Talk:U.S. Air Strikes in Syria

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I only saw some tweets that U.S. air strikes in Syria is now a real thing needing a page here. In general, ostensibly, this is a section of a US-ISIS conflict page, now a step out of the realm of Iraq-ISIS Conflict of 2014. Anyway, I call dibs on page creation since no one else did. I'll have more to say maybe tomorrow, so someone beat me to it and take a first closer look at the news. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:13, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

I can offer a SANA statement or two, and a map of targets. While the US of course insists they didn't ask for permission (would spoil the whole breaking-international-law fun), they did inform Syria about what to come, and SANA doesn't sound especially outraged. Also seems they shared intelligence both ways, and the targets look very plausible and legitimate, except perhaps that spot in northern Idlib where they allegedly targeted "Khorasan", the latest bogeyman nobody ever had heard about before. So it looks like so far it is somewhat reasonable, but of course we all expect or at least fear that once the "dams" of bombing Syria are broken, it will escalate to help them finally reach their goal of getting rid of Assad, maybe with another false-flag. And maybe under pretext of fighting this new virtual group. Anyway, for the moment it's good for the Kurds and everybody suffering under ghoul rule. --CE (talk) 13:29, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
Also, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar participated. Jordanian planes returned to bases safely. Russian FM issued a disapproving statement 'those who initiate unilateral applications of force will bear full international legal responsibility for the consequences'. --Resup (talk) 13:52, 23 September 2014 (UTC)


Aron Lund on the Khorasan group. He knows as much as we would do had we read the NYT the other day. ;o) --CE (talk) 19:10, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
It may be in reference to a rather broad area shown here on a map , or/likely to a messianic end-of-time idea, "If you see the Black Banners coming from Khurasan go to them immediately, even if you must crawl over ice, because indeed amongst them is the Caliph, Al Mahdi " Mahdi. (Or just too much facebooking ) --Resup (talk) 20:05, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Rita Katz: The "Khurasan Group": A Misleading Name in the Politics of War--Resup (talk) 10:23, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

U.S. Airstrike Kills Khorasan Group Leader Muhsin al-Fadhli, Pentagon Says.

Some time before 2000 was fighting in Chechnya -TASS, in Khattab group. --Resup (talk) 23:45, 21 July 2015 (UTC)

World Reaction

Russia was quick to condemn the airstrikes. TheWashington Post noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin — the patron saint of territorial integrity * — decried the airstrikes as a violation of Syria's sovereignty.

As quoted, the problem would be "U.S. measures to target militants in Syria lack authority without buy-in from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." But, they say, "Not only did Syrian dictator Bashar Assad refrain from lashing out against the American-led airstrikes, he seemingly gave a very coded thumbs up," citing tweets by AFP: "#BREAKING Syria backs 'any international effort' in fight against jihadists" and David Rothkopf "Tacit acceptance of strikes on IS by Syria, no renunciation, could provide int'l law fig leaf, at least dampen controversy, for Obama at UN"

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting (subscription) that the U.S.-led effort involved coordination with the Free Syrian Army, which has also just become the recipient of some American weapons.

Tacitly by extension, Assad may approve of that too? --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:56, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

  • this probably refers to how Russia sent a Spetsnaz sniper team to Kiev in February to shoot police, provoke unrest, and bring down the Yanukovych government )source + notes). That is a pretty blatant violation, which set the stage for everything in Ukraine since ... bad Putin! --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:56, 23 September 2014 (UTC)

Lavrov: we were honored by the second place in the global threats list (from President Obama speech): the first place, Ebola virus, second place, Russian aggression in Europe, third place, ISIL and other terrorists --Resup (talk) 16:43, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

"Collateral Damage"

