BTW, if my reading was right AND the tall building is gone, the next place over, obscured by trees, should be the Muwaiya Al-Sayed home, and it seems to have a puff of smoke coming out at 7:30. Interesting possibility. If I read the background wrong, then maybe that's it. Will map it out tonight. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:03, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
It is not a house but the top floor of the stairwell on a castellated roof. Many buildings in Houla have similar roofs. See this house on alley Saad 1525W. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:16, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
That's the building, yes. In what you located on the images, I think the problem is that there is a "big door" (or shadow) on the south side, while the reflecting facade is IMHO on the west side and the building in question has no large opening on the south side. Being as single as it stands, it would explain why no neighbour buildings appear - could be an elevated position above the lake ... the topology is really complex. --CE (talk) 00:26, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I just don't see the match. Again, one story (right?) vs. two, no wall around, no columns on the west end corners. Quite unique features. The door/shadow thing is clearly different in the images, that could be the problem, but both spots are off center about the same, so... and it's not alone. At 0:07can be seen another, lower building quite next to it, perhaps inside the same wall with it. it's mainly that the tall building would have to be missing. That's a problem that makes this seem a silly PoV. Other possibleline-ups suggest a different view anyway with no good matches. See 0:25, might be this place,lining up between the shooter's intersection and ... the hospital front gate, or so. (??) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:28, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Is the Tall building missing? I checked a few videos that look on the south side.
  • UNSMIS, May 26: Fimed from the gap between these buildings dead-centered here. Looking south on the east side, 3:29-3:32 we see the extending wall, the small tree before that small home, and one skeleton or another, looking quite a bit shorter than that water tower. (also note, 3:32-tower, likely antenna nestled in with the trees behind the hospital - only without any trees!)
  • Houla South Views.png
    Alex Thomson May 27: At the first moments of footgae, we see the trees in front of the Sayed home by the hospital, and that the skeleton of the northern part of that block is taller now. Three stories, looks like. Note shadow of trees falls across road, no 4-story shadow after. Note the extra spindly treetop in there, upper right.
  • UNSMIS May 27: 3:06 see small home, tree outside wall, set-back, our odd columns-having-house, one column visible, perhaps? Past that, one skeleton or another. There, 0:02, three story skeleton, with a fourth, set back. Okay, that's our tall building, looking shorter than the sat images. Guess its set too far back to cast a shadow that far in the second view.

Minaret?

Houla-shelling1796.jpg
Mystery tower marked with dark purple (second from right)

At the end of the video we see a peek of a minaret. It is not the same City Mosque minaret seen on the beginning of the video. More likely it is the mystery tower seen in the Taldou Burning video. In the image it is marked with purple, second from right. The tree minarets seen, counting from left:

  1. City mosque – light green
  2. Old mosque – dark turquoise
  3. Mystery tower – dark purple

In the Taldou Burning video the mystery tower lines up with the security HQ on Main Street. Smoke is coming from the same direction. I have been searching in vain for the tower. There is a small minaret in a building on the 45 deg side street just south of the security HQ, at 825 meters south of the clock tower. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:57, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Way above (thanks for the sections, good idea) I located what I later called antenna here --CE (talk) 18:11, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
No, that is not an antenna, but the minaret of what must be the Old Mosques (#2 above). – Well, it could of course be an antenna, but it is still number #2 on the list. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:21, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
But it's what's seen in the end of the video, me thinks. --CE (talk) 22:26, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Could be. It is a modern structure, with some kind of hole or slit right the middle. I assumed #2 was theOld Mosque with some old minaret, but I could have been wrong. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:11, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Hm, it does have an empty space, maybe mosque-sized, around it. Whatever it is, I think it's the thing in question for the first video. For the Hrfosh one under study, not sure at all. Too discontinuous, no clear relation to the westward views that matter. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:52, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you refer to as "old mosque". There's a small one a bit north-east of the city mosque (on the street passing the Baath HQ from the roundabout), and another rather large building with a shorter minaret around 100m WNW from the city mosque, just south of the city water tower. --CE (talk) 00:26, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
btw, I strolled around the shoutwiki help pages a bit and saw that they offer to activate the Google Maps extension on request. Take a look (advanced options). That would top what we can do with imagemap. Shall I ask? --CE (talk) 18:16, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Not sure... I liked the editable map you started. Something clickable like that is cool, although I never did touch it yet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:52, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
Maybe same minaret as in this video: Assad bombed tanks Hula 07/11/2012 – The video is off focus, so it may be of little help in locating the spot. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:00, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

This video gives a peek view of the minaret at 0:53. The rebels are shooting from the building on the 45 deg side street, just west of the Gate. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:55, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Another one: The Hospital, Burning

Found in the related vids:

Now this is from much closer. Seems to be further south of Shumariyah but still north of water tower/army post. Distinctive tree line. Is this actually the hospital burning? Or what? --CE (talk) 19:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! Didn't have time to do anything but respond earlier and just that didn't seem worth it. Watching now, nothing to say but that's a lotta smoke I think I've been waiting for a glimpse of. It wasn't in that other video. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:02, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Jalal has mixed up the two videos when uploading, This one should be "Hula targeting the hospital 25-5-2012" and the other one "Hula heavy shelling of the city 25-5". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:14, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
I think Monther Hrfosh is Jalal's camera man of choice and the guy who drives the moped in the recent bombing video (connecting the dots page). --CE (talk) 00:26, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
A title mix-up explains it. Good catch. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
This video is on the same 292.50 degrees line-of-sight from the waterworks HQ I just yesterday to place a video to house 1330W+100 on Saad Street. This video seems to be shot at the end of alley 1275W. We can see the line of power poles. It also gives precise timing, shadows seem to fall just north of the 292.50 line. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:29, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I'll credit you on the angle and save work. Sounds about right. The location, I'm working out. See graphic below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Wherever exactly it's filmed from, I say it's pretty plain to see that this is the hospital we're seeing. The woods behind might be burning, but being about one row thick, and the smoke mostly being behind them, suggests that the National Hospital itself is apparently what's smoldering. I'll post this now, and then some notes and a graphic in a little bit. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:35, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't even want to fully reconcile everything and decide all the lines yet, though we might agree and I don't think I'm as confused here. I'm looking just at the span occupied by the smoke. Mainly it's the trees and the presence of a long wall they're apparently just opposite of. But there are a couple other clues. The light on the wall was a bit odd until I looked at the bend, where it'd reflect more NW-origin sunset light. Mapped in. Tree height correlation - pretty good, trying to correct the skew/trace each tree to its trunk/where it meets the ground. Where the wall bends, marked blue- check where the brightness changes. Real edge of elevated center of hospital, violet. Odd high point, app. ground-level, green. Water tower, red. Basic correlation beneath, close to proportional. Exact angle of view not really considered, mot relevant to water tower, perhaps visible, near the red line. The one clear visible spot of the hospital, white box, could be the violet or green lined point.

