Talk:U.S. airstrike on Al-Jinah mosque

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This is a talk page for discussing U.S. airstrike on Al-Jinah mosque. For sources, claims and narratives see the main page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)

What's The Mosque?

Al-Jinah Mosque satellite.png

The complex

Is it possible we're all confused here about what's the mosque vs. the meeting place? Christiaan Triebert's satellite view shows no minaret on the "mosque," as everyone takes it. There is this room that looks like a prayer hall, or any large meeting space, perhaps. It has religious books (all Korans, or more varied? It was a religious school, the sign says). Only one building in this cluster of 3 seems to have a dome, and that's the northwest one (someone noted it also has a speaker on it, maybe to broadcast the call to prayer). Only one building in this cluster of 3 might have a minaret here, and it's the northeast one (halfway along the left side in this view, appears sideways, shadow runs barely out into the street, and might be just an illusion). But there's no prayer hall there, just a courtyard (as the handy no-roof view shows) And Bilal Abdul Karim's video shows there's no minaret on that building. Was there once? Was this all the mosque or mosque/school/maeeting halls, with the dome and speakers over here, the hall there, and the minaret maybe nowhere?

Triebert gives this Wikimapia link 'Umar ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb mosque and religious school. The shape marks out the whole area as "mosque," not specifying which building. How long has it been known this was a mosque? Clicking history, revision 1 was adding the polygon, 2 days ago, probably based on the claims from local rebels. So that helps none. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:03, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

The Pentagon says they hit the correct target and their photo shows the mosque intact - meaning the mosque must be the small north-western building of the three. The Russians say they have no doubt that the US targeted terrorists and an inquiry should find out who the dead people are "the so-called witnesses" are talking about. --CE (talk) 14:10, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Re-constructing what this was ever based on: AirWars.org's Samuel Oakford tweeted "US official says that they were targeting an "Al Qaeda meeting place" that was across from the mosque in Aleppo. "We took the strike."" Citing this, Triebert concluded "Houses opposite of mosque (see satellite image) were "Al Qaeda meeting place". So the U.S. is seen as releasing photo proof that they lied, since everyone knows the place that was hit was "the mosque," as local sources said. And we don't like Trump, so accusations stand almost as if they were against Assad or Putin. But actually, it could be one of the "houses" is what they call the mosque, and the "mosque" is the meeting place they were talking about, CENTCOM wasn't that stupid, and Triebert wasn't so clever. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:59, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
The Al Masdar article I've linked (from the night to 18 Mar) quotes a Navy spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis as saying “The mosque is still standing and relatively unscathed,” [...] "The building we targeted was adjacent” and the strike “clearly hit the intended target,” he added. This seems to be their position after initial confusion was cleared up. --CE (talk) 14:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
And on the Idlib-Aleppo confusion (CENTCOM claiming the strike was in Idlib province): that may be based on who they were following: Idlib-based ... people. They didn't notice the province boundary between their usual place and the meeting place nearby, so called it Idlib. In support, all victims listed by the VDC (3 civilians were reported to them so far), are from Idlib, specifically Sarmada (10 km nw of al-Jinah). --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:25, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
The place is well inside the Idlib plain and even the surrounding villages are marked as Idlib on wikimapia. A rather trivial error to obsess about. --CE (talk) 14:45, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
But there's a video of a child found under the rubble, complicating the militant meeting story ... will have to review that. And the VDC says one of these Idlib people was a woman. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:59, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Here is the video of the child being rescued from the rubble by White Helmets. I think it is fakery. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:19, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, mate. I still hadn't had a look yet, but that wouldn't be an new surprise. The kid seems to have a head wound, but it could be a minor scalp wound (like scraped with a stick, for an easy real-blood effect for almost no real injury), too little dust, barely covered, no clear reason to be crippled, and so no good reason he couldn't have rescued himself from this light debris. Very easily faked. Could be real, but far from convincing. And IF they fake the presence of a child, you gotta wonder why. (I was expecting to see this kid on the martyrs list. I thought it sounded like he was dead). --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:22, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Here is another White Helmets video of a child crawling out from under the ruble. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:09, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Jenan Moussa on Twitter: "6/ I tried to get info on mosque complex itself. Here's what I learned: A=new praying area, B=new meeting area, C=old mosque, D=IDP building"

IDP building strikes me ... would they attend services in the hall maybe, or other... gatherings ... just as U.S. strikes were planned? Is this a glimpse of how and why "IDPs" die at such rates under various alleged bombing? Etc.? --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:29, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Owners of the mosque(s)

