Thursday 30 August 2012

The Mystery Of The Syrian Barrel Bombs

Update October 27th Clear footage showing DIY barrel bombs being dropped from a Hip has now been posted online, and can seen here.

Usually when I'm putting together a post about the various weapons being used in Syria I like to analyze videos, search through references looking at images, and matching as many details as possible before making a post about something, but this time I've come across something that's really got me stumped.

Just over a week ago two videos were posted from Batbo, about 35km west of Aleppo showing an unusual item that local activists claim was dropped from a helicopter
It's described as a "home-made bomb dropped by helicopter", and has some odd features I'm struggling to make any sense of.  First, it appears to have strange protrusions, as seen in this picture
In these two pictures one of the men at the scene has picked up one of the protrusions that has snapped off, showing that it appears to be hollow

He also shows a collection of chopped up rebar that have been gathered from the black powder (explosive?), as shown below
One other thing to note is that these don't actually appear to be drum style barrel, which are usually stamped out of one sheet of metal. The ridges of the barrel appear to be pieces of wire, one of which you can see has come away from the barrel in the below picture
This shot from inside the barrel doesn't appear to reveal much apart from what appears to be another smaller curved piece of metal inside, possibly a cylinder
So all very odd, could this be some sort of DIY bomb being dropped by helicopters?  If they are, why are the Syrian Air Force using DIY bombs when they have so many OFABs of various shapes and sizes to use?

Several days later a new video was posted from Alrcaya in Idlib, about 80km southwest of Aleppo, which appears to show another barrel bomb
This one shares some features with the previous example, such as the metal wire around the outside of the barrel
But there's also something else that wasn't noticeable on the previous example.  I'm unclear what this is, but I'm thinking maybe a possible detonator, or smaller booster charge?
So I start looking for answers, trying to figure out what these items are.  One theory is that these could be IEDs disarmed by the Syrian army they decided to return to the FSA via helicopter.  There's some suggestion that they could even come from the truck bomb CJ Chivers reported about in his recent report on Syria, but after examining the images he provided they don't seem a good match to me.

Then activists started to mention reports of barrels full of explosives being dropped on Homs, something that is repeated in this Al Arabiya report
@hlk01 provided a translation of the video
Oil barrels are turned into TNT barrels in Homs
The most important oil refinery in Syria is the one of Homs, capital of the revolution. Dozens of barrels are transferred from this refinery to the provinces in Syria including Tartous Port to export oil. During the revolution the regime turned these barrels into explosive bombs, dropping them on the cities and towns in Syria. The regime transported these big explosive barrels using military aviation. Each one contains 200 kg of TNT explosives. These barrels are dropped, by the regime, on the residential buildings and houses to destroy them completely and turn them to open ground, uninhabitable and impossible to hide in. The barrels explode after being dropped, the fuse ignites when it hits the target. The barrel falls in less than 5 seconds, making a huge bang, and when it hits the target both the target and the surrounding area are completely destroyed due to the large amount of the explosive. In Homs - 5 cases were reported , where 2 barrels were dropped in a single sortie. For protection, it is advisable to run to safe places when hearing helicopters sounds , it takes 5 minutes for the helicopters to fly over the target .
The videos we've seen so far do not look like oil barrels to me, but to add to the confusion I came across this video, from Mdaya in Idlib, described as a barrel dropped from a helicopter
It looks quite unlike the previous barrel bombs, and appears to be a solid metal cylinder with a rounded end
It appears there's a smaller cylinder that was part of the bomb, but it's unclear what function it had
Then there's a metal plate which might have been bolted to one end of it
And this collection of various bits of metal.  Could they be shrapnel for the bomb?
Could there in fact be a variety of these improvised bombs being dropped?  That might mean there actually are oil barrels full of explosives dropped, as the activists in Homs claim.