As of the maybe-pivotal Bir Mahli incident in May, 2015, US Central Command had denied any knowledge in support of any claim of any civilin, singular or plural, actually dying even accidentally from what's now 3,500+ strikes so far in Iraq and Syria against "ISIS" forces. Daily Beast reports May 5 CENTCOM is preparing to admit admits they have in fact killed civilians - two of them, acknowledged so far. They said details would be made available soon about when, where, who, and mostly why. No one would say more just yet, urged the public to wait for the big event. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:51, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

May 22: Centcom reveals that the two fatalities were children, "likely" killed in the Nov. 5-6 strike on the "Khorasan group" HQ. (Missy Ryan and Karen DeYoung, Washpost via Stars and Stripes) They're still investigating three more possible civilian deaths, 2 in Iraq, one in Syria. The report explains in the one case,
In a report released in November, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said one of the children killed was a 5-year-old girl named Daniya Ali al-Haj Qaddour, the daughter of a fighter from the Islamist group, Jabhat al-Nusra. Video footage that the group said was filmed in the aftermath of those strikes showed destroyed buildings and a vast field of rubble. The group also posted what it said was a photo of a young girl in pigtails identified as Daniya.
Centcom said it was not aware at the time of the strikes that any children lived at those sites.

Maybe they didn't. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:14, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Also from that report, people should consider:

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the Centcom findings, said investigators faced a difficult task in establishing the results of air attacks in a conflict with few U.S. troops on the ground.

So why is it so easy to assess the results of and lay the blame for alleged Syrian air strikes in this same giant blind spot, when the victims often have skulls hacked open by swords and stuff like that? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:14, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

The Blame for Ber Mahli

Judging from the VDC, the SOHR, the media reception, and general commentary, it seems everyone's totally convinced this was in fact one of the coalition airstrikes in the area that day. And it very well could be, I'll even say probably, but ... just to pla genius contrarian if nothing else, I note: considering the past reliability of SOHR and other activist-based reports about "regime" bombing attacks and other "regime" crimes that turned out to not be that, there is some cause for skepticism here. The evidence is what will make the actual truth of the matter more clear, as and if it becomes available.

They say a Daesh convoy had passed through, that was called in, and homes were then destroyed. That's worth a little hm, hm? Did the convoy leave any vehicles behind? Did they find out who called it in and hit their homes with mortars? Did thoe coalition hit the tattle-tales on purpose? Did someone else on the rebel side - teaming with ISIS or not - just hit civilians at random to honor slain Hayyani and smear the coalition with a convincing activist call-in to SOHR?

Okay, I get that there's no clear motive for rebels to smear a US-led air-war coalition in Syria when you've been hoping for years to get them working for you across Syria. Deash, sure, but they'd have to convince SOHR. But consider ... at some point even the FSA types will give up, and might mark that with a screw-you to their would-be air force in the north. And isn't there talk lately of the rebels being confident they'll be getting an Arab-led no-fly zone, with all-Arab, all-Sunni target call-ins, presumably Saudi-led given their recent break-out role in Yemen?

If so, maybe this was their screw-you moment, and we can likely expect bombs in Daraa province and then wherever works ... (if any of it works?) --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:32, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Continuing with that thought ... a report in Independent, May 5 adds new (to me) twists. "Major Curtis Kellogg, a spokesperson for Central Command, says they did bomb that place and killed about 50 people, but they were all ISIS, and they had “no indication that any civilians were killed”. Abdulrahman countered that, telling the Independent “The US should admit responsibility and investigate who gave them the wrong information ... We have names, ages, pictures, videos, everything…how do they know it was Isis fighters that were killed? Did (the Americans) go down and count?” Fair points. I haven't seen the videos, but I would have to favor the SOHR here.

But Kellog has a case. As quoted:

"Prior to the air strikes, Kurdish forces, who held the town before leaving after being attacked by ISIL (Isis), reported there were no civilians present in that location and that there had not been any civilians present for two weeks prior to the coalition air strikes,” Major Kellogg added.

Shorsh Hassan, a spokesperson for a Kurdish group, seemed to back that up earlier telling the AP that the town was emptied of civilians before the fighting really started. "However, Salem al-Meslet, a spokesperson for the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition, said it appeared the air strikes had most likely killed civilians."

