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Category: Middle East & North Africa

March 18, 2016

By Rao Komar

A New MANPADS Variant Appears in Syria

Syria is a hotbed of weapons proliferation. While a variety of weapon systems have been proliferated in Syria, MANPADS proliferation in particular is a significant concern for the international community. These systems are user-friendly, easy to transport and capable of taking down civilian aircraft. It’s clear the presence of MANPADS in unstable countries like Syria…

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February 17, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Russia’s Bizarre, Barely Coherent Defence It Didn’t Bomb Hospitals in Syria

Following this weeks earlier attacks on medical facilities in Syria run by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) the Russian Defence Ministry has published a statement explaining why it’s not responsible for the attacks. Much of the statement is a mess of barely coherent claims, and reads closer to a conspiracy theory than a statement from a serious organisation. The Russian…

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February 16, 2016

By Cameron Colquhoun

Tip of the Spear? Meet ISIS’ Special Operations Unit, Katibat al-Battar

On a mild November night last year, nine EU citizens roamed the streets of Paris with guns and explosives, murdering and injuring hundreds of civilians. In the days and weeks afterward, France declared emergency laws, Britain voted to expand the bombing of ISIS in Syria and ISIS supporters launched their own social media response on Twitter with #PrayforRaqqah.

But many of the most important questions around Paris remain unanswered. Where did these men come from? Were they part of a group? Who instructed them to commit these acts?

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February 11, 2016

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

How the Russian MoD Invented a US Bombing of Aleppo

This post originally appeared in Russian in the blog “Noodle Remover”. The following is an abridged translation of that post. On February 11, during a Russian Ministry of Defense briefing, Major General Igor Konashenkov claimed the following (I highlighted the parts which are of most interest): Therefore, it is not a tendency. Starting harping on the…

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February 8, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Cluster Bombs Used in Talbiseh, Homs, Match Type Seen at Russia’s Syrian Airbase

Today’s Human Rights Watch report Russia/Syria: Daily Cluster Munition Attacks documents further use of cluster munitions in the Syria conflict, following earlier reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the use of cluster munitions in Syria. These reports triggered denials from the Russian Defence Ministry, who denied such munitions were even present at their airbase in Syria….

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February 5, 2016

By Christiaan Triebert

Yemen’s Bombed Water Infrastructure: An OSINT Investigation

By Brendan Clifford* and Christiaan Triebert** The conflict in Yemen has caused immense suffering, exacerbating the longstanding water crisis in the country. For nearly a year, Yemen’s water infrastructure appears to have been under deliberate attack. This open source intelligence (OSINT) investigation looks into the latest attack (allegedly January 8, 2016) on a water facility,…

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January 29, 2016

By Chris Biggers

Iran ISOICO Imagery Update

The latest commercial satellite imagery shows some new developments at Iran’s ISOICO shipyard near Bostanu. In December, the extension on the yard’s smaller syncrolift appeared complete with new winches and a larger platform visible in imagery. Workers in the eastern part of the yard should now be able to handle heavier vessels. This may be…

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January 28, 2016

By Adam Rawnsley

Syria’s “New” Iranian Drone

Iran has sent another model of drone to northern Syria, according to imagery posted on social media in the latter half of 2015. Pictures of wreckage taken inside Syria indicate that Turkey shot down the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in a May border incident in which Turkish officials claimed the aircraft violated Turkish airspace. The drone also…

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