Finally we come to this video, which claims to be a 200kg dropped from a rear of a Mi-25 helicopter in Kafr Nabl, Idlib.  At around 15 seconds in you'll see something that appears to drop from the rear of the aircraft
It seems that for the moment we're left with questions rather than answers.  Are the Syrian military really using improved devices to attack the FSA? If so, why?

If you see any more examples like those shown above please let me know, this is one mystery I'd really like to solve.

Update August 31st Thanks to HamaEcho and Bjørn H Jespersen for the following videos and related discussion. First three videos from the freeeshem Youtube channel, from al-Hawash around 35km west of Homs, the first two show a numbered metal tube with pieces of cut up rebar arranged on top of it, presumably from the device
Then a third video with what appears to be more rebar and the possible remains of one of the devices that actually exploded

Then there's another video from al-Hawash showing a similar device with a different number printed on it
I'd be interested in know if anyone recognises these devices, let me know if you do.

Update September 1st The Daily Telegraph has an article on barrel bombs with more details of their use, including
Filled with TNT, oil and chunks of steel, the exploding barrels kill and maim across a wider area than high explosives.
"The sound was like nothing else I've ever heard. It was an almighty whoosh," said Mohammed Ibrahim, a fighter recovering from an explosion that he said was of terrifying intensity caused by such a bomb.
"I was lucky I was standing behind a corner but I was still knocked off my feet. When I came round my ears were bleeding."
Update September 1st I've come across a number of new videos, firstly this video from Deir Sonbol in Idlib via markito0171 shows what's described as the remains of a barrel bomb

@hlk01 sent me this video from Idlib showing another numbered barrel like the two shown above.  At first I thought it was the same as one of the earlier videos as the number printed on it matched, but as Bjørn H Jespersen pointed out there's actually additional parts on either side of the barrel which shows it can't be the same one, meaning those numbers aren't unique.  It also appears to have Russian text on it

This video from Derber, Dier Ez Zor, is supposedly the remains of a barrel bomb, although it's very difficult to tell, and appears to be outside the normal areas we've seen these bombs

The Daily Telegraph also posted a video that they say is what activists claims is the detonation of a barrel bomb in Homs.  In addition to that a number of videos have been posted online showing what's claimed to be the aftermath of barrel bomb explosions in Homs.

It should be noted that while searching for barrel bomb videos I came across a number of video marked as barrel bombs that were clearly L-39s (mislabeled as MiGs) dropping OFABs, so I expect there will be a number of videos mislabeled as such in the future as well.

Update September 9th @BeJohnboy70 spotted this video that may show two barrel bombs in Hama.  Although the video is rather unclear the man in the first part of the video appears to show the camera cut up rebar as spotted in other bombs, and the bomb appears to have the same end as the other numbered bombs shown above 

Update September 10th Bjørn H Jespersen of the excellent .processing blog highlighted another example of a possible barrel bomb in Sahel Al Ghaab, Hama

Update September 10th Bjørn H Jespersen has sent me a second video from Hama showing another very similar bomb to the one shown above

Update September 10th @hlk01 highlighted this article from McClatchy that had this very interesting section about the barrel bombs
Another rebel, Omar Ahmed, who said he’d defected from the base two months ago, said that concerns about the loyalty of pilots – most of whom are Sunni Muslims, like the rebel force – had hampered the military’s use of aircraft. Assad and the country’s ruling elite, as well as many of the military’s officer corps, are Alawites, a sect that’s related to Shiite Islam. The Sunnis accuse the Alawites of discriminating against them.


Ahmed said that while he was on the base he’d been tasked with helping to build more than 100 “barmeels,” oil drums stuffed with explosives and shrapnel that have been used with devastating effect in Abu al Dahour and other areas. According to one military analyst, they’re roughly equal to a 1,000-pound bomb.
Update September 16th This video from Jericho, Idlib, shows another example of a barrel bomb, although in this example it's unclear where the explosive powder has gone

Update September 20th @hlk01 sent me another example, this time from Ain Larose, Jabal AlZawia, Idlib, in a video that shows one of the bombs being taken apart. 