  • Note: Rotation should have been noted, sorry. On the satellite images, north is left.
Taldou Hospital Burning Hrfosh Comp.jpg

The other video's mixed-up title confirms it. And considering the south-pointing video from Main Street placing a similar-looking plume on a line including the back of the hospital, we have two-angle confirmation the place was seriously torched apparently not long before sunset. The smoke cloud width as seen on video is then copied back onto the above images as the fuzzy gray rectangles, to app. scale and position. It seems what's burning is the main central building of the hospital, perhaps more on the back/west half, not so much the trees or peripheral buildings. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:29, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Excellent. These are enough clues to control against our confirmation bias, I think. And I just saw that there is a better quality version, 480p (select with the little wheel to the left of the bottom right controls). I think your pics are from the default 360p. In the higher quality it's quite obvious that what you marked with the red questionmark is indeed the top of the water tower. I suspect the white questionmark thingie is the one directly behind the trees, at the bottom of your green line in the central satellite view inlet. Maybe some kind of climate control unit. Long journey, finally it burns. :o) --CE (talk) 13:15, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks but for some reason, on my end, there is no such option. There 240 or 320. I have a dated and un-update-able Flash player set-up. Might be related. If you (or Petri, or a suddenly inspired new member) could upload some higher resolution stills, 'twould be useful, Farthest north-looking frame would be helpful, and an opinion if you think it shows that tall 4-story building that should be not far off the line to the water tower, and nearly its height. I might see it, and that might helps settle one of my sillier questions. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:39, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I have pinned down the location to a few feet, assuming I counted the utility poles correctly. At first I thought the poles were on alley 1275W, but the latest satellite image (same as used by Google Maps) shows a new line built on alley 1240W. The location is in behind the orchard behind the houses on alley 1275W between tracks 1240W and 1300W. The spot is on the extension of alley 1275W, 340 meters from Saad Street. Incidentally, the spot is exactly 92 meters north of the white spot – most likely a concrete water reservoir cover, I sayd the other video was shot from. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:07, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
I can confirm the white triangle is a roof structure of the hospital main building at it's south end. The smoke is seen rising a bit north of the line. The smoke is not a fire but an explosion, similar in size to the ones we see on north Saad Street. The cameraman misses the explosion itself, but is well in position to film the aftermath. It seems as he has been sent to this exact spot to film "the targeting of the hospital." -- Petri Krohn (talk)
You're right, the roof structure is what CL marked with the two diagonal green lines. The thing right behind the trees only looks a bit triangular because of the rotation - viewed unrotated it's clear that its top is flat, while the other structure fits with what we see in the video. --CE (talk) 16:00, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
"The smoke is not a fire but an explosion, similar in size to the ones we see on north Saad Street. The cameraman misses the explosion itself, but is well in position to film the aftermath." I can't vouch for or against that very well. The amount seems to me larger than that - RPG exhaust, mostly where it's fired from, not to. The later smoke is from a fire. The earlier exhaust from the shelling perp, that was unusually dense from his being backed against a wall with a low overhang. This seems more concentrated at the bottom, perhaps at the thing I highlighted in green (some kind of master vent?) Stabilization will help here. Seems to be pouring out steadily as if from a fire, but there's a science to it all (the color, etc.) I don't know. The audio cues are ambiguous. There is gunfire, but only light, and at the end of the half with audio. It sounds far too quiet to be an initial explosion starting the conquest of the hospital. Maybe it was a grand finale bombing. Or maybe it's being burned, post-conquest. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:20, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Not perfect, but here's the video I managed to pull together. Soon this will need incorporated into the front page. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:04, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Calculating azimuth of sun

Measurements
  • Cardinal direction of Saad Street and alleys: 8 deg
  • NW corner of house 1300W+225: 112.74 / 282.74 deg
  • Antenna on ridge: 110.55 / 280.55 deg
  • On screen distance (@ 0:13):
    • Antenna to NW corner: 93 mm
    • NW corner to NE corner of 1300W+255: 107 mm
    • Height of roof: 31 mm
    • Visible shadow: 8 mm
      • 71 mm / 5 mm – 69 mm / 5 mm
Calculations
  • Direction to NE corner: 112.74 + [(112.74 - 110.55) x (107 / 93)] = 112.74 + 2.51968 = 115.2597
  • Direction of shadow: 115.2597 - [(115.2597 - 98) x 5 / 69] = 115.2597 - 1.2507 = 114.0090 (Should use trigonometry here)
  • Azimuth = 294.0 degrees
Time

The NOAA Solar Calculator says that at the gate on Main Street in Taldou on May 25, 2012 Apparent Sunset was at 19:38. At 19:19 the sun was at 294.01 degrees (azimuth) and 2.9 degrees elevation.

