Syria

I've not noticed this on the news, I guess they're waiting to blame it on Brexit

German firms sent weapons-grade chemicals to Syria despite sanctions

According to the report, German chemical wholesaler Brenntag AG sold the chemicals isopropanol and diethylamine to Syria in 2014 using a subsidiary in Switzerland. The recipient was a Syrian pharmaceutical company that had ties to the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Reporters revealed that the diethylamine was produced by German chemicals giant BASF at a plant in the Belgian city of Antwerp. The isopropanol was made by Sasol Solvents Germany GmbH, located in Hamburg. Although the chemicals can be used to make pharmaceutical drugs, they can also be used in the production of chemical weapons and nerve agents such as VX and sarin gas.
 
Up to two million Syrians could flee to Turkey if clashes worsen - U.N - Reuters
UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Moumtzis has raised concerns that hundreds of thousands of refugees or more will be trying to get into Turkey if the current fighting intensifies:

He alleges medical facilities and schools in the area are being affected, if not deliberately targeted. Before, organisations would give the coordinates, but no longer do they trust that information will spare them, if not be used to target them. He's calling for an intervention, presumably by the UN which will be a none starter:
I am in Beirut.
Masses of Syrians here.
The locals would really prefer them to go home asap.
 
I am in Beirut.
Masses of Syrians here.
The locals would really prefer them to go home asap.
https://assets.publishing.service.g...yria_Crisis_Response_Summary__2019.03.29_.pdf
We've spent £500M in Lebanon to help the Syrian (and Palestinian) refugees. For some reason, they don't want to go back to Syria despite the war being 'over'. According to the link its used for;
• Provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese, that, over time, strengthens the resilience of refugees in a sustainable way.
• Expand the education system to reach Syrian refugee children whilst maintaining the quality of education for Lebanese children.
• Support the most vulnerable and conflict-prone municipalities to provide and improve basic service delivery and infrastructure.
• Expand jobs and livelihoods opportunities for both Lebanese and Syrians
 
https://assets.publishing.service.g...yria_Crisis_Response_Summary__2019.03.29_.pdf
We've spent £500M in Lebanon to help the Syrian (and Palestinian) refugees. For some reason, they don't want to go back to Syria despite the war being 'over'. According to the link its used for;
• Provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable Syrians, Palestinians and Lebanese, that, over time, strengthens the resilience of refugees in a sustainable way.
• Expand the education system to reach Syrian refugee children whilst maintaining the quality of education for Lebanese children.
• Support the most vulnerable and conflict-prone municipalities to provide and improve basic service delivery and infrastructure.
• Expand jobs and livelihoods opportunities for both Lebanese and Syrians
My hostess reports the Leb economy is performing poorly, and their govt is heavily overborrowed
 
Oil supertanker bound for Syria detained in Gibraltar - Reuters
Booties, at the behest of the Gibraltar govt have seized a tanker allegedly carrying oil to Assad's regime, which had EU sanctions imposed in 2011:
In a statement, the Gibraltar government said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Banyas refinery in Syria.

“That refinery is the property of an entity that is subject to European Union sanctions against Syria,” Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said. “With my consent, our port and law enforcement agencies sought the assistance of the Royal Marines in carrying out this operation.”
UK govt unsurprisingly (they would've agreed on the use of the booties), agree with the actions. The tanker has form according to Reuters for shipping Iranian oil to Singapore and China:
A British Foreign Office spokesman said: “We welcome this firm action by the Gibraltarian authorities, acting to enforce the EU Syria Sanctions regime.”

Earlier this year, Reuters revealed how the Grace 1 was one of four tankers involved in shipping Iranian fuel oil to Singapore and China, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The Refinitiv Eikon mapping data shows the Grace 1 sailed a longer route around the southern tip of Africa instead of via Egypt’s Suez Canal.