This second video shows what appears to be the detonator for the device, although it's unclear how it functions

Update October 6th Damien Spleeters sent me this example of a barrel bomb from the Idlib region

On the same channel was this other example

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

SOCA, The Met, And The ICO - Joined Up Thinking?

Another post from a regular contributor

So, there's plenty happening with Hackgate.  Lord Justice Leveson has started to send out Section 13 letters, a couple of ex-Times employees have been arrested regarding Nightjack, Tom Crone has been arrested, and the Wapping Weeting defendants are due to plead at Southwark on September 26th.  In Scotland, Operation Rubicon's investigations have now led to the Sheridan Trial Trio being detained, arrested and charged. 

But meanwhile, there are low profile developments gathering pace (or should that be PACE...) involving the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). 

As the Leveson Inquiry starts to wind down for now, the focus for inquisitorial scrutiny will start to shift back where it was before - the Select Committees of Parliament.  The work of Tom Watson et al of the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee was crucial to unpicking allegations of News International's phone-hacking.  It was ably augmented by the Home Affairs Select Committee looking at Metropoltan Police Service (MET) handling of Hackgate and communications data interception. The Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) issued its rigorous Report in July 2011, 'Unauthorised Tapping Into or Hacking of Mobile Communications'. 

HASC scrutiny of related issues has though continued - it launched an inquiry into 'private investigators' and held evidence hearings in the spring of 2012.  Aside from issues of regulation, licensing and so on, HASC heard three pieces of evidence of real interest to Hackgate watchers.
  • An unrepentant Julian Pike of Farrer & Co was asked again about News International's use of a private investigator in surveillance of Mark Lewis and Charlotte Harris, lawyers acting for phone-hacking victims.
  • an unexpected bombshell when (under parliamentary privilege) a witness alleged collusion and corruption of MET officers by a leading private investigator and security industry firm.
  • an opportunity to re-visit OPERATION MOTORMAN with the Information Commissioner (ICO).
The HASC Report 2012, 'Private Investigators' is published here.  Deep in the written evidence is a brief supplementary submission (April 2012, p123) from the ICO which repays reading. It seems - perhaps belatedly - there might actually be some cooperation and coordination in investigatory strategy going on.  Whilst the ICO have not prosecuted any private investigators or 'enquiry agents' for the past two years, it says
We have however been engaged in one long-running and complex investigation which we expect to be able to bring to court imminently.
There is little nugget too:
The ICO is also working with other regulators and law enforcement bodies... the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) have agreed to share some of the evidence obtained in Operation Millipede with the ICO.
 It continues,
Similarly the Metropolitan Police have agreed to share some of the evidence relating to private investigators that they uncover during aspects of the Operation Wheeting investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World. This information will be collated and used within the (ICO) investigations department to inform and support proactive investigations into rogue elements within the private investigator community.
Joined-up thinking at last by key investigation agencies and (maybe) some signs of a common determination to pursue evidence that has been gathering cobwebs too long.

And that's an intriguing turn of phrase from the ICO - "rogue elements".  One might wonder if it has anything to do with the confidential 2008 SOCA Intelligence Report called 'Private Investigators: The Rogue Element of the Private Investigation Industry and Others Unlawfully Trading in Personal Data'.

Completed by SOCA in Jan 2008, the eight page report was designated 'Restricted' until it was slipped into the public domain in early 2012.  (Hat-tip to Keith Vaz MP for noticing it on SOCA's web site.) It summarises findings about "harms inflicted to the UK by private investigators" from five un-named police investigations, up to and including 2007 when Clive GOODMAN and Glenn MULCAIRE were convicted.  Criminal activities include "unlawfully acquiring data, interception of communications, corruption, and perverting the course of justice."  It is also pointed out that many private investigators have been previously employed in law enforcement or the armed forces: "Such individuals bring with them the skills and specialist knowledge accrued during their previous careers."  Corrupt practices identified also include "accessing their own or associates' recorded convictions; attempting to discover the location of witnesses".