The estimate of the time is very precise, accuracy is about two minutes. The whole shadow I measured at 5 mm on the screen would be worth nine minutes. There may be a small error though, the sun is 1 degrees across and shadows are not sharp. (azimuth 293.6 at 19:16?) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:04, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Petri, much of this is over my head. I'm not worried about it, but minutes equaling mm leaves me feeling like ?? Here's an observation. About at 0:05, far left, is another direct sun-reflecting surface. In case that helps confirm, or whatever. Sorry, been tired today and not up to contributing much. Don't expect anything huge tomorrow either or until mid-week next week. I'll be around, but not at full-steam or full-time. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:39, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I had a look at the timing of the Main Street attack videos.
  • In the Satto Road / Alley, 285E video the elevation of the sun is below 3 degrees. That would make it after 19:19, or 20 minutes before sunset.
  • THe alley 720E video is filmed just after sunset – or at least the sun is behind the hills. There are no apparent shadows although the sky is clear.
All of these point to a coordinated attack on the hospital, timed to start just before sunset. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:40, 17 November 2012 (UTC)
I am unable to time the third Main Street skirmish video. _إحدى فصائل كتيبة العرباض بن سارية تتصدى لجيش الغدر الأسدي_‎ (One faction Battalion Arabad bin valid address Army treachery Asadi – Also this video from the same group on alley 635E.) There are no visible shadows. It could be a cloudy day – or it can be May 25th at dusk, just after sunset. If it was getting dark, I would expect more gun flare. Some tracers however show clearly (Are these real tracer bullets or can normal ammo be illuminated like this?). The moving tree gives an impression of a high wind, it could also be caused my incoming fire. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:17, 18 November 2012 (UTC)
That third video is not May 25. It's full daylight, direction muddled, quite overcast, and quite breezy. Different day, differnet battle, possibly near June 21. There have been many battles after May 25, and apparently some before it as well. Could go with a brigade page or whatever, or help establish scenery, but it doesn't help us much with May 25. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:00, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
It is on Main Street & alley 635E. Too dark for daytime – I think it is at dusk. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:06, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Lookingagain, maybe dusk, but still looks like mid-day on a very overcast day. At 1:16 the sky looks fairly blue, so maybe just barely dusk, minus the horizon glow, and a tracer can be seen. Either way, I think it's too windy for May 25. We know the breeze on Main St.at dusk and I don't think this is it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:44, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Another Attempt to Set the Filming Location

I got real confused on the two Monther videos. Re-examining, I'm sure they're from the same spot or on about the same line anyway. No moving around drastically north or south. Lining up south Shumeriyeh with the hospital sends a line back a bit north of west, to the long orchard on Saad Road. Perhaps with a new second floor, "the building at 0:08" might be this one. Support: the wall seen would be that along the orchard, with the lit up part being the bend. This video was taken from ground level. The smoke we can faintly see is from the hospital (same line), mostly obscured by the building at the east end of the orchard. So he's probably next to the lone house at the west end. When he filmed the hospital, he was up on the roof. It's a good enough solution I'll run with it unless someone has a better though first. Solar angles and suggested time forthcoming. If this is it, that reflection can really pin this one down. Anyone else? --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:21, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

That building is rotated 5 degrees from E-W, so its plane of reflection is offset the same. The angle is less, meaning an earlier time. Corrected azimuth then, by law of reflection in 277 to 285, depending where he was standing. Too shallow? It gives a time of 5:10-6:15 PM. Too early, isn't it? I guess there aren't any tall enough trees here to explain the view anyway (unless very quick-growing). Must be further south somehow. I wish I could solve this and at least set the time before this article is done (by Monday, I was hoping) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:55, 10 January 2013 (UTC)
Scrath Monday. Syrianews is shut down - forever, ostensibly- over death threats against the author's family. Plus the research still needs finished, and writing and editing down to readable size.

I've rarely had finding a location aggravate me so. I cannot exlain the foreground yet (with its useful reflecting pane) without speculating new buildings and walls and maybe old building being demolished - between late Feb. and late May. Isn't there a long wall there, raised corners, running about N-S and so reflecting sunlight? No such thing in that area on satellite maps. But we only have one main line of sight to work out, with the height difference mostly explaining the view difference. Also, the smoke visible in the shooter (shelling the hospital) video, is clearly much less, lower, and perhaps centered a few yards further south. It's not even 100% smoke, but it's on that line, and I think it's from the fire's start, roughly, so a bit earlier. A time then would help. I can get a sense of solidity using the two visible parts of the hospital as reference points. Below, a new graphic lining up that one building with the elevated center (green lines), and the edge of the field almost with the sloped structure (orange). They should converge, ideally. They might, way out there, but I do't think it's way out there. Then I looked again at the view from the other video (ground level) when looking north. A foreground tree and the building I picked might explain the view, giving the blue line to intersect and give us a rough area that I already picked, partly to explain features that aren't there.

Houla Hrfosh Vid position study 27.png

One more thing (they're coming slower than they should) - when he can see the hospital (rooftop), the position shift is a bit to the north/left, from the way things line up slightly different between the views. He was on the ground just south of some building to start with. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Smoke sequence: since it's possible this was an explosion rather than a growing fire (as Petri mentioned), I might have the order wrong and the one with less smoke (apparent ground-level) might have come second. That one could be timed with a clear foreground reading. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:24, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
The spot: About what I got above. The foreground, still not clear, but I have better lines. I finally got the Shumeriyeh buildings mostly figured out -some "buildings" as I saw are 2-4 of them merged together, including the one framed in lime green lines above. So the east end is wider now. The darker green line runs from the taller trees in front of that low building (see Aug. 2010 Google Earth imagery for a better view), running to the north side of the water tower (they line up - see left side of the still frame used above. Better line convergence now. I'm, not sure about the north view building, but the raised corners are fit and the line is about right. Pretty sure he'd be standing in or near the red circle below. Oddly though, it's the hospital line-up (possible rooftop view) that points there, where there's no building. Maybe he climbed up on some vehicle that drove across the field, Clearly Hrfosh probably got to the scene not by coming down Saad Road, but rather the road west of there, pointing towards Tripoli (but not Tripoli road, apparently)

Houla Hrfosh Vid position study 28.png

Houla Hrfosh Vid position study 29.png


And then, that spot relative to reported massacre sites . For reference, I just noticed the patterns is the further south you go, the more verified it is. The north one is from a sloppy BBC labeling with no other supports, nextdown UN unconfirmed, then alleged in a rebel video, then confirmed UN, then two of the other spots they confirmed and lumped together as one spot. (There are others app. on that street we can't clearly place.) --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:24, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

January 14th...

The sun reflected from the stairwell window of building 1330W+250 off Saad Street. The cameraman is 97.5 meters away in direction 257,64 / 77.64 degrees.

Adam, you are getting there, but still not quite on the spot. I told you all this two months ago. Maybe you did not read.

