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Monday, June 12, 2017

Idlib Chemical Massacre: The Hostages in Abdelhamid's House?

Idlib Chemical Massacre: 
Abdelhamid al-Yousef: The Proof Man?
The Hostages in Abdelhamid's House?
June 12-??, 2017
(rough, incomplete - last edits June 22)

Doubting the Dad Dogma
Recall Abdelhamid al-Yousef, grief-stricken father, star witness, and apparent "proof man" for the alleged sarin attack of April 4. He gave several interviews in the days after the event, claiming he went out to help others after 3 regular-seeming "airstrikes," hiding his family in a basement, in case there were more. When he came back, his wife Dalal and their infant twins, Ahmed and Aya, were all dead from the heavier-than-air sarin that he never smelled or noticed until it was too late.

It's also said four neighbor kids named Saleh (a toddler boy and three older girls) were taken over to Abdelhamid's house while their mother was away at work, and died with them.

Here he's famously seen holding his alleged twins just before the burial photo op. There are ample photos showing him and apparently the same twins, going back about to their birth, which he seemingly announced on Facebook last May (<add 6-18>as Qoppa999 shows it on Twitter, May 6 - just the babies shown, and it's hard to say if they're the same, but let's say they are...<end 6-18>).

Maybe all this should just convince me he's really their dad and speaking the truth about their deaths. But of course it doesn't. I mean this could be truly his family, but this raises some problems, which we'll partly address. There are ways he could be compelled to follow along with the laundering of their apparent murder, and possible prolonged mistreatment before that... but it gets complicated. What could also explain things, and let's pause to consider this...

Hostages this young - not even a year old - can be held since and even before birth. In fact, plans for their use could surround them for just as long - A Chechen warlord raping a 'converted' Alawite concubine taken in Syria, for example, might wind up with some disposable offspring to use for things like this. Also hostages are seized from minority and patriotic families on occasion. Said birth heralded with fake news about the happy local family. The kids could be treated better than some to stay photo-ready as they grow and occasionally get photographed with a friendly captor with candy and jokes to get them smiling, on several occasions over the months, to build up the happy family photo album.

<add 6-22>Here's a question with a possibly innocent answer: why it photo time usually so soon after bath time? Hostages often get sub-standard care and hygiene.These might be kept better-fed and not visibly ill, but they may remain grubby until it's learned a photo shoot is planned, maybe with little notice. Ahmed's hair is too short to show it, but Aya's is wet in most of the photos Abdelhamid posted in a batch on Facebook on May 4. In the smaller number of select photos published earlier, this isn't as noticeable.
<end 6-22>

But ideally, if the case is important enough, they'll have a better backstory prepared for the sacrificial lambs than the ugly truth. And that story would need an actor...

This would be a big case, Ghouta II, a fake event cooked up by terrorists to wrap around a real massacre of their own civilian enemies, designed to secure outside help on their behalf. This sequel features a sudden and conspicuous revival of alleged regime sarin attacks that kill 100+, including many women and children. This is the first time anything remotely similar has been reported since the big failure in August, 2013. After 3 years of smaller chlorine attacks instead, this re-emerged in early 2017, almost surely, to see if President Trump responds much differently than Obama did in 2013. Frighteningly, he did, and the stage is set for Ghouta III, IV, and so on.

If they have unusually good tricks, this is where to use them. It would be worth casting a lead actor who's an embedded militant and trustworthy, who can give many media interviews to repeat his story widely, who's even had photos taken over a span of time with some of the hostage babies, maybe those cute fair-haired twins, sure, to seem like their dad someday ... a guy who may have been voluntarily taking low-dose sarin for a couple of days after the event, as he went stumbling and sweating around Turkey, got tested, spoke to the media some more, and kissed Erdogan's head for all he's done to help Syria. That's a guy you shouldn't trust.

Add 6/14: to the extent the fake photos option seems implausible to some readers, I'll suggest another alternate option: Mr. Yousef is seen in those photos with his real children, who happen to look a lot like a set among their hostages, so he was chosen to play their dad. As far as I can tell, that's possible (no iron-clad match-up yet), but it would be quite a coincidence.<end 6/14>

Home Locale: This is still slightly unclear, but - a witness speaking to BBC shows the damaged home associated with smoke plume #2 (see the blasts, plume/damage area 2), and off to the west, to say Amira Saleh's children were here, and Abdelhamid al-Yousef's too. By the story from the alleged Amira herself, she left her children at home as she went to work, and her brother (babysitting?) someone took them to Abdelhamid's place nearby, maybe for safety as jets passed, or after the blast at their place, it's not clarified.

Mr. Yousef mentions no bombing at his place, and a bombing might leave you dusty and wanting to go somewhere else. So it makes sens that the bombed place is the (alleged) al-Saleh home, and down the street is where they wound up. So the way I have mapped below, furthest to the west, is probably close to his reported home, if not exactly.