According to Jenan Moussa's twitter report I've just linked on the front page, the complex belongs to the "Tablighis", which seem to be a missionary Sunni movement (never heard about it). Part A and (destroyed) Part B of the large building seem to have been clearly separated according to her report. Given the environment in the middle of nowhere between villages with enough mosques found on wikimapia, and the "old mosque" large enough for the couple of houses in walking distance, I have no problem believing that this was a rare occasion of "surgical strike" against something not exactly civil hosted by that missionary Sunni group. --CE (talk) 22:21, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

I noticed the same thing by looking at the history of the building on Google Earth. The mosque was built after 2013, at a time when the area had been taken over by Islamist rebels. I also noted the high quality of the construction; the building is covered in natural stone both inside and outside. This is part of the Islamist shadow state building. The construction was funded by Gulf donors from Saudi Arabia or Qatar.
Al-Qaeda are Islamists. Wherever their headquarters are, I am sure they would call the place a "mosque" or a "religious school". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:35, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Note the two telecommunication facilities on the field to the south.

Tablighi Jamaat does not seem to be directly connected to Salafism, the Gulf, or al-Qaeda. Here are two anti-Jihadist articles that make the connection.

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:06, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

This is a more insightful account of Jamaat Tablighi and its spread in the Arab world from its origins in South Asia. Jamaat Tablighi emphasizes missionary work rather than jihad. It's entirely possible that Nusra would requisition their buildings. The first name as surname suggests South Asian origin - South Asian Muslims traditionally don't have surnames. Pmr9 (talk) 14:47, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Command center?

There are two telecommunications facilities on the field south of the mosque compound, as seen on the photo published by Jenan Moussa. Neither of them existed on August 26, 2014 or any time the area was under Syrian government control. The one on the right is totally new. The building on the left is older but lacked any towers; most likely used for farming. Is some Turkish mobile phone operator building a new network in northern Syria. It seems more likely that they are connected to the mosque compound and serve whatever activity is happening there. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:20, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't know how unusual it is, but the NW new building in the mosque complex has its own communications tower (I think?) at its NW corner. In line with that thought, this might have been a communications-heavy place, likely for militant purposes. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:03, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
This place reminds me of the terrorist command center in Dar-Taaza / Daaret ‘Izza that was hit by Russian Kalibr missiles on August 19, 2016. Both places are about 17 km (10 miles, is that a CIA standard?) from the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:28, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
P.S. - I thinks this site was chosen because it has a direct 68.6 km line of sight over the border mountains and past the Amik Plain to the Turkish telecommunication facility this 1800 meters high peak (Google maps) of the Belen Mountains outside Iskanderun. Wikimapia lists it as Eski İskenderun Hava Radarı. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

I looked at the SMART News video. The towers are power pylons with transformers. (like this.) I do not know why you would need so much power in the middle of a field. Maybe they are wells with water pumps. There is a similar but older pylon to the east of the compound. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:26, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

May not mean much, running higher voltage (to reduce losses) power line from somewhere to elsewhere, and making a lower voltage exit via transformer at that location, but does not have to terminate there, so does not have to be a lot of power delivered specifically there (could be, but does not have to)--Resup (talk) 00:12, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Power poles, of course ... there is a sort of mini-town here between towns. Might be a legit place to run extra lines ... but anything new in the last couple years is suspicious. Syria's gotten real weird lately. This theory sounds pretty interesting, Petri. Don't drop it too easily, it might be something. --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:29, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Here is a very early tweet by White Helmets showing a blue pickup truck in front of the mosque entrance. The truck was moved before any of the videos were made. The truck is seen in the same place in the American post-strike photo. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:00, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Blaming Russia

In reports where Syrian or Russian forces are blamed, this is usually (not always) known and claimed from the beginning: Syrian jets destroy a mosque, Russian jets bomb a hospital, etc. This time, the jets must have been flying out of Turkey by coalition forces, just a jaunt across the border to hit this mosque. But what should be a simple picture wasn't clear to everyone at first.

SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman reported “The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, most of them civilians.” (AFP via Hindustan Times) Why did his sources leave the identity out? Were they hoping they could pin it on Russia or Syria?