One video is filmed from the top of a water reservoir here: http://goo.gl/maps/omKbV

On that, I'm not sure the difference is great enough but, checking the line-up with the minaret and that house with the corners ... it's a good fit, better than trying to make the one spot explain everything. Could be. Mainly I'm looking at the view with the hospital. What do you think of the smoke difference? Which video is earlier? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:41, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

This is what I said of the other video:

"I have pinned down the location to a few feet, assuming I counted the utility poles correctly. At first I thought the poles were on alley 1275W, but the latest satellite image (same as used by Google Maps) shows a new line built on alley 1240W. The location is in behind the orchard behind the houses on alley 1275W between tracks 1240W and 1300W. The spot is on the extension of alley 1275W, 340 meters from Saad Street. Incidentally, the spot is exactly 92 meters north of the white spot – most likely a concrete water reservoir cover, I said the other video was shot from. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:07, 15 November 2012 (UTC)"

Try to see the electricity poles on Google maps. Once you identify the poles, you will nail the spot to a few feet. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the reminder, and good to hear. This page is a mess. Sorry. Will check the poles. One other thing I tried and will show is an attempted panorama (with half of it just sky, so it gets mushy). But divided in eight, it can help set radial lines of sight for reference. What I took to be smoke from intel HQ seems to be on the right line, from the HQ north (NNE winds). What I want is a time, and that reflection will give it once I can figure out where the hell that building is. Graphic after a brush-up to be fairly sure they're worth adding. --Caustic Logic (talk) 07:04, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I suppose you mean the sun reflected from this window. I already calculated the angle. It did not quite add up – The azimuth says it is past sunset. I suspect we are not seeing the sun dead center, but the glow in the horizon.
This is what I wrote earlier:
The building at 0:08 could be house 1330W+250 off Saad Street. The video would be shot in the orchard behind the houses. Interestingly, we see the sun mirrored in the glass door to the roof. We should be able to calculate the exact time based on the azimuth. (The altitude is a few degrees above horizon, so we know it is a few minutes before sunset.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:04, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
The cameraman may be standing on this water reservoir: http://goo.gl/maps/omKbV -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:36, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
My calculations say the reflected sun is at 314 degrees. This would be past sunset at 296 degrees / 7:38 pm. Does not quite sum up. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:06, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
In my calculation I assumed the window pane is in the same direction as Saad Street, which is 8 degrees inclined relative to the north-south axis. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
P.S. – My calculation now gives a value of 298,36 degrees. [257,64 + 2×(278−257,64)] -- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:19, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
P.P.S. – If the cameraman is standing on the reservoir, then – depending on where exactly he is standing – the reflection can be anywhere between 76 and 79 degrees (256-259). The sun could thus be between 297 and 300 degrees. Google Earth says there are no high hills blocking the view of the sunset at 296 degrees. The hills seen in the horizon are 22 kilometers away, behind Ain Halakim. This would mean that the sun would be visible from the rooftop right into sunset. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:09, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Adam, have you even found the reservoir? It is missing from all your location maps. (You have cut them just short.) And please, make larger graphics. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:21, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the dot. I just thought it was too far from the basic spot to be right, and I just decided (wrongly, I guess) that there was not that much change between positions. So I thought it an early guess that was fairly close. Revising that now - it might be a great fit. Tonight I'll take a look at your other reminders and see what's up. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:16, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Houla Hrfosh vid position study 30.png
Good idea. How's this? Poles do appear faintly. Checking for even spacing, each one appears where it should. I marked six, four in blue to match to four seen lining up with the hospital. Two, marked again in faint blue, line up with the tallest tree (clearer from 20120 imagery) and another with the sloped structure. The spot shifts perhaps 20 meters west. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:41, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I say it is a further 10 west, on the path or access road between the orchards. I believe you are also missing the line of sight past the roof of the tall, red, 2-story massacre building (1330W+100 on Saad Street). I have discussed it somewhere earlier. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:46, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. A meter or so south as well. The line between fields might a stone wall, so maybe he's standing up on a high point there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:16, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Now that you mention it, you are right. The ridge looks very much like the stone walls or piles up on the hills near the water company. At first I thought the gray was just a worn out path, but in fact there is a stone wall just where the camera was. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:13, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

1330 +250 - Petri, I Finally clarified just which house that was, and it's intriguing. The one dead-centered [Here on Google Maps], correct? Google Earth has it there from 2003, with wall changes. It looks like a distance building inside a wall, but maybe it's, as you said, a feature on a castellated roof. A purely visual match can't do it. Lines of sight (up next) will decide what should be seen first (unobstructed) on the correct line (minus any error in the panorama, location, or protactor work, the light blue one separating zone 6 from zone 7). Until the radial interpretation, here's the panorama (split in half). Actually later when I can get it to upload. Problems I can see: if that's a stairwell, a west-facing window is nice (except in summer without good venting.) But a stairwell to where? The whole structure is 5-6 meters long, about two meters wide. Pillars suggest another level was planned. An Alawite stairwell to heaven? And there are the things dotting the sides (windows, I thought), and the off-center (door?) and general lack of resolution, suggesting it is further out. I'll be back. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:07, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

Every house in Syria – and in most of the arid Middle East – has a stairwell on the roof going nowhere, as well as orphan pillars or rebar stumps. You are looking at this from the false perspective of a northerner. In wet and snow covered countries buildings have roofs. The roof is an integral part of the building and design. Buildings have fixed heights, they are built to that height and covered with the roof. The roof is never removed.
In Syria houses do not have roofs, and thus no fixed height. New floors are added as the family grows, or as the suburban turns into urban. To allow expansion, even one story houses have a stairwell – to nowhere. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:04, 15 January 2013 (UTC)
Interesting. I meant to say (later) to nowhere but the roof (which they don't have, so ... the top floor with no ceiling yet, a good place for deck chairs and tea). I think this is it - it's on the right line of sight (final graphic on that tonight) --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:51, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

January 16th...

The image - I forgot to label the red circle -that's where I think we see smoke (panned over, mostly). The exact span is hard to be sure of -I matched each still to what came before as closely as possible, but gray-on-gray is harder. There were few gaps, really, so I think it's about right.

Houla Hrfosh vid position study 31.png

Note also smoke in zone 1 and faintly in zone 8. These two will be mapped. The reflecting surface here is right on the line dividing zones 6 and 7, the building occupying about one zone - half of 6 and half of 7. Once mapped out radially (below), it becomes clear something is off, by about half a zone - the building should be a zone wide, occupying mostly zone 7, with the reflection halfway across that. I decided he wasn't on the reservoir but next to it. If more like on it, the lines would line-up better. Also, as noted, the reference panorama might be a bit smooshed. Otherwise, I think it works. (using Aug. 19, 2010 imagery a couple of buildings are missing) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:43, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Houla Hrfosh vid position study 32.png

Next, refining the position, we take a closer look at that angle. Setting the reflective surface - app. 6 degrees clockwise from north-south. Law of reflectivity applied. If on the lid, the azimuth is about 298 (past apparent sunset). If that far north, then 294.