Note that it's the least plausible place to get any sarin blown over from the alleged sarin crater, according to the opposition's own story on the prevailing wind (it's not specified, but it's on the video they provide). As we'll see, the folks who reportedly died there don't look like any sarin was blown over them. So this is lining up ok so far...

7 Bodies in a Van
I have to thank Michael Kobs and Qoppa999 on Twitter for helping me catch some stray images that ties this together. Here's a terrible image that didn't seem directly related until now, a stray photo provided by the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS), found in a Buzzfeed report. Apparently four girls and a woman, in street clothes and bleeding from the nose, laid in the back of a van along with militant gear, one laid atop a broken truck-mounted gun.

There were initial doubts the photo even connected to this incident, though I always suspected it did, and noted that it reflects poorly on the sarin allegations (first in the post about problems with the sarin evidence). Military-grade sarin does not cause bleeding from the nose. Bleeding from the nose and not the mouth can be caused by an unseen head wound. It could also be caused by caustic gas, with no blood out the mouth for some reason. The girl also seems to have purple lips, a rare glimpse of apparent cyanosis, but with signs that contra-indicate sarin. No eye damage to suggest chlorine or the like. Maybe white foam from the mouth (specifically LACKING blood if so). The toddler in pink in the back seat (alt view) has white foam from the nose, no trace of blood. We see some cyanosis, some foam, no SLUDGE syndrome otherwise (clothes should be soiled with urine and diarrhea, and vomit), possible skull hacking on 2 victims, and some other oddities. Not the best case for sarin here being credited by the smart folks at SAMS.

Differences aside, I deduce these are all said to die in the same spot from the same poison. The spot is Abdelhamid al-Yousef's home.

The woman has swollen lips, but they don't seem irritated. Was she punched in the lip? She has a sickly color (pale and a bit yellow), puffy cheeks and eyes, and perhaps black gums. Was she ill? Did she get proper treatment?

The girl in red has strange dots under the chin, and possible swelling around them. It has a snakebite effect, but that's probably not it...  some prior injury since healed?

Could fatal head wounds be hidden? We don't the backs of any of their heads, nor a view of the blankets beneath to see if they're bloody. The woman's head seems perhaps too heavily wrapped - there could be a blood-soaked towel stuffed in there. Further, her face may be distorted, too flat and too wide, because the back of her skull is split open so wide.

Shelling injuries? Unlikely. If so, all the dust of pulverized concrete ... didn't stick to them much. All the flying shrapnel and chunks of wall ... failed to tear their newly-donated seeming clothes. Each of these two was hit ... by, it seems, exactly one fatal piece of shrapnel to the back of the head? No ... especially in "liberated" parts of Syria, that will be a sword or a hatchet. Sorry if that seems overly imaginative. This is either a caustic effect that just bypasses the mouth somehow ... no, this is deliberate execution with blows to the head. 

This was all terrible and interesting, but it seemed disconnected until I finally saw this source: a SAMS USA press release from the time that I had missed, including two new (to me) photos of this scene. Here's one of them:

The five bodies seen becomes seven, with two small bodies on the left I hadn't seen before. And from here it gets interesting in another way.

Correlating the Victims 
Of the two new bodies on the left, the toddler boy on the top, with a scraped cheek and livor mortis (red face, from being left face-down for at least a couple of hours after death) looks immediately familiar. The injuries might be clues, but anyway, this is clearly Ahmed, as given, the alleged infant son of alleged miracle survivor and local militant Abdelhamid al-Yousef. Qoppa999 agrees, providing this comparison with the famous pre-burial photo:
That's undeniable. This scene is clearly linked to the rest of the terrible story, and the details will matter.

Another photo with that press release shows the toddler in pink glimpsed in those views, lying on the back seat. Unlike the others, she has a weird, copious "foam" from the nose, and not blood. It's not realistic, seems too white and too thick, drying in place like it's a baking soda trick. But it did seem to clog her nose and she had to breathe through it, judging by the bubbles. So, I'm not sure how to call that. Such bubbles can be caused after death, but either way, it was gotten in her nose - maybe right here in the special work space of the backseat.

By appearance, this is possibly Ahmed's twin sister Aya, as given. There's nothing as distinct about her, but in context, it probably is her. Compared below:
<add 6-17>This is the same girl - in both views, see a dot on her right cheek. This doesn't appear with the living girl shown in earlier photos, but that's a weak mismatch; freckles and dots can appear and disappear. One thing than can make them appear is strangulation; petechial hemorrhages can appear on the face afterwards, usually in number. She may have more unseen, or just the one - perhaps she was strangled 'gently' (even if her neck was visible it might not be obvious) or perhaps this is just a coincidence and she died some other way. <end 6-17>