“Available information from activists on the ground, and the fact that the US-led coalition has conducted air strikes in the area, lend credence to reports that it was a US-led coalition that caused the civilian casualties,” he added.

So we have claims of an emptied town and a Daesh convoy moving in, some 50 supposed fighters occupying an emptied building, and that's the only people who could be there, getting themselves cleanly-blown up ... vs. the evacuation claims are wrong, there were enough people sleeping in their homes like usual that 64 of them killed in a strike on an apparently random building (?). Could be, but here's my hybrid theory:

The town was evacuated. Poeople drove off, mostly to nearby, and safely. But one large group, a bus or whatever, was intercepted by Daesh. Those fleeing civilians were driven right back, to their own homes would be smart, in disposable vehicles flashing ISIS flags. They would somehow be made to take positions inside, perhaps tied up, locked-in, or more likely drugged, maybe to death, since cause might seem obvious soon enough ... somehow make this occupation but not the finer details pretty obvious so it will be called in ... and they walk out the back, knowing they've been called in. Something to that effect might give Daesh their reason to call for their own "no-fly zone." --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:58, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Did US-led coalition missiles dropped on Ber Mahli Syria kill the 69 civilians that died? Kimberly Jones, NewsHub - a detailed and worthwhile piece. The 69 number is not explained though. This cites some non-IS rebels claiming Daesh somehow set up the civilians to die, but also remained with them, so 6 of their fighters died. An unnamed “Spokesperson” for the FSA told them “Daesh forced the villagers not to break [when bombed] in order to make them a civilian shield in battle.” The account gives no detail on how, and feels like an un-informed guess. Another guy Hadi Albahra, National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, seems to think he had the intel but no one asked him or gave any warning. He said: “This situation and the horrible losses among civilians shows how important it is to have full cooperation between the FSA units on the ground & the coalition’s air force. The coalition should know that whatever they did was not enough, they need to do more. ISIS are among the civilians, and they often bring their families.” He told Jones, as she writes, "The primary reason the FSA wants to be involved is to ensure citizens are protected, avoiding an incident like what happened in Ber Mahli." --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:46, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Grain Silos

Aleppo Province: 2 workers of Manbej Mills died due to the coalition strikes that targeted the mills and grain silos in the city of Manbej yesterday night. These air raids resulted in the burning of warehouse of sacks filling grain. The raids also targeted 2 broken tanks, armored vehicle and troop carrier which are left when an islamic brigade withdrew from the areas after violent clashes the regime forces and with IS fighters.

If not by mistake, are they hoping to cut into Syrians' food supply in this way? Or just fishing for a response from Damascus, maybe do something "they might regret," so we can make them regret it? Syria's air defenses being what they are, maybe not. But with disposable coalition pilots to toss into the pit and soften any US losses, maybe... --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:13, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

The US military responded to the claims later Monday morning, according to Reuters, saying that Islamic State vehicles were adjacent to the grain storage facility, and that there is no evidence of civilian casualties.
The destruction of grain silos in Manbij only killed civilians, said Rami Abdulrahman, the head of the Observatory, which claims to have a network of sources throughout Syria. "These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people," he said Monday. Abdulrahman could not offer an exact casualty count. The airstrikes "destroyed the food that was stored there,” he added, according to AP. Neither Reuters nor AP could immediately verify his claims.
"We are aware of media reports alleging civilian casualties, but have no evidence to corroborate these claims," said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman at the U.S. military's Central Command. He promised that the military would look into the report further, saying it took such matters seriously.

Kafr Daryan, Sept. 23

We didn't catch this first time around, but about 12 civilians were reportedly killed Sept. 23 in Idlib, as a new report in the Independent on the Bir Mahli incident passes on

... observers claimed as many as a dozen died on 23 September last year when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria's Idlib province.
The village was reported to be a Jabhat al-Nusra stronghold and US officials believed members of the Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international aircraft. But at a House Foreign Affairs Committee briefing afterwards, Syrian rebel commanders described women and children being hauled from the rubble after a home for displaced civilians was destroyed.

