Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Syria – Aleppo University attack

The Guardian

"A new video has emerged that seems to show a large missile hitting the University of Aleppo in the devastating attack that killed an estimated 87 people last week.
The video casts serious doubt on the Syrian government’s claims – backed up by Russia – that the attack on the university was the work of opposition rebels.
I just spoke to my colleague Martin Chulov, who was reporting from Aleppo at the time. He said of the rebel groups: “They simply don’t have a missile of that type.”

James Miller on the Enduring America blog, in a piece analysing the video in detail, says it has consulted “a group of arms specialists and military experts” who agree that “the insurgents do not have any weapons this advanced”:
No RPG or shoulder-fired missile has this destructive power. It is unlikely that a vehicle-mounted SAM could do this level of damage, and it is even less likely that such a weapon was in range. The insurgents have also not been seen with GRAD rockets or any other long-range surface-to-surface or surface-to-air missile that is capable of this kind of damage.
This series of images from the video seems to show the missile coming in from the top-right at an extremely high angle.
Enduring America's Miller writes:
Here's what the evidence suggests. A regime jet fighter lined up on the main street that leads south to north through the centre of Aleppo and fired a missile. The plane then circled, lined up on the boulevard again, and fired a second missile three minutes later.
While the evidence clearly supports this conclusion, it also raises a disturbing question. The precision of the two strikes suggests that this was a deliberate target - a clearly non-military target - with explosions designed to have maximum impact. Did at least some of the command structure of the Syrian military, and not just the individual pilot, have knowledge of this mission? If so, was the goal was to kill as many students as possible and then – using the quick reaction of the Syrian media – blame this attack on the insurgents?"

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