So here there are a total of seven bodies loaded in a van, likely from one spot, where combined stories had seven people dying in Mr. Yousef's home; his three, and Amira/Abeer's four kids said to be brought over. Here are all of the bodies, tentatively identified from there by deduction, using the names and ages as provided by the VDC in their Big list of fatalities:
Listed (not in same order, ages as given, might be rounded-off, etc.)
Abdelhamid Al-Yousef's family:
1) Dalal Al-Sah (wife/mother)
2) Aya (app. 1)
3) Ahmed (app. 1)
Children of the Ahmed and Amira/Abeer Al-Saleh family: 
4) Mouhammad (3)
5) Ruba (6)
6) Batoul (8)
7) Hadeel (10)

Is that a stained or a burned foot on (Hadeel? - in the red jacket with the chin marks)? It doesn't seem burned like fire, but chlorine will cause blackened skin like frostbite if it hits the skin in a strong concentrate - some liquid chlorine dripped on her foot? Unclear, and the signs don't suggest anything like that killed them. More likely, it's hematoma, basically a blood-blister. The right kind of injury can cause this. It may or may not be a clue.
In general, the skin and gums of these victims may show signs of smoke exposure. Nostrils usually show that best, but they're full of blood. Possible prior abuse/medical neglect, possible smoke exposure, eventual execution - what other signs of being hostages do we need to see?

As with most victims seen, they wear street clothes like they were caught out shopping or at school, rather than in bed or maybe just waking up around 6:45 am. Except they mostly are barefoot, as if awake, and ready to go out; shoes are taken off inside, and before execution. Prisoners who don't go outside would surely be gassed barefoot.

This fully-clothed detail is clearly shared by most seen victims, and is suspicious in general. But here at least there's a story of everyone waking up and moving about before the gas ever hit them. So we can let that slide for the moment...

changed clothes? Originals too dingy and smoke-stained to show? often random piles of clothes, too many layers, ill-fitting, etc. - even put on backwards - the girl in purple, should be Ruba - has dusty palms, as if crawling, and perhaps laying flat, with her cheek on the ground, and also dusty. But her clothes seem free of dust. (see notes on picture)

The bulk of the blood from her nose poured down her left cheek in that position, but there was still a bit ready to come out when she was rolled over later on, trickling down her right cheek as seen.

Anyway, it's all a clear indicator of known regime process signatures and blah blah accountability blah blah, and hexamine! Cue the Hague, pressure the Russians, blah blah. But this time ... Trump wants action, not just talk. So we bomb some Syrian jets and soldiers, and threaten worse next time "rebels" show us a van full of sarin victims. Here's ambassador Haley at the UN using this very scene of apparent terrorist massacre victims to boost her case against Syria's efforts to fight the terrorists. (via Michael Kobs)

The Hostage in Abdelhamid's Van? On His Gun?
<add 6-17>As Michael Kobs shows here on Twitter, a photo posted November 21, 2013 shows Abdelhamid posing with what seems to be a Dragunov sniper rifle. That's interesting in that the rifle in the van under the girl in purple is even more clearly this weapon, with its tripod folded forward (not, as it first looked to me, with its barrel bent). It stands to reason, since this is his alleged family, they may be loaded in his van. And if this is his van, that would be his rifle, perhaps the very one seen in the photo. <end 6-17>
That would matter as he will claim he only did peripheral militant work some time ago and was at the time a simple shopkeeper. But here would be that gun, laid on top as if it was the last thing he used before he loaded dead kids in on top of it. And a sniper rifle little use for self-defense.

Here's a possibility: he was involved in the recent takeover of the towns of Khatab and Majdal - he used his sniper rifle to help kill some of the defenders. When they got access and took at least 120 local civilians hostage, he likely used the van to bring some of them back to Khan Sheikhoun. After dropping them off at the facility, he tossed his rifle in the van, and maybe didn't touch it until April 4, when he used it to haul the portion of the hostages said to die of sarin in his house. This would include, at least in part, people NOT taken hostage in those days - the twins were already in photos for almost a year before the raid. But the other portion are likely some of the recently seized people, here laundered in as friendly neighbors of established locals. 

In that scenario, was the rifle an oversight? Or was it deliberate, some limited hangout to say he's not hiding that he has a gun? Well, an AK-47 or a hunting rifle would be even more limited. Maybe whoeverdid the loading just didn't notice or care that they were laying his Facebook babies in the same frame as his Facebook sniper rifle.

Reconsidering the Stories

Abdelhamid Al-Yousef
In more detail - see June 20 additions here, and a summary, compared to what we see, forthcoming.

Amira or Abeer Al-Saleh
By face and story match-up, she's given at least three video interviews, sometime breaking down in tears as she explains her story (videos, details, and analysis - see ACLOS, al-Saleh family). Summary: forthcoming.

Here are her three appearances. To me, seems perhaps too young to have children this old. What it she, maybe 25? The oldest child is listed as 10 years old, appearing more like 12. Note here that Amira/Abeer and her kids have the same last name. That's unusual, and might mean that they were non-Muslims. (ACLOS) The real mother is probably not that woman people interviewed. More than likely, that's an actor brought in, like Abdelhamid and several others were, to explain the death of these kids and paper-over the disappearance of their mother.