You can read it here.

The five anonymised investigations up to the Intelligence Report cut-off date of September 2007 could conceivably include Operation REPROOF, Operation MOTORMAN and Operation GLADE - these all relate to Hackgate.  Spoilt for choice, perhaps SOCA also included the (as-yet unconnected to Hackgate)  Operation BARBATUS.

Should SOCA consider writing a Volume 2 beyond that cut-off date, the familiar modus operandi might point to several current police Hackgate operations, and perhaps Operation ABELARD II.

Not forgetting there's that rather interesting OPERATION MILLIPEDE - the prime example of a 'Jack-in-Box' investigation.  The one that it is just so difficult to keep the lid on.

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Tuesday 28 August 2012

The Free Syrian Army Storms A Surface To Air Missile Facility

This video, supposedly filmed outside of Damascus, has been posted online, apparently showing the Free Syrian Army shortly after they captured a missile facility

@salehram and @hlk01 both provided me with a translation of the opening statement from the video

Popular Defense Group
Abdulla Bin-Salam unit
Units of the Eastern Ghouta

A group from an FSA unit stormed a rocket maintenance and modification base in the area of Iftrees.  The regime had used this base to shell surrounding areas and for the storage of cannons and tanks that enter the villages and cities of Damascus Countryside.
During the successful operation, FSA members found a large group of rockets in a ready-to-launch state and with massive destructive capability.  The biggest surprise was a group of rockets that were being modified to carry unconventional warheads,  this may have been done to equip the rockets with chemical or biological warheads.

After bringing out this information - confirmed via evidence and images - to the public and international community, the Higher Military Council of the FSA warns that the Assad regime is preparing to shell Syrian cities with these destructive rockets.  It is not unlikely for the regime to resort to using rockets with unconventional warheads such as chemical, biological or other warheads.  The Higher Military Council calls upon Arab nations and the international community to rapidly intervene militarily to save the lives of Syrians before this regime takes revenge with a new level of crime that would have catastrophic consequences on the entire region.

Victory to the great Syrian revolution.
As well as a translation of what's said on the video
By the will of God, the Iftrees base has been stormed by the Popular Defense Group, Units of the Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside.

Thank God.  God is greater !  Here are the members of the Free Syrian Army.  God is greater!
Storming of the Iftrees base.  Tanks destroyed.  Storming of the rocket storage facility.  Ten rockets.
God is greater!
This warehouse of full of rockets.

Off-camera voice: God is greater! Rockets, Iftrees base, rockets.   Chemical weapons.  Oh people, Assad is hitting us with them.  God is greater!
Another video posted on a Youtube channel belonging to the al Islam Brigade also shows the missile base

What we can see in this video are SA-5 surface to air missiles, which makes me seriously question that claims in the opening statement of the first video that "The biggest surprise was a group of rockets that were being modified to carry unconventional warheads,  this may have been done to equip the rockets with chemical or biological warheads.", especially as Syria has access to a large number of SCUD missiles, which are designed for surface to surface attacks with a variety of warheads.  It also seems very unlikely these missiles would actually be any use to the FSA without the correct equipment and training, as well as enough time to move them to a safe location before the Syrian Army responded.

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Collected Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Used In Syria

On July 10th I identified the first recorded use of cluster bombs in Syria, but since then there's been no evidence of further cluster bomb use, bar unverified reports.  Now new videos have emerged that show a new kind of cluster bomblet and the bomb used to drop them from the town of Abu Kamal
This first video shows a dozen PTAB-2.5m cluster bomblets (identified from this document), which are held up and shown to the camera
These cluster bombs are deployed by a RBK-250 cluster bomb, which can hold 42 of the bomblets, and a video from the same area also shows what appears to be a casing for a one
Update August 29th Another video of what appears to be the same bomb has been posted

It should be noted that PTAB-2.5m cluster bomblets are commonly used as anti-tank bombs.  Bjørn H Jespersen pointed out a great example of those bomblets being loaded into a RBK 250 cluster bomb