Houla Hrfosh vid position study 33.png

Petri, I'll let you pick. With all this, here's what the NOAA's solar calculator gives for some key times. I think the higher end (on the lid) is actually ruled out. What say you? Which center minute, and +/-how many minutes? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:43, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Revision to the below: double-checking that exact placement doesn't matter (it doesn't - Houla general and the reservoir lid give the same numbers) and then refining the rounded figures and adding some more times.--Caustic Logic (talk) 10:01, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
  • Time - Az - El
  • 7:12 - 293.04° - 4.17°
  • 7:19 - 294.01° - 2.91°
  • 7:23 - 294.57° - 2.2°
  • 7:26 - 294.99° - 1.69°
  • 7:30 - 295.56° - 1.02°
  • 7:33 - 295.98° - 0.54°
  • 7:35 - 296.27° - 0.22°
  • 7:36 - 296.41° - 0.07°

-- Sunset --

  • 7:36:25 - 296.47° - 0°
  • 7:40 - 296.99° - -0.96°
  • 7:47 - 298.01° - -2.36°
Adam, you say: "Setting the reflective surface - app. 6 degrees clockwise from north-south." – Saad street is exactly 8 degrees clockwise from north-south. All houses are aligned to the street. Why should this house be different? It is not! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:32, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
It isn't 2 degrees or so off? I just checked again with my imprecise method. You might have a better way, but I get 8 degrees for the nearest alley, 5 and 6 for the building's walls (they don't appear totally square in the 2010 imagery - I take east edge as most relevant). All approximate to maybe 1 degree. If you check the building's sides and get 8 degrees, I'll change that, and we'll adjust the times accordingly. But until then, I stick with 6, +/- 1, not 2. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:02, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Adam, are you now saying the cameraman is on the reservoir or three meters north of it as you graphics show?
Barring time adjustments, I think on it is out the window, making the time too late. Tho I might be reading that wrong - I'm going by 0 alt, not apparent, given as 1.5 min. later at 7:38. ?? --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:48, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and it shows both, for reference, and why north=earlier (only one set of lines has arrows, not sure why). --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:02, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
You cannot infer location from the time of day. This has to go the other way around. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:44, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
Here I think you can. If my understanding of reflections is right (??) ... some positions will yield azimuths at which the sun is already set, meaning wrong spot. On the lid or further south can't explain what the camera sees (the sun's up!), so he must be on another line - further west or north - to make the line from the glass to him less southerly, and thus the line to the sun less northerly. Right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:26, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
To find out the exact location we need to know the exact directions to the corners of near-by buildings. To find the time however, we do not need to know the exact location, we only need to know the exact direction to the reflection. This we do by using the background as a base. Adam, please find the sharpest possible frame with the reflection on the left and as many buildings as possible visible on the right and upload it to the wiki in full resolution. Next we mark the corners of some background buildings we can locate on the map, and measure the direction from our approximate location. We need two readings, so we can overlay a degrees scale on the image. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:49, 17 January 2013 (UTC)
This, I don't see any great single frames (narrow field, dominated by the building). Give me a time-stamp if you see one. I can say I ran several lines on GM from the north edge of the lid to all available points, and everything lined up good. And I have this good panorama (not a frame) at full-res (I think), slightly processed, careful stitching (less distortion than you'll get between frames anyway). All pretty darn close. The smudging in the middle can't be helped (unless I missed a clearer view) -it's panned over quickly. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:48, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Houla Hrfosh panorama South.png

Directions from reservoir

This is the frame I was asking for. We need to identify two buildings in the background to get a scale in degrees in place. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:08, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

OK, I am listing directions from center of reservoir to buildings in "Shumeriyeh":

Southern edge (right)
  • South most high building in "Shumeriyeh": 86.76 / 266,76 deg. – 1545 meters
  • South most building (low): 88.15 / 268.15 deg. – 1616 meters
  • North most of three high buildings: 84.30 / 264.30 deg. – 1555 meters
Northern edge (left)
  • West most of a line of long agricultural buildings: 81.94 deg. – 1589 meters
  • Stone wall: 79.05 deg. – 1590 meters
  • North most building in front of stone wall: 79.35 deg. – 1404 meters

The two measurements from this frame give me a value of 77,47 degrees for the reflection. The same degree scale says the sun is about 0.56 degrees above horizon. The whole image is about 5,74 degrees wide. The direction 77,47 degrees would put the cameraman maybe a few centimeters south of the center of the reservoir, or right at it's eastern edge. The reflection at 77,47 degrees would put the sun at 298,53 degrees.

Measuring from your panorama I get the reflection at 77,28 – sun at 298,72

I do not see the building misaligned relative to Saad Street. The rows of trees in the orchard may be 9 or 10 degrees off the east-west axis.

I think I will call this a 7:33, based mainly on the height of the sun. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:30, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

