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Category: Middle East & North Africa

January 23, 2016

By Chris Biggers

Is the U.S. Expanding an Airfield in Syria?

Low resolution Landsat imagery shows new activity at an airfield rumored to support a U.S. military presence in Syria’s Al-Hasakah province. The imagery acquired via the U.S. Geological Survey suggests the U.S. could be establishing further supply lines to Kurdish and friendly forces in the region in the effort to fight the Islamic State. Space…

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December 11, 2015

By Christiaan Triebert

Syria’s Bombed Water Infrastructure: An OSINT Inquiry

Water is playing an increasingly important role in the Syrian Civil War. November 2015 witnessed at least two attacks on water facilities in the Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor Governorates. Islamic State (IS)-linked ʻAmāq News Agency published two videos in which it claims that water facilities were targeted by air strikes from both the Russian Federation and the Combined Joint Task Force…

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December 1, 2015

By Christiaan Triebert

What OSINT Tells Us About the Bakery Bombing

Videos of airstrikes targeting an alleged bakery in Syria’s Idlib Governorate sparked heavy debates on social media. The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) said it manages the bakery with funding from the Qatar Charity. This article examines what we can and cannot know so far about the airstrikes, using open source intelligence (OSINT). It establishes several certainties, but…

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November 17, 2015

By Cameron Colquhoun

The Islamic State’s New Sinai Offshoot – Were There Signs the Metrojet Attack Was Coming?

While the exact cause of the crash of Russian Metrojet Airbus 321 remains unknown, unverified statements from the terrorist group Wilayah Sinai* have claimed responsibility. The attack took the security world by surprise for a number of reasons; the target (Russian, rather than European/American), the device (likely a bomb on board rather than a suicide attack), and the group responsible (not Al-Qa’ida or Islamic State in Syria but a little known group in Sinai who have pledged allegiance to IS).

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November 13, 2015

By Chris Biggers

The Iranian-built Sorocaima Reflagged

Previously, I wrote about Iran’s construction of the Sorocaima for Venezuela’s PDVSA in what was supposed to be a four tanker deal. Despite Iranian news stories to the contrary, the vessel was never delivered, largely due to Venezuela’s mismanagement of the economy. It also seems apparent that Iran’s burgeoning strategic relationship with the country was…

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November 11, 2015

By Nathan Patin

Geolocation Once Again Disproves Russia’s Targeting Claims in Syria

In just three days, Russian aircraft have carried out 137 sorties, targeting 448 “terrorist objects” throughout Syria, according to a Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) press briefing held by spokesperson Igor Konashenkov on 9 November 2015. Three airstrikes previously posted on the MoD’s YouTube page were singled out by Konashenkov for closer examination. Given the Russian MoD’s well-documented propensity for fabricating information, it’s a…

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November 9, 2015

By Chris Biggers

French Fighters Target Islamic State Revenue

“We intervened in Syria… yesterday evening with a strike on an oil supply center near Deir Ezzor on the border between Iraq and Syria,” Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced today. Given the location of the strikes, it’s likely the fighters were launched from their forward location in the Kingdom of Jordan. Satellite imagery has confirmed…

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