This may not be the only example of a cluster bomb used recently, as this video also catches the remains of a bomb that looks like it could possibly be a larger RBK series cluster bomb
Update August 29th This video has been posted online that appears to show a child that has been given an unexploded cluster muntion from the above bomb so he can be filmed with it.  Needless to say this is incredibly dangerous and irresponsible

Update August 31st HamaEcho has spotted another video of an RBK-250 cluster bomb carrying PTAB-2.5m cluster bomblets (according to the writing on the casing) dropped in the Dier Ez Zor region

Update October 9th This video from Altmanah, Idlib shows a new example of a cluster bomb with AO-1 SCH bomblets, which were first seen in the original sighting of cluster bombs in Syria

Update October 9th I've now come across what appears to be the tail end of a cluster bomb in Taftanaz, Idlib

Thanks to Bjørn H Jespersen for highlighting the original channel this video was posted in which also had this additional video

This video from the same channel apparently shows the above cluster bomb being dropped

Update October 9th Here's a third new cluster bomb sighting from Rif Dimashq, Eastern Bouwayda. Damascus Suburb

Update October 11th It appears another cluster bomb tail has been spotted Ma'arrat al Nouman, Idlib (via @Guardian_Mario)

Update October 11th Another two videos showing a cluster bomb tail and bomblets have been posted from Talmenes, in Ma'arrat al-Numan, Idlib, and appears to be different from the one shown above

Update October 11th Another cluster bomb and bomblets in Idlib, this time in Al Tah, south of Ma'arrat al Nouman

Update October 11th Another from Al Tah, it should be said it's unclear if these bombs are the same, or different bombs

Further videos of cluster bombs used in Syria can be found in this post.

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Unlucky For Some - Section 13

A new piece from a regular contributor.

Today's Independent reports that Lord Justice Leveson has started sending out his requisite Section 13 letters.  These notification letters must be sent to any who may be criticised in the Inquiry's final report. (Don't get me started on the arguments about what legally constitutes 'a person'....)

Rule 13 provides:
The Chairman may send a warning letter to any person:
a. he considers maybe, or who has been, subject to criticism in the inquiry proceedings;
b. about whom criticism may be inferred from evidence that has been given during the inquiry proceedings;
c. who may be subject to criticism in the report, or any interim report.
The timely mail shot allows those in receipt of a Section 13 warning letter to raise objections, factual inaccuracies and so on. No doubt their legal advisors will be busy formulating responses.  But the defensive strategies to Section 13 warnings started long before letters starting dropping onto expectant doormats.

For example, way back in October '11, anticipation of severe criticism loomed large in the unsuccessful Surrey Police application  (pp1-16) for Core Participant status for Module 1 - before the Inquiry had even started to take any witness evidence.

In May, the Metropolitan Police Service (MET) submitted "that all individual criticism of any sort is outside Part 1 and inconsistent with the Terms of Reference" - Part 1 being the evidence-taking, up to Leveson's Final Report.  The MET submission was unsuccessful for the legal reasons given by Leveson in his Application of Rule 13 of the Inquiry Rules 2006 in Relation to the Metropolitan Police Service.

Another example of a preemptive strike was that of the Closing Submission of Module 3 Core Participant, Rebekah Brooks.  Fearful lest other's evidence to Leveson (including the MET's Deputy Assistant Commissioer Sue Akers) might have generated a negative impression, Rebekah warned
... the Inquiry should be mindful of the fact that her character and credibility will be a very significant issue in her trial (or trials), and that any conclusions affecting either are therefore likely to be significantly prejudicial to her case,.. she should not be made the subject of direct criticism.
Lord Justice Leveson however had already anticipated the debate on Section 13: is very important that any Inquiry does not prejudice either the police investigation or any potential prosecution to such extent as thwarts the investigation or renders a prosecution so unfair as to constitute an abuse of process. That does not mean that there can be no mention of any person under investigation...
He also countered:
As a matter of fairness, as I have sought to protect the names of those who have been arrested from being linked with specific allegations of criminal conduct, so I have not thought it right to allow those who have not been arrested to be named as guilty of crime, even where I anticipate no prospect of a criminal investigation
Viz-a-viz his Report, Leveson also pointed out that:
... much more relevant than anything I say will be the underlying evidence which has been presented to the Inquiry; that will be available for any criminal trial
As will the evidence given to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, Privacy and Media Intrusion 2003, Self-Regualtion of the Press 2007, Press Standards, Privacy and Libel 2010, Home Affairs Select Committee,  Unauthorised Tapping Into or Hacking of Mobile Communications 2011 and Culture, Media and Sport, News International and Phone Hacking 2012.