This led to anti-US protests in Syria, but a Central Command spokesman said thay had “no evidence to corroborate claims of civilian casualties”. This was of course just to be consistent - whenever anyone is accused of killing civilians with their bombs in Syria, the US is slow to ascribe blame. Right? When it's a place full of "displaced people" that's rebel-administered, they know the massacre there may have happened after the bombing run, to demonize that. Further, the anti-US protesters may not have considered - the US military would have no obvious reason to intentionally hit that particular facility. If someone called the target in, they're partly to blame. And if Daesh simply shelled the hostage house with heavy mortars to demonize the attack, they're pretty much totally to blame. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:32, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

Gas and Power Plants

In eastern Syria, U.S.-led forces bombed a gas plant controlled by the Islamic State outside Deir al-Zor city, wounding several of the militant group's fighters, the Observatory said.
The United States has said it wants strikes to target oil facilities held by Islamic State to try to stem a source of revenues for the group.
The raid hit Kuniko gas plant, which feeds a power station in Homs that provides several provinces with electricity and powers oil fields generators, the Observatory said.

Strikes from Turkey

Recently, Turkey allowed to use its airbases for airstrikes against IS in Syria. Turkey's Foreign Ministry is quoted saying that

"The cabinet of ministers has given approval for the stationing in our country's bases of manned and unmanned aircraft of the U.S. and other coalition countries ... taking part in air operations against Islamic State," , adding that Turkey's own aircraft would also be deployed.

  • U.S. drone hits Syria in first lethal strike launched from Turkey, By Phil Stewart And Tulay Karadeniz, 5.8.2015, Reuters
--Resup (talk) 17:52, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

Aleppo power plant?

This was posted on Facebook on October 10th, along with a photo of the 5-unit plant with one unit on fire: (Another version of the photo)

A military source: on Saturday morning October 10th two F-16 fighters belonging to Washington and the International Coalition violated Syrian airspace and targeted civilian infrastructure in a flagrant violation of international law, destroying two power plants in the residential area of ‪#‎Radwaniyah‬ in eastern ‪#‎Aleppo‬ countryside, causing an interruption of the power supply for the region.

The power plant shown in the photo is a "1,000 megawatt thermal plant in five units build by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in 1995-1998" located in ISIS-held areas east of Aleppo along the M15 motorway. Some 10 km further east is Rasin El Aboud or the Kuwayres Military Airport, that has been under siege for some 3 years.

At first I was extremely skeptical of the story. There is an ongoing military operation to break the siege. The SAA was some 10 km away from the power plant when the first F-16 strike happened. Now they are 5 km away. It is unlikely the damage is a result of fighting in the area. It was however generally expected that the SAA would liberate the power plant in the coming days. I thought the power plant east of Aleppo was right were the front line of the SAA attack was. I thought it was most likely hit from a stray shell from either side. Or maybe ISIS blew it up when they retreated. I did see this photo, so most likely something had happened.

A similar incident happened in Lugansk in 2014. The Aidar Battalion was accused of blowing up the thermal power plant in Shchastya ("Happiness"), just north of the Seversky Donets River. Later it turned out to be a Novorossiyan shell.

The plant was attacked again on October 18th:

A military source told SANA that warplanes of the Washington alliance violated Syrian airspace and attacked civilian infrastructure in Mare’a, Tal Sha’er, and al-Bab in Aleppo countryside on Sunday. The source added that the warplanes attacked the biggest electric power plant that feeds Aleppo city, which resulted in cutting off power from most neighborhoods in Aleppo city.

The Aleppo story has gained support from high level sources, including Putin. The US strike on the Aleppo power plant is also confirmed by the Russian MoD map. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:43, 23 October 2015 (UTC)

More sources