The tanker was documented as loading fuel oil in Iraq in December, though the Iraqi port did not list it as being in port and its tracking system was switched off. The tanker then reappeared on tracking maps near Iran’s port of Bandar Assaluyeh, fully loaded.

Shipping data shows the ship is a 300,000-tonne, Panamanian-flagged tanker managed by Singapore-based IShips Management Pte Ltd.
 
The latest R&U video compilation from Syria. Northern Hama is turning into a mess for the SAA. There are reports of heavy losses on both sides, and (of uncertain accuracy) reports about the Russians being unhappy with the recent performance of the SAA.

 
The latest ANNA News video, with English captions from R&U. A sobering video. An BMP being ATGM'd just metres from the hq/reporters position. Where a town or key point is heavily contested, Ru/Sy airpower is leveling them.
Northern Hama is a straight up large scale conventional battle. The Syrian edge is in airpower and access to Russian tech/intel/political influence.
The fighting is intense in Northern Hama because it is the most defendable terrain (on the Idlib border).

Mosin Nagant sniper rifle at 05.16 and after.

 
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The latest ANNA News video, with English captions from R&U. A sobering video. An BMP being ATGM'd just metres from the hq/reporters position. Where a town or key point is heavily contested, Ru/Sy airpower is leveling them.
Northern Hama is a straight up large scale conventional battle. The Syrian edge is in airpower and access to Russian tech/intel/political influence.
The fighting is intense in Northern Hama because it is the most defendable terrain (on the Idlib border).

Mosin Nagant sniper rifle at 05.16 and after.

A lot of the 'Syrian' soldiers seemed unfamiliar with their weapons & the sighting systems. Makes you wonder what the training regime is like.
 
A lot of the 'Syrian' soldiers seemed unfamiliar with their weapons & the sighting systems. Makes you wonder what the training regime is like.
Yep. And these are the regime's best forces.
There's a lot I don't get with the Syrian forces - guy talks about intense fire then a T72 goes forward with the commander and gunner standing in turret. Not just head exposed, but sat up to invite fire.
 
To be perfectly honest, it looks more like a live fire training exercise. The regime has a habit of passing off training exercises as live incidents even if that Russian news agency does post embed video footage.
 
Yep. And these are the regime's best forces.
There's a lot I don't get with the Syrian forces - guy talks about intense fire then a T72 goes forward with the commander and gunner standing in turret. Not just head exposed, but sat up to invite fire.
He's reporting from a command post position which is in sight of the front line, but he's well back from it. The cameraman is using a telephoto lens and actual distances can be very difficult to judge. The main threat at that distance is probably mortars. What he is doing is dangerous enough for a journalist, but he's not going in with the actual spearhead of the assault.

I suspect that a lot of the troops that he can see from his position are the less experienced ones the commanders want to have directly under their eye in order to direct them more closely. The ones who can be trusted to go forward and manoeuvre without a lot of hand holding may not be in sight of his cameras.

There's a bit of selection bias in terms of what is actually practical for them to film and what looks understandable to an audience on camera versus the view from typical front line infantry perspective. Some of the jihadi head mount camera footage of people running about randomly and shooting at something that isn't visible to the camera before running back to where they came from may be more "realistic", but it doesn't necessarily make for understandable supporting background to the underlying news reportage about an overall battle.

I believe that typical documentary footage ratios are something like 20:1, in terms of you need to shoot 20 minutes of footage to get 1 minute of footage that the audience actually sees. Individual cases of course may be more or less, but the basic principle is that most of what gets shot on camera ends up on the cutting room floor. The interesting bits must then be picked out and edited into a sequence which helps illustrate the news story being reported.

These news reports are great, and by all means keep posting them, but we need to keep in mind that we're only seeing the bits of the battles that the reporter can see, not the whole thing.
 
He's reporting from a command post position which is in sight of the front line, but he's well back from it. The cameraman is using a telephoto lens and actual distances can be very difficult to judge. The main threat at that distance is probably mortars. What he is doing is dangerous enough for a journalist, but he's not going in with the actual spearhead of the assault.