She has photos of the kids on her phone, and shows them on two of the videos. The group shot is shown in this video and the single shots in this video. Between these and the van photos, there's not enough to establish a clear match. That so far is just by number, age/gender, and back story lining up.

It is noteworthy that all she seems to have is photos from a single session, seeming possibly staged. They're made to pose, together and separate, in some room. It lacks memorability as a moment. It seems more like a photo you'd take on a short leave from jail or, the other way around, pictures you have your hostages pose for on a special and perhaps happy day, in nice clothes and after a good bath, so you could later use them as "family photos" in just this manner.

Also of note: the boy may have been segregated from the girls. That's not standard even for hostages. Only men (13 and up) must be separated. But anyway, his photo is from somewhere else, and that's been spliced into the group shot, with a feathering effect on the white wall around him. Heck - maybe there was no boy in the real family, and he was added to the story later on for some reason. Having and losing a son seems to resonate in some circles. The Syria Charity interviewer refers to Amira as "Umm Mohammad" (mother of this boy), not as Umm any of the girls.

In the latter video, Amira also shows a poorly-framed picture of some of the children's bodies, but not their faces, in some morgue. It seems strange to take or have such a photo. It makes more sense to help 'prove your case' than as a real memento one would pick for emotional reasons. At any rate, it shows at least two larger children dressed in just the same unique color combinations as the two oldest girls seen in the van. That confirms that these are the alleged Al-Saleh children.

<add 6-20>
From one of the videos:
    My neighbor came in and told me that he thought I took my children and fled. I told him I was at work this whole time. He then told me she saw the children leaving with a woman. He told me he couldn't recognize her.
There's a temptation to say she's a legitimate witness whose children were kidnapped while she was away. But there are some signs she's just a propagandist, like the usual alleged survivors, and not their mother.
 I began to walk like a crazy person, looking for my children. But I could not find any of them. My brothers and brothers-in-law helped me look for them. They went from hospital to hospital, but in vain. So we waited and waited. We waited until the night. Then someone came out of nowhere, and told me, he told me that my children were at al-Youssef house. My brother went to get them. He brought them in the car.
    When I saw my four children, I started to scream: "Those are not my children! They are dead, my children are alive!" But they were my children. All four of them killed! I looked at them! May God never bless him (Assad)!
In fact, they were loaded into a van and driven to some medical facility sometime in daylight, probably mid-morning (but perhaps mid-afternoon) - maybe she means they had been there, and her brother went to where they were taken. Otherwise, it sounds like they were still there after nightfall.<end 6-20>


  1. Definitely not victims of a conventional strike? Maybe crushed with internal bleeding, early morning so could have been beneath a blanket sleeping which might explain less dust. Just that there doesn't seem to be many victims/witnesses of the conventional strikes.. I can only think of the one survivor in Turkey (mentioned by OPCW)

    The twins were buried in Khan Sheikhoun at the start of April so possible none of these victims went to Turkey or were ever tested?

    Another "W77" truck in Ain Issa (still no idea if significant) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=56945#.WTu2Fty1uUl

    1. Thanks for a comment. Anything that still has question marks should be brought up. It's hard to cover it all adequately in one go.

      Anything's possible, and blankets would help. Not a lot. It's not gospel, but if a home is shelled, the people inside should get somewhat dusty, depending. Anyone who died was obviously injured. Injuroes yend to be random. Fragment shaped like bullets or blades could be involved, flying at random. But most shapes are more random, in will hit at random over the body, causing probably more than one injury, and likely some torn clothes. It's a probabilities thing, like I say, but see about none of that between 7 victims.

      Some crushing injuries could be non-evident, but internal bleeding is the same for crushing or corroded lungs, or more so - coming from the lungs or stomach, it should come out the mouth at least as much as the nose.

      And by the story anyway, they shouldn't be asleep or under blankets. That's why I let the lack of pajamas slide. Abdelhamid says he herded everyone to the basement, so they were up. The others had already left their house and come over here, and then gone in the basement.

      True, at least these weren't sent to Turkey. It's still unclear what portion of the victims were ever tested, and how representative they really were.

      W77 trucks must be from something else I guess I missed.

    2. I think the W77 markings on the trucks with 'sarin' victims in Khan Sheikhoun would back up anything you find suggesting the concerned locals with trucks are actually Nusra/HTS.

      Seen on all these -

      ..and even on this Nissan Caravan in Quniya where Nusra had just opened a mosque https://youtu.be/aEsqk826Yj4?t=765

      So I think too many to be coincidence, possibly Nusra owned or some marking for the checkpoints.

    3. Thanks for coming back to that or I might've missed it. I'm on the case of W77 now. (no promises...) It's got a sort of Turkish feel, doesn't it? This blatant and easy to read signifier for (?) at their border, perhaps?

