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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Syria: Massacre of the Jet

September 15
last edits Sept. 25

This is an especially interesting example of Syrian market attack that deserves its own post, and now, even if incomplete (that is, it's worth completing eventually, so I'll lock myself into it with this post)

War News Updates reports 27 civilians were killed and dozens wounded "after a Syrian army fighter jet crashed into a marketplace in the Syrian town of Ariha in Idlib province." Citing Reuters citing locals, they say civilians were mainly killed, and "The plane had dropped a bomb on the main Bazaar street at low altitude only seconds before it crashed," Ghazal Abdullah, a resident who was close to the incident, told Reuters."

* Reuters report: Syrian jet crashes into market in rebel-held area, 27 killed 
"The plane had dropped a bomb on the main Bazaar street at low altitude only seconds before it crashed," said Ghazal Abdullah, a resident who was close to the incident.
The Observatory said the jet was not shot down.

* The Guardian (almost the same but adds a photo of wreckage and a different video)

Ariha, Idlib province  was recently conquered by the al-Qaeda-led "Army of Conquest," with the most overt Turkish assistance yet, a bit after Idlib city. As such it will be another Islamist occupation area like in Douma. All the reliable sources are dead or fled, if more recently than in Douma.

The opposition VDC (Douma-based, co-founder long-ago abducted by local Islamists, or...) lists 34 dead in Idlib this day under the note ""Massacre of the Jet, "several people martyred due to the falling of a Meg Jet on the local market in the city." 32 men, 2 boys, no females (listed). Generic Videos, not reviewed: 1 - 2 - 3.

Suicide Crash? By WarNews' report, No shooting is mentioned in the crash, the SOHR specified the plane was not shot down ... original source forthcoming - SOHR reported that the jet was not shot down, so ... all damage should be from its bombs or, less-obvious to me ... are they saying the jet bombed the market then crashed in without being shot down? The SOHR may be hearing - from their remaining (Islamist) sources in Ariha - that regime jets are suicide-attacking markets now, just to kill civilians and make an expensive and illogical new case for a "no fly zone."

SOHR reports
As Reuters said, "the observatory said the jet was not shot down." I looked for their own words on it, but it seems to be something they said to reporters, not in their own dispatches. Between their Facebook page (with an unusual blank span that day, with thin days before and after) and their website, there's no mention of this aspect of implied suicide attack. It's not mentioned if it was shot down or not. But Reuters says they did say this, so they probably did. Was it retracted or just not repeated?

August 3: toll from "aerial bombardment and crashing of a warplane in the vegetable market area in the city has risen to 17, including a child." It also says "destiny of the warplane crew is still unknown" This suggests, logically, they didn't die with jet but just willingly sacrificed the jet to parachute out, willingly, over Islamist areas, all to ... make the regime look bad and become "unknown destiny"? Or ... it was shot down. (and still maybe the 'hit the market' part was made up - or true ...)

Later: "it rose to 34 they are three children under the age of 16 and a citizen woman and 25 men over the age of 18, and five unidentified men the number of deaths who have died as a result of warplanes bombing and the warplane crash on the vegetable market area in ​​the city of Ariha, and the number of deaths is likely to rise because there are more than 60 critical wound and others are missing."

VDC has only 34 with that note, no rise, but divided 32 men and 2 boys - implied, one boy and one woman listed as men - but there are no apparent female names. One the 4 unidentified with two identified maybe? Repeat family names include Mahloub, Badawi, etc.

Jet Evidence
Getty Images/Anadolu Agency has a photo (detail at right) to support the claim "a Syrian regime warplane crashed into a market in Syrias northwestern Idlib province, according to a local civil defense official," an event with no mentioned shooting, but 35 civilian deaths.

More wreckage:
* same or similar piece from a different angle (high res) 
* Engine and other wreckage all together at the curb.

And so, in this earlier precedent for jets attacking markets, there was proof. Some flag-marked jet wreckage, next to melons. It looks arguably natural how it came together, but ... to me, the metal appears to be quite weathered, having spent some time outdoors in this same crumpled state. From the close-cropped photo, the size of material appears easily transported and planted. If there's much more of it, maybe not. If this jet was shot down long ago and had its wreckage saved as a prop and later dropped here to prove jet-on-market action ... what does that say about later alleged jet-on-market attacks?

attack site video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToagdK4e_fE
weathered bodies? Maybe dead 2 days already, placed in a van, now scattered realistically at the blast site? Other bodies seem clearly fresh in their injuries - why is one man injured mainly beneath pre-exisiting bandages torn open? Etc. 

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