All of these have been widely reported nationally and internationally, so (like pictures of Prince Harry's bum) there is little chance that 'collective amnesia' can be induced on such a wide scale that all such evidence could be conveniently forgotten.

Lord Justice Leveson is obliged to support his considerations in his Section 13 letters with EVIDENCE - evidence given to his Inquiry, which has so carefully avoided prejudicing criminal proceedings.

No doubt that is exactly what he will do.  Unluckily for some...

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Monday 27 August 2012

Helicopter Downed In Damascus - Collected Videos And Images

As reported by the BBC and other news organisations the Free Syrian Army claim to have shot down a helicopter in the Damascus district of Al Qabun that had been firing on the district of Jobar

A number of people have sent me additional images and videos from the incident, so thanks to @DamascusTribune, @septimius_sever, and @troublejee for the following images.

@HebahAlhomsi posted two images showing the helicopter as it was crashing, and debris from the helicopter

She also posted this very graphic image of the remains of one of the pilot.

This video shows helicopter engulfed in flames just before it crashes

Another angle of the helicopter dropping out of the sky

And another

And another showing it crashing among buildings

This video shows the wreckage of the helicopter

Thanks to @troublejee for the above videos, as well as this photograph which he says activist claim to be the man who shot down the helicopter, using a ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft gun, also mentioned by @HebahAlhomsi

Update August 27th Here's another video via @zilal1

The Coordinating free Qaboun Youtube channel is posting multiple videos from the incident in addition to the ones already posted above.

GRAPHIC - The hand of one of the pilots of the helicopter

Two shots of the burning helicopter

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Sunday 26 August 2012

Captured Major General Defects To The FSA

Back in June I wrote about the capture of Major General and Brigadier General in Damascus, Brigadier General Mounir Shleibi of the notorious Palestine Intelligence Branch, and Major General Faraj al-Maqt of Syrian Central Command.  In an interesting twist a new video has been posted online in the last few days showing Major General Faraj al-Maqt declaring his defection to the Free Syrian Army

In the video he states his name, that he was arrested on June 20th, and that he is defecting after witnessing first hand the murder of children and innocent civilians by artillery, mortar, and aircraft for the 17 days he was detained with the Free Syrian Army.  He then goes onto say he's received nothing but the utmost humane, moral, and ethical treatment, and urges members of the Syrian Army, in particular the Druze, to defect and join the FSA under the Sultan Basha al-Atrash Battalion, which appears to have been founded in December last year according to this video in Houran.

At the end of his video his military ID is displayed
Which appears to match the ID shown in the earlier video
Reliable activist THE_47th claimed this about the apparent defection
Mjr Gen. Faraj Al Maqt kidnapped 2 months ago: Forced to pretend-defection here:

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You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at

Saturday 25 August 2012

Images Of Shrines And Mosques Destroyed By Extremists In Libya

There's be a number of reports today of Islamic extremists destroying shrines and graves in Zliten and Tripoli, as well as demolishing a mosque in Tripoli with bulldozers.   A number of images from these events have now been posted on Twitter by @Thanku4theAnger and @david_bachmann_.  These first pair of images are from @david_bachmann_ and show the mosque before and after the demolition took place
Mosque in front of @Radissonlibya today 6AM #Tripoli #Libya
...same mosque today 6PM #Tripoli #Libya
These images are from @Thanku4theAnger
First arrived to find Turkish era graves near Sidi Shaab broken into & desecrated #tripoli # libya