A line of trees? Did you measure lines run along the edges of the house? It could be the roof line is a bit off. We're pretty close to agreement here -7:33 was the upper end of my broad range: 7:26 +/- 7 min. I think my method is decent and simple - line to the stairwell. I was wondering if he was a meter further west, but that makes it earlier, and we're getting later, so ... building rotation - if more than 6, it gets later. 7 = 2 deg added to azimuth, 8 = 4(right?). 8 degrees means then even the earliest times on my list are the only ones that work, or he's further north yet. I'm inclined to still say 6 degree rotation, consider your altitude thought, average a bit and say 7:30, +/- 4 min. Or I could just yield to 7:33. I'd like to move on. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:21, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
298 is past sunset, by some measures. We have mixed measures, possible map warp, etc. Not sure how precise it even can get. I'm not inspired to go to this new phase of precise graphic assessment- WAS inspired. I'm confident we have the right spot, on or off the lid matters little, a minute or two ... I needed to get a basic grip, think I have it (200 meters or so from the verified souther massacre sites), filmed like all others just before sunset because after sucks, and before 7:30-ish ... why not? Anyway, try to inspire me if you like. I'll see. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:26, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
Petri, you're more precise than me, and I think smarter/better educated in things like this. Generally I yield -I'm not even sure which NOAA susnset time (apparent 7:38, 0 alt 6:36:35) isthe right measure, so ... For the record, I'll re-examine the graphic study 33 from above. A protractor JPEG (sorry) gives about 78 degrees to the reflection from the lid, about 82 from the spot just north. If the house is at 8 degrees and not 6 as I measured, and he's on the lid as you are quite sure, here's the numbers (imagine same graphic adjusted - using app. dead center of lid, sorry about the 5 cm). 298 azimuth, as you mentioned. NOAA says that happens around 7:47 PM, az: 298.01° alt: -2.36°. (296.47 az accompanies 0 alt) So ... (???) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:48, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
The reflection of the setting sun covers about 2 degrees of this view. (55mm lens, Sony Nex 5 camera with 1.5 crop factor gives about 25 degrees horizontal field-of-view.)
I am absolutely certain of the position of the cameraman within less than a meter. It is some 30 cm south of the center line of the reservoir. The reflection is at 77.3 degrees. If it was at 79.3, as you suggest, it would line up with the stone wall on the ridge – which it does not!
Measuring the sun from even the most precisely installed windows is not precise. In the test image I just made, you can see that the reflection of the sun covers about 2 degrees of the field-of-view. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:04, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
How do you set how manly degrees are shown? Where that would be handy is the "July 14" celebration video. I'd still like to set that, so the clues can become more precisely supportive (or not). Better than telling me, can you just set that up? Angle between sun and base of smoke cloud, anything else... --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:48, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Jalal and - again - the guy who likely isn't Jihad Raslan show the victims to the UN

On the 26th, on a pick-up. Jalal has a list - they seem to argue about the identity of the dead. The guy in khaki is definitely the same as in the scene I found above where they are likely at Saad road. I think he looks quite like the guy we thought could be Jihad Raslan in the UN-Mosque video, although the uniform is different. --CE (talk) 20:08, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

LOL, no, thanks to Petri's new-found channel, I have the absolute proof that the two guys are not the same, because they show up together, left and right of a UN observer. Will the real Jihad Raslan please stand up? :oP From August, we have our old Bakour, the one who defected after the Army ordered him to bribe people into telling the government story - *cough* -, in this declaration, sitting bottom right. Interesting channel, will have to take a second look. --CE (talk) 01:50, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Different channel, same Houla Free Army Brigade, showing their credentials. The old Bakour is there again, and another one upper line third from right - does he say Akrama Bakour (we have no pic of him)? This channel from Saudi Arabia has Google Earth instruction videos on several occasions ... digesting, looking for Houla. --CE (talk) 14:45, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
this Video disappeared with its channel. --CE (talk) 10:49, 2 January 2013 (UTC)
CE, good to hearfrom you! And a fascinating find. These appearances should be added to Mr. Bakour's page - non preceding the era of his SpSpiegel interview, it seems.As for third from right, couldn't get it to play right through, trying to save, will review with interest soon. It saved. I hope he says Akram Al-Saleh Bakour. :) --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:31, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I slowed it down and boosted the high end, the guy talks too fast. The part that could be Akrama Bakour or Akram Al-Bakour (?) actually doesn't have a clear K at all -it sounds more like Amana/Abada Bakour/Wakoo, if both the preceding Z and l are part of the last word and not the name, and if that's his name. Being able to understand actual words would really help here. A score though - The guy second from left, face covered, I thought might be Jihad Raslan. He could be a little guy, I figure, and he is. Or so he says. 1:08. Of course this doesn't mean much-he was totally public by this time. Where were any of these guys on May 25-27? Not active, in Taldou, it seems. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:46, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Hahahaha, that guy is cracking me up. First we falsely see him everywhere and then when he's right there, I don't get it because he hides behind a silly logo! :oP Yeah, doesn't mean much, other than giving a face to our third Bakour if it's him. But you're right, that's difficult to say. Scoop would still be to find the old Bakour on a pre-May 25 video. --CE (talk) 11:01, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

May 25th videos?

Where did this happen? ...and when? (Note the heavy wind.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:58, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

These three or four videos by the Arabad bin Sarieh battalion of an attack on the waterworks also shows a heavy wind. Could be same day. In fact it could be the same attack on May 25th shown on Adam's latest video! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:24, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The area looks like the same basic place, near the maybe-Shumeriyeh. COuld be placed exactly, don't recommend absent a good reason. If it's from the May 25 operation, it's too early to be the same part we see. Mid-day, roughly, early PM, almost before the things we know of began in the rest of town. Something tells me it's also a tad later in the season. (??) Maybe pretty current. Didn't really watch them or gauge the wind. May 27 was pretty breezy, apparently blowing a bit to the south (unclear, see UNSMIS video 2:00). The 25th, moderate breeze to the N-NE, as we've seen from various smoke plumes. And of course, there are different winds in a day, so ... Eh. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:45, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
In the Beaufort scale the wind looks like a "Fresh breeze" – "Small trees begin to sway." = 30-39 km/h. I cannot get historic weather for Homs, but in Hama (Latakia, Syria) May 24th was a windy day. The same goes for Damascus. -- Petri Krohn (talk)
Just noticed, that there is a moderate breeze in the evening of May 25th, as seen at the start of the "targeting" video. The wind is more evident in Adam's stabilized version. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 06:35, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Tremseh massacre revenge attack?