    4. I should note it wouldn't be a big surprise, nor really prove anything. It can suggest a few things. But the namechange front is powerful and runs many things there - maybe hauling executed hostages, and doing search and rescue in sarin zones (maybe they've worked up an immunity, lol). In context, or with more details, it could mean more, but so far it's an interesting lead into who it was possibly hauling around chemical massacre victims fresh from their own gas chambers.

    5. Turkey or for checkpoints on the road to Idlib and beyond.. or both. There is definitely a stream of "W77" trucks moving stuff along that road http://imgur.com/CosleQQ but marking it that way also hides it unless you know to look.

      The "77W" could be the result of reading what to put on the truck from right to left.. and the "W77" found as part of an email address on Revolution-related Youtube videos.. as you say, not proof but seems meaningful. I hope you can find something that explains it!

    6. There's also a W77.net https://www.facebook.com/pg/w77.net/about/?ref=page_internal which is arabic at least. No idea if related

    7. w77.net has "programs and games and mobile applications" said to be established 2006 or so, hosted in Germany, last updates April 2015. http://w77.net.pagesstudy.com/ I found lots of W77 references, all seeming random. This is the best lead I've seen, but likely unrelated as well.

    8. 77W... little difference with one letter and a number, but could be. FWIW they read numbers l-r, but it's the same here either way. What videos/uploaders have that e-mail address including w77?

    9. The e-mail is on this Youtube account https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b_pD5R0VJY

      credit finding to - https://twitter.com/shitpostchamp/status/866266487496916992

      Looking at the archive, W77.net as a proper site basically doesn't seem to have existed before 2015 (just adverts, virus trash before that). Whois says registered to someone in Gaza.

      It may be unrelated to Syria - wasn't sure if it has any Syrian Revolution fans on facebook that might show a link - but it is at least an arabic speaker who chose "W77" for a site for other arabic speakers - maybe the reason they chose that name is a clue to why "W77" is used to mark the trucks? Perhaps they can explain the significance?

    10. The Turkish aid interest of that account (Google translates "Syrian discount group") adds to the sense it might be a lead. hsm.w77. HSM happens to be a prominent Turkish construction company. http://en.hsmconstruction.com/

      I also checked Turkish provincial vehicle registration codes. 77 belongs to Yalova on the Bosporous, not a Syria border district as I wondered. I tried finding info in Turkish about military security districts, to see if they're numbered somehow, but no luck so far (may be as far as I dig).

      What video is that latest still from? (77W (?) truck with bags). I'm curious about the bags. Not likely food - seems to say production date 2006, twice. Maybe they're more readable in another frame?

    11. The still is from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qeosawyrgyo 20 seconds in

      Another possibility for the marking could be like this truck https://twitter.com/MIG29_/status/878607286859640832
      we know the Rashideen truck was modified, a mark for trucks adpated for smuggling?

      Interested to see if the building in the Hersh article on ACLOS (https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html) matches up.. a Nusra meeting would explain the Nusra-related trucks readily available for moving victims. Might also explain why they wouldn't want any pictures or video at the scene

    12. Bellingcat has already tried debunking the Hersh claims but they seem to have made the same mistake as NYT with the Russian statement. I'd find actually seeing the bomb fragments more compelling for the Bellingcat version, I can't believe they really think sarin came out of an empty crater or someone walked off with the remains of a sarin bomb.

      The building hit on the north road looks single storey to me on the drone footage, but there is a house matching the description "two-story cinder-block" just next to it https://youtu.be/EnZxoLkb474?t=153

      It is Hersh's 'anonymous source' vs Bellingcat's 'wouldn't-tell-a-lie activists' though so both could be wrong.

    13. Another W77 truck on a video uploaded today - Hish (if I have the translation right!), Idlib with the White Helmets http://imgur.com/EA8gXYx


    14. The damage doesn't seem to be from a 500-pound conventional bomb dropped straight down. Suspect Hersh's source means a different building he made up, or maybe one that was hit in the first Syrian raids of the day at 11:30 and later. With the detailed story about the random chemicals, it sound sort of made up to explain things in a way that de-blamed Syria but avoids the uglier truth of deliberate chemical massacres by the West's proxy forces. But maybe it's a lead, somehow. I wish I could say how, but it would take some untangling, so I'm leaving it for now.

      Comments in at Bellingcat to the effect that Hersh's source, Postol, and oppo/Bcat are all wrong and hey, guess who's closer to right than anyone else? Not sure if they'll be approved.

      Hish is a town south Maarat al-Numan. Thanks for the links - I plan to work on this still.

    15. A "77W" in Maarat al-Numan at 1:36
      Tenuous link, but Bifa are Turkish sweets

      I respect Bellingcat's geolocating skills but, objectively, US intelligence may well have been different to their report.

      2 months on:
      * not a single 'sarin' bomb fragment from outside the crater
      * no shrapnel embedded in the sculpture/post in the middle of the road
      * no shrapnel damage to the metal electricity box

      To have made the crater the fragments can't be far but are mostly, or if those in the crater have been placed - completely missing. Even Bellingcat's own article describes them as "an ideal piece of forensic evidence"... apparently unimportant and needs no explanation when they aren't present?... I digress.