I suspect that a lot of the troops that he can see from his position are the less experienced ones the commanders want to have directly under their eye in order to direct them more closely. The ones who can be trusted to go forward and manoeuvre without a lot of hand holding may not be in sight of his cameras.

There's a bit of selection bias in terms of what is actually practical for them to film and what looks understandable to an audience on camera versus the view from typical front line infantry perspective. Some of the jihadi head mount camera footage of people running about randomly and shooting at something that isn't visible to the camera before running back to where they came from may be more "realistic", but it doesn't necessarily make for understandable supporting background to the underlying news reportage about an overall battle.

I believe that typical documentary footage ratios are something like 20:1, in terms of you need to shoot 20 minutes of footage to get 1 minute of footage that the audience actually sees. Individual cases of course may be more or less, but the basic principle is that most of what gets shot on camera ends up on the cutting room floor. The interesting bits must then be picked out and edited into a sequence which helps illustrate the news story being reported.

These news reports are great, and by all means keep posting them, but we need to keep in mind that we're only seeing the bits of the battles that the reporter can see, not the whole thing.
Fair points.
I ought to have explained (but didn't, obviously) that my view of the state of fighting in Hama isn't based just on that video. I follow a number of news sources, mapping sites, and tweeters, about the war and all seem to indicate that the scale, intensity and sustained nature of fighting is something not recently seen. Govt casualties are reportedly heavy.
The Reddit Syrian Civil War sub-Reddit is a particularly good source of info. One tweet from a reputable source today confirmed additional RuAF aircraft being in country for the anticipated Idlib operation.
 
He's reporting from a command post position which is in sight of the front line, but he's well back from it. The cameraman is using a telephoto lens and actual distances can be very difficult to judge. The main threat at that distance is probably mortars. What he is doing is dangerous enough for a journalist, but he's not going in with the actual spearhead of the assault.
.
What gets me is they don't appear to have a super zoom lens, something at least 800mm without a teleconverter

You'd think they'd want as much reach as possible to avoid being too close
 
What gets me is they don't appear to have a super zoom lens, something at least 800mm without a teleconverter

You'd think they'd want as much reach as possible to avoid being too close
They mainly seem to tag along with the command group and so their location during a battle is normally wherever the command post is. They need to be able to set up in an improvised command post without getting in everyone's way, so that limits what they can do in terms of lenses and mounts. They also seem to have a fairly small news crew and depend on their hosts for transport, so they're also limited in terms of what sort of gear they can cart around with them. They seem to do pretty good with what they have.
 
The injuries caused by the ATGM doesn't seem consistent with either blast or burning. Likewise, the damage to the BMP doesn't look like it's been struck by a weapon that would've made a horrible mess of it and all the personnel in the back. And the rest of the armour don't seem to react to the threat afterwards.
 
Fair points.
I ought to have explained (but didn't, obviously) that my view of the state of fighting in Hama isn't based just on that video. I follow a number of news sources, mapping sites, and tweeters, about the war and all seem to indicate that the scale, intensity and sustained nature of fighting is something not recently seen. Govt casualties are reportedly heavy.
The Reddit Syrian Civil War sub-Reddit is a particularly good source of info. One tweet from a reputable source today confirmed additional RuAF aircraft being in country for the anticipated Idlib operation.
I’ve been reading a number of sources and the fighting is definitely not going Assad’s forces way, the way it even did eventually in Aleppo, let alone the south of the country. After eight years of civil war, you’d have thought Assad’s forces would be better trained than they appear in the videos, even if you account for ‘camera shyness’

They’re in for a tough fight and I doubt Turkey is going to roll over and let Assad’s forces have the kind of free reign they have had in other areas. Reports of reinforcing their outposts with radar as they have complained about govt forces attacking those outposts and as usual denied. The Turks are also still attacking Kurdish forces
 

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