Some people went ahead and did. Sakir Khader tweeted #Syria: At least 75 civilians killed, tens wounded in a heavy Russian airstrike on a mosque in the rebel-held village of al-Jinā, w-Aleppo." He was soon tweeting images on English-marked bomb debris and calling it an apparent U.S. attack after all). But some news reports ran with that claim, blaming Russia. 21st Century Wire cites two reports:

  • Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya English At least 42 dead in Russian raids on Aleppo mosque (re-posted by like-minded sites like Mojahedin.org). It cites Abdel Rahman's "unidentified warplanes" eport with its wiggle room, and wiggled to note the SOHR "determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used. But the skies are crowded over Aleppo province, with Syrian regime and Russian warplanes as well as US-led coalition aircraft carrying out air strikes there." So it was probably Russian. That's a s close as they get to an explanation.
  • Kurdish ARA News reports Russia bombs Aleppo mosque, killing dozens of civilians.
“The Russian Air Force committed a massacre in northern Aleppo by targeting a mosque full of civilians during evening prayers. 44 people are confirmed dead,” local media activist Salim Halwani told ARA News.

Arabic language searches likely have more such reports, and some of those will likely stick in many minds as the last thing they saw as they sign up to wage Jihad against Russia over this. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:34, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

As noted below, the relative few fatalities reported to the VDC are blamed on a strange mix of Russian and Syrian air attack, in a rather fragmentary record.--Caustic Logic (talk) 06:23, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Victims

The VDC so far lists two victims, both from Idlib, both civilians. All killed in "Jaina" by warplane shelling. It doesn't specify the mosque, and they died on different days (March 16 and 17) but these are the only people from across the border ever bombed there (Arabic search says the same). No one told them about the 50+ militants (I presume)? According to this, it was a joint strike: Putin killed one guy, Assad bombed the other one, and as we've seen, silly Trump took the credit. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:07, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

A third victim somehow didn't appear, it's a woman, and here's all three:
  • Khadouj Ahmad Abd al-Gafour, adult female (mixed meeting, really?) from Sarmada killed 3-16 by Syrian bombing
  • Mostafa Naser Yasin, adult male, from Sarmada, killed 3-16 by Russian bombing
  • Abd al-Gafour Abd al-Gafour, adult male, from unclear, killed by Syrian bombing, 3-17.

Khadouj must be AddelGafour's sister, not wife, if they're serious Sunnis. If not, they wouldn't be at such a meeting. AddelGafour has the same first name and last name, which is odd but not unheard of. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:19, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Khadouj had her entry changed: now it says she's a pharmacist, and she died elsewhere too - Aleppo: Eibeen Simon (Abian Sam'an on Wikimapia, just down the road). So basically the same place between the towns is implied anyway. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

And here's the proper list to include them and likely anyone else that's added. All "warplane shelling, from anywhere in Syria, rebel or not, March 15-18: at the moment, 26 entries, and most seem to be part of this (see table below). So far, every one of them is listed as a civilian. Despite the heavy presence of Islamist forces in the area, I suspect they'll keep saying none at all managed to die in this attack on a prominent new community center that's probably just as dedicated to the Jihad as the local fighters are. Not running security, attending or volunteering un-armed, or anything. They all just stayed away, letting the enemy have nothing but civilians to kill ... which would be odd if it were true anyway. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:11, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

They've given Jenan Moussa a list with 15 names of alleged victims (14 men, 1 woman) while claiming 57 died in total. --CE (talk) 14:50, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
I have a request in to have this transliterated. Scanning the list, I didn't see the woman's first name (Khadouj) nor the Abd al-Gafour family name she shares. So it's not clear if there's any overlap between the VDC's list and Moussa's. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

I got a transliteration from a contact on the No Syria Intervention list, may be improved as needed:

  1. Mafid 'Akal (al-tuaamah) (text wasn't clear if it was Mafid or Maqid, but it seems to be the first. Caustic Logic (talk) 10:11, 21 March 2017 (UTC))
  2. Mustafa Nshaa'ath
  3. Ahmad Nuri
  4. Hasan'Amr 'Arabi
  5. Abd al-Latif Ma'adl (Ma'aarah)
  6. Mustafa Nassir Yaseen (Sarmada)
  7. Naseem 'Abbas (Maara')
  8. Asma 'Aeel al-Hamadah (female name)
  9. Nadim Qababi Alsamlaqab (Aleppo) (father of Bahsir and...)('abu bashir wa hu ma'aroof lazi al-da'ween)
  10. wife of (zawja) Nadeem Qababi (Aleppo)
  11. Saleh Fatloon (Aleppo)
  12. Abdelrahman 'Abood (Ma'raatah) (note this is different from #5 by 1 letter)
  13. Safooth Alzayat (Aleppo)
  14. Abd al-Qadi Jaanaath
  15. Abdelrahim Basaamih

Entry #8 is a woman's name and #10 is a wife of, so it seems there are two women on this list. #6 Mr. Yasin appears is the only of 3 VDC listees that's also included here. All Ma'aarah type places (#5,7,12) might (or might not) mean Ma'ara, just north of Atarib, nearby.