    16. Interesting theory by the way - also interesting to weigh the comments that the attack conditions are carefully considered against the explanation that temperature/humidity etc. meant that the sarin was at the shorter end of the scale for persistence (so handling victims so soon after was fine).

      So an attack they arguably wouldn't do, illogically on the outskirts of KS and, from having carefully considered the conditions, where they know the sarin's persistence will be low. It seems sillier and sillier.

    17. Just a thought - Forensic Architecture estimate the crater is 1.6m wide. White Helmet's base has a JCB 3CX: according to brochure, backhoe buckets with teeth range in width from 305-950mm.

  2. "Abdelhamid says he herded everyone to the basement..."
    He lived wall to wall with Al-Saleh. The 2nd bomb hit the house right next to that wall between both families. The destroyed room was empty with some dead chickens at the ground. (Many houses in that area appear left and empty like a ghost town.)
    However, Abdelhamid woke up by the first strike "close to him", witnessed two more airstrikes separated by 5 minutes, looked out of the window, the neighbors came out of the houses...
    He virtually is the one who was hit directly but mentions neither smoke nor dust nor a loud Bang or fireball. Instead he left his kids "okay" to help... whom?
    His Facebook-images show him (and other family members) as active fighter and link him to the Hay'at Tahir al-Sham (HTS) and the teenage suicide bomber (Homs attack on Feb. 25 2017) Safi Qattiny from Khan Sheikhoun. The same group obviously allowed or not allowed the Press to enter the area after the alleged sarin strike since journalists were seen with HTS clearance cards around their neck.
    One plausible explanation would be that Abdelhamid still was an active fighter and wasn't at home at all. He maybe drove home after he heard about the airstrike and entered the area when it was save. The rest of the story appears like a set up for the media with details he tells differently everytime he was interviewed. We saw him on a mattress surrounded by all the survived men with applied fake infusion. The green color of the infusion fluid looks like a fluid bag for administration to a pet with B-complex vitamins added. The tube, however, is closed. The man next to him has a tube that leads under his cover neither applied to his hand or arm bad acting "foaming" by spitting into a tissue.
    Strangely enough no other man needed medical help while children and women died or disappeared. They sitting together while the survivers were still in hospitals or even in Turkey. Allegedly these men where outside and helped one another while the neighbors dropped to the floor.

    1. Michael, thanks. I've been needing to review the story, as well the locale.

      Maybe he'd say he ran off and help people in other bombing spots, seeing that those in his area were okay. You'd team up with others and help dig through rubble if needed. But of course it also explains why he's alive and the others aren't, and of course, that's probably the reason he had to run off.

      I haven't checked the tubes issue either. But indeed it doesn't add up how even out there helping, all these Namechange Front types miraculously survive and tell everyhting as others die by the family. Maybe we're to gather that God has a special protective shield over his holiest of warriors.

      As for the alternate explanation: if that was indeed his family, and he was just out fighting or whatever while they had the event happen ... we still have the problem of what it was. If he found his family and neighbors laying there with the head wounds I suspect, but no other injuries or dust on them, nor damage to the home to even cause that ... wouldn't he be pissed? Or did they threaten to kill him next if he didn't play along? This is part of why I suspect it was never his family. They clearly didn't die from sarin like he says, nor from shelling, like the next-most-innocent explanation suggests. It looks like murder. But he just plays along and parrots the story like a loyal trooper.

      And of course the "airstrike" he heard about should be alleged airstrike. Maybe even he was told that's what it was, or maybe he knew what it really was, or was even involved.

      As for linking AY to HTS - so far that's just from the common rifle type, right? He's seen holding the same kind a reported member from the same town also used. (tweet) Okay, that's a circumstantial case. It's worth mentioning. And if anything more direct appears, then the case gets stronger.

    2. And replying to your other points recently on Twitter - the other rifle Abdelhamid has been seen with seems to be just the sniper rifle model, and likely the same exact gun, seen here in this van (not bent like it appeared to me at first). I'll be correcting/adding that above - it ties the scene together and more. This is supposedly people from his house, maybe moved in his van, so why wouldn't that be his gun he posed with (in 2014?). Here it's not just in the van, it's almost on top, like the last thing he used before loading dead kids right on top of it. That might not literally mean anything much, but it makes you think, right?

  3. Yehya AlYusef

    At 7:00 pm, Al-Farouq brigade, led by Abdulrazak Tlass, of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” arrived. He had more than 250 armed men with him from the city of Rastan, he also had 2 other groups with him
    one from Al-Qabo village, led by- Yehya AlYusef,
    and another from Falla village.

    Omar Farouq Brigade calls on Muslims to wage jihad in Syria | FDD's ...
    The Farouq Brigades emerged from the central city of Homs and nearby Rastan just months into the now 18-month Syrian uprising.