Another photo of Turkish era graves desecrated near Sidi Shaab in Tripoli #libya

At Sidi Shaab Salafis are celebrating demolition of graves & others like man in cap arguing against this crime #libya

Photo of Sidi Shaab demolition in Tripoli.There were 2 bulldozers. #libya

Another photo of demolition of Sidi Shaab by the extremist Govt forces SSC & Anti crime unit in Tripoli #libya

Many Salafis were at demolition of Sidi Shaab in Tripoli admiring the tragedy. #libya
@Thanku4theAnger described the following about events at Sidi Shaab
Just got back from Sidi Shaab in Tripoli and will upload photos the tragedy and say what happened. I am so angry.
Tripoli council Head tried to stop demolitn of Sidi Shaab to no avail. Man from Banun family who protested demolition was beaten up
Elderly man at Sidi Shaab said we changed a despot to get a despot. A Salafi was unhappy at comment. So I had heated argument with him.
The Salafi lied & said they had sanction to destroy these graves with MAJ's approval. I had to walk away or I would've punched him

It's now been reported that the Minister for Interior and Minister for Defence have both been sacked as the result of the above incidents, although it's also been reported that members of the National Congress are denying those reports.

Update August 25th Thanks to a number of regular readers who have sent me a number of videos and images from Zliten, especially @menshevik and Michael Pugliese.  This video shows the Sheikh Abdul Salam Al Asmar mosque and shrine at the moment it was attacked by Salafists in Zliten on Friday

A photo of the aftermath was posted on this Facebook group for Libyan Salafists

@menshevik also highlighted this Reuters article from May about a previously aborted attack on the location.

ChangeInLibya has also just Tweeted details of a TV appearance by interim Libyan President Dr. Mohamed Almagariaf
GNC @Almagariaf: Who took part in the disgraceful acts of the last two days are unfortunately aligned with SSC and some ex-fighters #Libya
GNC @Almagariaf: The people that perpetrated recent acts of desecration are criminals and will be pursued #Libya
GNC @Almagariaf: Those of us in the GNC ask government and security forces to take all necessary measures to stop acts by outlaws #Libya
GNC @Almagariaf: The GNC calls on Army (Chief of staff) to take up its responsibility of defending #Libya and protecting our heritage #Libya
GNC @Almagariaf: GNC will not hesitate to make the necessary decisions. We will question PM, MoD, MoI tomorrow morning & act accordingly
GNC @Almagariaf: We ask all Libyans to be vigilant, calm, peaceful and to work within their community to protect #Libya and its history
GNC @Almagariaf: We ask Libyans not to follow rumours and instigations by some channels and those who do not put #Libya first and foremost
Update August 26th Damian Spleeters sent me a selection of pictures from Tripoli

I was also pointed in the direction of a Tweet by LibyaLiberty relating to a photograph posted here which points to possible collusion with the Ministry of Interior
What's up w/this alleged member of MOI who oversaw demolition,seeming to be a part of it? via najah dawaji
Al Jazeera English also has a good round up of events.

Update August 26th Some additional links.
Video of a GNC member arguing with the Salafists at the mosque in Tripoli
Naziha Arebi's Tumblr with images of the destruction of the mosque
This image from @libyanproud showing Thuwar who are based at the Radisson Hotel across from the mosque
they sat and watched or sealed it for them
This image from @ablajounaidi supposedly showing desecrated graves of saints
Un tombeau de saint saccagé par des islamistes extrémistes
This image of the mosque in Tripoli being destroyed from @HA_FGM
صورة لجامع الشعاب اثناء الهدم
 This image of the mosque destruction from @2011feb17
This is ridiculous!!! Sha3ab mosque is being demolished too!!! Been to the Friday prayers many times there in the 80s!

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at