This video was uploaded on July 14th, supposedly showing an attack in response to the Tremseh massacre. It may in fact show the arrival of the Farouk Brigade on May 25th. The time is past sunset, about 7:40 pm. The location is in the hills, 1565 meters east of Main Street. (Google maps) The rebels walk north on a small road with electricity pylons. The road is 950 meters east of the intersection guarded (at 7:25 pm) by the "guy" in the truck. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:18, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Will check this. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:45, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Can't see how to be sure, but there's a sense one can get. They seem both a little confident and relaxed for the early operation. This seems like people who a pretty firmly in control of this area, making a more optional follow-up raid they aren't even going to try and disguise. On May 25, I'd imagine more trucks, big guns, more speed, less smiles, and mainly less recording. Likely an earlier pass by here, already in there and killing by sunset (per "Arifah"). Best guess: July like they say. But that's far from certain. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:03, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I doubt if any of the "Tremseh massacre" videos were in fact filmed on July 14th. It just gave an excuse to upload old (May 25th?) footage. I tried to check the azimuth of sunset from another one of the July 14th videos. I think I recognize the hospital, the May 25th 7:20 pm fire is there. The sun however is at a totally odd angle, maybe where it would set in mid winter! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:07, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Using the 3D capacity of Google Earth to compare to the footage, I think I have found the spot. It is 337 meters, direction 213 degrees from the meeting place on the other video. Still 1200 meters from the water tower. The fire is not the hospital, but something else. If I could identify the buildings, I might be able to find the exact spot. Based on the azimuth of the sun it might be possible to differentiate between May 25th and July 14th. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:51, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
late note: checked your spot, suggests fires all in the north of town we don't have any info on. I think some spots south of there work better, perhaps with the back end of Shumariyeh in the mid-distance. Immediately in front of the smoke -is that a a row of big trees not too far off, or buildings further out? Foreground - a line of white, darker shapes on it. A road? Vehicles? (new stills:) --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:22, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Taldou Celebration Detail 2.png
Hmm, the prolific smoke makes it look more May 25th-like. Smoke from the slope too, not far away. 0:52 in the video, right? Not the best glimpse. Any relevant timeof year, we must be seeing the north of town, right? But that would put them quite north too, it seems. (??) A couple of identifying things stand out. A single large building to the right/north by itself. A weird little structure in the foreground, fork-shaped. (?) Wind here is the right basic direction and energy to be evening May 25 as well. The smoke from (??? blows north, over the camera, I think, hazing the view. Time machines and no mention of "Tremseh" I could hear might have been involved in their revenge for Tremseh. :) Worth looking into, cause it's a gold mine if so. Exact direction should be very useful, if this is sunset as it appears. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:48, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I am coming to the conclusion the videos must be from May. The group walking to the meeting place are not locals. What we see is a large scale operation. It would have been impossible to arrange this in one day in response to a massacre. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:13, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Then I'll take the 'maybe not' position. Hope youdon't mind the added "?" in the title-it seems to be the point here. Some time later this week. On thanksgiving I'm flaking out on family to work on stuff (can catch up at Christmas). This'll be a priority. In the meantime, you might check their view of the city against the view at the end of the May 27 UNSMIS video, where they look down on the city from the northeast and see hard-to-place smoldering fires (might be footage from the 26th edited in?). --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)
Some confusion on my part right above here. I still can't get a clear reading on the locale. Some notes on the first video, arrival: I canhear references to their great God, of course, to Assad, Shabiha, Houla, and Rastan (0:37). Although on any date, this is one point of entry fighters from Rastan converging on Taldou might take. But I think it's time to include this in the main page, set aside to, if nothing else, make a nod to - and highlight - the effort at concealment. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:22, 3 December 2012 (UTC)


How different is the azimuth at sunset on May 25 vs. July 14? Actually very little. Same rough distance before and after the solstice. June 22, max. az = 299.5 degrees per NOAA. Both dates being considered round off to 297 (a few points above in June, below in May). That won't help here, I fear. I'm trying to get a panoramic view and feel for the directions as seen anyway. My idea was to find that angle and see where it would be if that line pointed 297, but ... just being able to place it would help. Note the angular rock up front - got the sun relative to that -hos is it relative to the stone wall? Which way does it really run? Any other thoughts on how to get the date from visuals? See if there's a strange lack of supporting videos and opposition reports from June 14 mentioning posts burned? Or if there are supports for it? See if we can feel out the scene and get smoke matches that narrow it down to May 25 and all days exactly like it? I'll be back. I want to say this is the rebel response to the events of our day, but... --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:49, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I haven't been able to save this video (denied,remote call), but I got screen grabs. We start out facing about south, along a roughly E-W rock wall. Panning west, the ridge, the sun at about 295-296 degrees, then (20-30 degrees?) further right/clockwise/north is the smoke origin. None from the slopes, that's a second fire below not too far south/west. If the main one is the hospital, there's too much span north without the HQ's smoke appearing. And nothing south of the hospital was burned that we know of, so that's not the one shown on the detail. If this is the HQ's smoke, the hospital is the other. If we're seeing a/the central fire (north Saad/near the mosque), then HQ is the one we don't quite see. Note as we pan SW-W, we do not see the water tower, so we must be a bit north or south of it. Buildings are proving hard to pin down, even in the foreground. Lining up the spaces between might be more useful. I think it's either just north of Shumariyeh, or just south of the water co. base, possibly even including it in the view. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:54, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Taldou Celebration Panoramic.png
Taldou Celebration Detail.png

I just noted, that some of the people on these two videos are the same. Note the Salafist sniper guy rebel leader from the morgue. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:59, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

I won't contest or double-check that ATM. Same day, area, etc. Wouldn't be surprised. Maybe it helps set the place, huh? The road video is later, right? So they'd be coming down from the hills ... that I think are way south ... to this spot in the north? Is there even enough time? Did they drive part of the way? Etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:26, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I wanted to continue this with another graphic, but I have to admit I'm stumped. Petri, or maybe CE, how many degrees would one have to turn from facing the sun to facing straight towards the base of that smoke plume? Looks to me like 30 degrees or a bit less. Is there some method for being more exact that I don't know of? Either day, the sun would be - actually, should iron that out too - a bit shy of 297 - how much shy? Would be nice to have the two angles (or three, with two marking a range) to drop into different spots and see how each works at explaining the view. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:46, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