    Mustafa al-Haj Yussef

    is a leader of a White Helmet centre in Khan Shaykhun, Idlib
    A close partner of Raed Saleh is Mustafa al-Haj Yussef, leader of the White Helmets centre in the Al Nusra-occupied city of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib. The photo, above, clearly demonstrates the close relationship that Saleh shares with his friend and colleague Yussef, and apparently with the armed militant seen standing behind the two White Helmet leaders.

  4. Saraqeb 2 November 2012
    Acc to Le Monde the army mutilates and kills insurgents in Saraqeb
    L'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'Homme (OSDH) a diffusé, samedi 3 novembre, des vidéos de combattants  pro-régime exécutant des prisonniers rebelles à l'arme automatique et découpant les oreilles de cadavres. Cette diffusion intervient deux jours après celle d'une vidéo montrant des exactions commises par des insurgés.

    The video allegedly shows the shooting of government soldiers by Syrian rebels
    Unconfirmed reports say troops have now quit all bases near the strategic northern town of Saraqeb.
    The town lies near the main roads linking Aleppo to Damascus and the coastal city of Latakia.

    The SOHR said that among the victims were more than 70 government soldiers, 43 civilians and 38 rebels.

    Nov 6th 2012 But in the three months since rebels in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, executed a group of regime militiamen in a school playground in July, the UN and Human Rights Watch (HRW), an advocacy group, have documented an increasing number of such crimes. "

    September 4, 2012 10:44 PM Al-Farouq terrorists blast the National hospital in al-Qusai
    Al-Farouq militants have smuggled about a ton of explosives to the National hospital in al-Qusair.
    The terrorists used abductees for digging a tunnel from outside the building to the inside to smuggle the explosives.
    According to civil sources in Homs, the digging process took weeks.
    As the terrorists confirmed that the tunnel’s length was 200 meters, where the gunmen entered to the building, carrying about a ton of explosives.
    After the insurgents ended trapping the building, they blasted it with all people inside.
    The wreckage around the building carried corpses of women and children under.
    Terrorists of al-Farouq battalion considered the explosion as a big victory and a qualified operation.
    breakingnews.sy - September 4, 2012 10:44 PM

    Nov 6th 2012
    "My men are now used to killing," says Abu Azzam, a rebel leader with Farouq brigade in Raqqa province. Fighters feel their violence is justified given that of the regime. With little help forthcoming from outsiders, and no sign of the West arming the rebels, some fighters reckon they have little to lose by being ruthless.Source: Economist

    Sunnah Terrorists in Syria Field Execute Sunnah Loyalists and Civilians - Dec-27-2012

    2 Nov, 2012 , Saraqeb Mustafa al-Haj Yussef
    @ 1.10 ?

  5. https://tcf.org/content/report/into-the-tunnels/

    The first leg of the arms transports seems to have been handled by the Farouq Battalions, a group that had emerged in the Homs region in 2011 and now controlled areas on the Syrian-Turkish border. To reach the areas east of Damascus, the smugglers then had to bring their cargo from Homs through the mountainous Qalamoun region.29

    Finally there is the myth that the Free Syrian Army and other “moderate opposition” groups were not supported.  In reality, huge quantities of weapons and ammunition have flowed which is  exactly what has allowed the terrorist organizations to continue the mayhem and bloodshed. Starting in November 2012 three thousand TONS of weapons and ammunition were flown from Zagreb to Turkey and then transferred to the Syrian rebels. In addition there were huge shipments from Benghazi Libya and more shipments paid by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

    In this photograph released by the Islamic Emirate, we see one of its fighters armed with a French Famas while Paris denies any contact with this organization. In reality, France has armed the Free Syrian Army with instructions to donate two-thirds of its equipment to the Al-Nosra Front (that is to say, Al Qaeda in Syria), as evidenced by a document provided by Syria to the Security Council of the UN.

    Image: Shaykh "Abu Muhammad al-Adnani" -- The official spokesman of "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant." 22 Oct 2013

    Hollande a livré des armes à l'#ISIS. La preuve en image, où l'on voit clairement un FAMAS de l'armée française.

  6. 23 Feb 2011

    Gadhafi "will use everything at hand, maybe even chemicals," said Khalifa al Daghari, a science professor at a local university. "We're looking for help from the world. They should stop this killing of civilians establish a no-fly zone and send medical aid."

    16 Jul 2012 In a further sign that once-close allies are deserting him, the Saudi newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat reported the defection of
    the former head of Syria's chemical weapons programme, Adnan Silu, to the opposition.

    Syria: Assad regime ‘ready to use chemical weapons’
    17 Jul 2012

    Michael Gordon New York Times December 2012
    US Warns Syria on Chemical Weapons - The New York Times

    All that said, this important photograph concerns the first verified use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict.
    The photograph is from March 19, 2013 at a hospital in Khan al-Assal in the northern Aleppo province where medics treat a man injured by chemical weapons. Let us look at two reports into the incident, the first by Russia Today (http://tinyurl.com/d5y5gn8) and the second by the pro-war English Guardian Newspaper (http://tinyurl.com/k97ztvm)and then surmise what we can from it.