Entry #8 Asma might be the VDC's Alain Hamadeh, listed as a woman, but with a man's name - there are 3 with that name (her and two men) and a Darwish man, all from nearby Urm al-Kubra (Great Orme), dated 3-18, killed by Russian shelling (all 4 here). So is this a mislabeled crossover? If so, we have 15+2+3=20 claimed so far, perhaps 4 women included, still no ID for the child(ren) dug out, and perhaps a need for a table. Also, of some 58+ dead, we still have a solid majority not listed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 02:55, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Updated list with 31 killed, 26 wounded (= 57 victims?). --CE (talk) 03:39, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
Dang, maybe I should have waited. In fact, I suggested waiting to see what better-yet lists appear. --Caustic Logic (talk) 04:39, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
White Helmets release a list (Arabic) of 54 names, plus 10 unidentified, for a total of 64 dead. @Sy Reporter on Twitter --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:59, 20 March 2017 (UTC)
White Helmets has two lists with 29 and 26 names. The first word of the caption is different. These could be the dead (29?) and wounded.
Notice the column marked "العمر" (The age). These all seem to be fighting aged men. Two people are marked as 65 and 79(0?). The U.S. is particularly interested in targeting al-Qaeda members who fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. So in theory these could still be active combatants. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:56, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Good work. I'll sort out these lists soon. I tried looking for the 10 unidentified (name should be short and identical 10X over) but I guess they're left off. Yeah, of course. 26 + 29 is 54. The tweet says these are the dead, so maybe dead right away vs. died later. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:24, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Nope, it's dead vs. wounded. Saleh Waziruddin tells me it's 29 martyrs in "massacre of/in congregation of Umar Al-Khattab in Al-Jinah" (plus I hear ten unID, from an unreliable source) and 26 wounded but alive. Of course the tables show, right-to-left, name, age, and area from. Names forthcoming. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:21, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Table

Okay, needed or not, here's a table (incomplete at the moment). Those with a ? at the end appear on this expanded VDC query for all air-attack dead March 16-18 and might be part of this. None is specified, and some others I've included as probably belonging. Only one kid in Deraa was left off totally (as the list is now, bigger than it was). Otherwise, the sources are those linked above. AG = age/gender. (Adult male isn't always known, but presumed, may need corrected in spots... Alphabetical by transliterated family name. Numbering later. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:24, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Note, that the men marked Unidentified 1-10 (IDs 186367 - 186376) have this note: "Russian bombing of the Omar bin Khattab Mosque"
I guess White Helmets dug up ten bodies of adult men, but no one at the site could or would identify them. Was this an al-Qaeda cell holding a secret meeting in the cellar?
P.S. . I note that @mohammedalnor1, who posted photos of five dead men with beards has had his Twitter account suspended. Twitter seems very sensitive to anything that might be critical of America. (I saved copies of the photos.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:12, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
Listed fatalities by source
# AG White Helmets Moussa VDC other
# AM Naseem 'Abbas (Maara')
# AM Abd al-Gafour Abd al-Gafour
# AF Khadouj Ahmad Abd al-Gafour (Idlib: Sarmada)
# AM Abdelrahman 'Abood (Ma'raatah)
# AM Mafid 'Akal (al-tuaamah) Mofeed Akel (al-Jinah)
# AM Hasan'Amr 'Arabi
# AM Abdelrahim Basaamih
# AM Mohammad Nidal Darweesh (Aleppo: Great Orme)
# AM Saleh Fatloon (Aleppo)
# AM Abdo Hamada (Aleppo: Great Orme)
# AF Alain Hamadeh (Aleppo: Great Orme)
# AF Asma 'Aeel al-Hamadah


# AM Mohammad Hamadeh (Aleppo: Great Orme)
# AM Abd al-Qadi Jaanaath
# AM Abd al-Latif Ma'adl (Ma'aarah)


# AM Ahmad Nouri
# AM Mustafa Nshaa'ath
# Nadim Qababi Al-Samlaqab (Aleppo) (Abu Bahsir and...)
# AF wife of (zawja) Nadim Qababi (Aleppo)
# Mustafa Nassir Yaseen (Sarmada) Mostafa Naser Yasin (Sarmada)
# Safooth Alzayat (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
# AM Unidentified (Aleppo)
? AM Mohammad Azouz (Aleppo: Sayed Ali neighborhood)
? AM Ibraheem Ali al-Sobhi (Aleppo: Ksepieh)
? AM Ahmad al-Zaher (Aleppo: Maskaneh)