I collected all July 13th & July 14th claimed Tremseh massacre revenge videos into this playlist. There are two different operations, one west of Main Street, one to the east on the hills. Some people are seen in both places. I think these most likely happened on two separate days. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:01, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Will have a bit of a look, no promises of full digestion anytime soon. My free-time weekend is almost over, partially blown. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:46, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I've seen enough of them, I skipped watching entirely for now. Instead, a partial search of text sources; Wikipedia and Local Coordination Committees. If there was any battle with Taldou left smoking and rebels celebrating, it should probably be mentioned, but it isn't for July 13 and 14. So either we're looking at two unacknowledged rebel victories in Taldou leaving the city smoking by sunset at a 297 azimuth, or there was just one. I'll still try to find the differences and champion just that position, but so far, a lot going for your theory, Petri. --Caustic Logic (talk) 08:06, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
13 July: 71 people were killed by Syrian army gunfire and shelling, primarily in Idlib and Homs.[265] ... 37 soldiers were killed across the country.[267] (Homs city, not province-no Houla, soldier deaths not all placed)
14 July: 10 rebels were killed in Homs; including a defected lieutenant colonel. A defected first sergeant was also killed in Deir Ezzor.[268] 39 Syrian soldiers were killed ... 75 civilians were killed by the end of the day, including 20 in Homs
The number of Syrian martyrs has risen to 80 so far, including 3 families. 28 martyrs were reported in Idlib, 14 in Homs, 13 in Yarmouk Refugees Camp in Damascus, 12 in Aleppo, 5 in Daraa, 3 in Deir Ezzor, 2 in Damascus Suburbs, 2 in Hama, and 1 in Lattakia... (Nothing Houla, 14 in Homs not explained)
Homs: Several martyrs and wounded fell from fierce shelling on houses using artillery and machine guns, resulting the destruction of several houses in Joret Sheyah neighborhood ... Homs: Indiscriminate shelling in the city resumed amid intense gunfire from all regime’s army checkpoints ... Hama: Treimseh: Regime’s army entered the city with a crew from_Addounia TV, which forced residents to flee from the fear of another_massacre ... (Nothing Houla – but tanks in Rastan? (video))

Shumeriyeh Shooter

Analyzing the new video:

  • The truck with the "guy" seems to be at the~intersection 175 meters north of the water tower.
  • The delay from the shot to the sound is 4.1 seconds. With the speed of sound at 340 m/s this makes for a distance of 1394 meters.
  • Based on this data I say the shooter is in the bushes at the edge of the small orchard 190 meters north-north-east (direction 335 degrees) of the intersection.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:21, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Excellent work there. However, a note: It's possible I shifted the audio on accident, or some other audio lag before me. I'm not certain of the location and distance either. So exact findings like that might use a grain of salt. Also, I wasn't sure it was a truck, but it must be, huh? I think they're at the intersection with a bit of shoulder to pull off on. The shooter seemed just off frame, but could be anywhere south of that plume of exhaust on a day with N-NE winds. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:17, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
The shooter is far off frame, it is a wonder we see any of the flair. By counting the pylons I see the smoke trail is far longer than the distance from the flair. The PRG truly is a rocket-propelled grenade, not a recoilless rifle, as most weapons of the type. What we see in the flair is not the launcher firing, but the last bits of exhaust from the rocket engine. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:26, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
P.S. – I took the timing from the original. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:27, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Word. A km plus is further than I thought is all. This sets distance to microphone from firing position, or detonation point? Depends what we're actually hearing. Also, didn't make note, but supporting nearby flash... maybe? Almost seems some cinder falls in the left of the frame and remains glowing there. Possible illusion. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:21, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
RPGs are subsonic, meaning we always hear the firing first. My 4.1 s is to the firing, not the detonation. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:00, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
I didn't notice a separate detonation sound. Maybe he fired a dud? The long sound delay suggests a long distance back, probably across the fields, where his other video was clearly shot from (measures not handy). I'm still having a hard time seeing how the hospital isn't visible though, and don't think it's too out there to cross the fields between videos. Would like to see someone else's line-of-sight study. Myself, I keep getting these mixed results - I'm apparently not in the zone, but I can't just yield blindly, without being made to see the other view first. --Caustic Logic (talk) 00:09, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

Abu Usama videos

There are at least two videos of interest we've not studied yet, for things blowing up certain places (in the north of town) and times on the 25th, that were both uploaded to Youtube by Houla Media Office guy Abu Usama Al Houla/Samerd3.

These have been critiqued by Assad loyalists previously, like the Saad Street RPG incident (which he also seems to have posted the original of). So no rush on our own analysis. I'll find the links for critique videos, and eventually we can easily have an exact place and time for each, and see what that does plugged in. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:19, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

On the topic of May 25th videos this one must not forgotten. Note the large number of fighters. Hula Ahaddalnashtin describes what is happening and the constant bombardment 05/25/2012 -- Petri Krohn (talk) 18:40, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Didn't we suss this about a bit? It wasn't much. I will now take a look. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:52, 9 January 2013 (UTC)
No location decided yet. The dense building they run between suggest either the northwest-west-central part of town, or possibly the southeast. Sun suggests around noon, I think: high, not sure if more east or west. Shooting suggests west-central (towards roundabout), or towards a new/less-known target. The alley they start running up is roughly north-south, too narrow to show up clearlym from satellite. Walled trees on west side. North, a middling-traffic approximately E-W street, then generally open space. Apartment building left, big trees ahead, smaller trees and space to the right. Not enough seen. Is that the water tower glimpsed as they turn west down that alley? OR just a nearby tall-ish building? I think the latter. Hard to pin down. I'll try solar altitude. Short shadows ... I dunno, 75% - 80% ? That would mean roughly anywhere around 12:05-12:55 by the solar calculator. Solar noon at 12:30, highest point 76.18 degrees for a few minutes. I'd say at this point time is 12:30 give or take 15 minutes. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:04, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

Video Analysis

I thought these two from Abu Usama would be easy to place. Both filmed from the same location, which is approximately indicated below. The unique red-and-black awning lining up with the water tower was key - the other lines - stubby minaret, main minaret, bend in the ring road, power pole, fell into place from there.

Houla AbuUsama vid position.png

The time is just about solar noon, 12:30 PM (most, but not all, west-facing walls are lit up), with a slight difference between the two (altitude visibly changes, no opinion which is earlier). Better time estimate(s), hit locations, etc. forthcoming. One note: the first of the two shows objects falling after bursts of gunfir, at 0:02 and 0:07. Shell casings from a gun on the roof above him?

Time range from two particular buildings, one with the west face lit, one not. Too many graphics, so just trust me. Azimuth range, greater than 178, less than 199, more likely closer to the upper end (as most faces at different angles are lit). I say 12:44 is a good center time, az 192.64. +/- 4 or 5 min. Exact buildings hit - never mind. We don't know what they are anyway, so why more Xs on a another map? --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:59, 17 January 2013 (UTC)