  7. 2013, 04-29 Saraqeb - one woman dead

    Al-Nusra Plastic Grenade

    One of the group’s doctors, oncologist Mousa al-Kurdi,
    an Englishman, says he was inside Syria, Idlib, when four victims of the Saraqeb incident, all from one family, were brought in, he says looking like Sarin victims. The 50-year-old mother died later, but all survived to his clinic, and past it into Turkey.

    Rola al Kurdi
    Atareb Hospital
    A campaign page dated 10 June 2014 (since deleted) on Hand in Hand for Syria’s website stated that Atareb Hospital opened in May 2013
    Atareb Hospital, Aleppo on 26 August 2013 ,napalm bomb on a school in Urm Al-Kubra


    USAID has provided the White Helmets with $20 million in monetary aid since 2013.


  8. Seymour Hersh Casts Doubt on Reported Syrian Gas Attack June 26, 2017
    Hersh’s anonymous source expects more such incidents:
    “'The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy,' the senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community told me, referring to the flareup of tensions between Syria, Russia and America. 'The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack. Trump will have no choice but to bomb again, and harder. He’s incapable of saying he made a mistake.'”

    JUNE 26, 2017 The White House said late Monday that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria appeared to be preparing another chemical weapons attack, and warned that he would “pay a heavy price” if one took place.
    Several military officials were caught off guard by the statement from President Trump’s press secretary, but it was unclear how closely held the intelligence regarding a potential chemical attack was.
    In the statement, the White House said that Mr. Assad’s preparations appeared similar to the ones Western intelligence officials believe the Syrian government made before a chemical attack in April that killed dozens of Syrians, including children.

    Nikki R. Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, made clear that the United States was taking the latest threat seriously. “Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people,” she tweeted late Monday.
    April 26, 2017 Ambassador Nikki Haley met with Mr. Raed Saleh, head of the Syria Civil Defense, also known as the “White Helmets.” Ambassador Haley and Mr. Saleh discussed continued U.S. support for the White Helmets, https://usun.state.gov/remarks/7782




  9. https://www.rt.com/news/394231-us-syria-chemical-threat-kremlin/
    “You know that cases of the use of toxic chemical agents by militants of Islamic state [IS, formerly ISIS/SIL] and other criminal groups have been established on multiple occasions. There certainly is the potential danger of such provocations recurring,” Peskov stated.

    27 Jun, 2017 Any threats against the Syrian government are “unacceptable,” according to Peskov, who reiterated the call for an investigation into the attack in Idlib.

    Salafis in Iraq produced chemical weapons

    Used in Aleppo

    The report pointed out that the a part of the sarin gas captured in Turkey may have been used in an attack in March in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo, Syria, where 26 citizens and Syrian government forces were killed by what was determined to be sarin gas, delivered by a rocket attack. According to sources, deadly sarin poison gas was manufactured in a Sunni-controlled region of Iraq and then transported to Turkey for use by the Syrian opposition.

    The report revealed that al-Qaeda has in its possession sarin gas, a type of chemical weapons. Al-Qaeda had produced a “bench-scale” form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Syria via Turkey and sent it to the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front.

    According to the document, assessments stated that primary research and procurement activities continued in spite of the arrests of several key individuals in Iraq and Turkey.
    A US Military source stated that “50 documents related to the efforts of the ANF/AQI-associated groups to produce sarin gas,” adding that “This document depicts our assessment of the status of effort at its peak when it was disrupted in late May 2013 with the arrest of several key individuals in Iraq and Turkey."
    Aydinlik daily


    The NYT article also quotes uncritically Mohamad Firas al-Jundi, minister of health in the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, whose military branch is the Free Syrian Army. Despite the fact that it’s often presented as a moderate group, the FSA is known to have collaborated with Al Qaeda during the siege of Aleppo, but again don’t count on the NYT to tell you about that. The authors of that article also cite reports about the attack by the White Helmets,
    a group which, despite the favorable publicity it has received in Western media, should have no credibility whatsoever given that it has links with various terrorist organizations in Syria and clearly engages in propaganda in favor of the rebels.


    Besides its active participation in the Aleppo fighting, Liwa al-Tawhid is known for its attack on the Damascus suburbs carried out in April, 2013 together with Jabhat al-Nusra and other opposition groups. A month later, Liwa al-Tawhid's fighters together with Jabhat al-Nusra attacked the Syrian army base in Idlib.

    "Nevertheless, Daesh probably retains the capability to produce small batches of low quality chlorine and sulphur mustard agents elsewhere," the report said.
    Since July 2014, IHS Markit has recorded 41 allegations of Daesh using chemical weapons in Iraq and 30 in Syria.



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