The French services analysed the testimonies, photos and videos that spontaneously appeared on specialized websites, in the press and on social media in the hours and days following the attack. Testimonies obtained by the French services were also analysed. After examining the videos and images of victims published online, they were able to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the vast majority are recent and not fabricated. The spontaneous circulation of these images across all social networks confirms that they were not video montages or recycled images. Lastly, some of the entities that published this information are generally considered reliable.
Since 2014, over 1.6 million migrants and asylum seekers have arrived by sea to Europe. European countries registered over 3.18 million new asylum applications. Over 700,000 applicants were granted a form of protective status, mostly in Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands, with 450,000 applicants rejected in the same time period, and over 1.1 million pending applications at the end of 2016. Amendments to the Schengen Border Code, proposed in response to terrorist threats, aim to strengthen external borders by requiring systematic database checks at entry and exit.
This data set consists of twenty-one teleoperated weapons systems used by terrorist and insurgent groups. It is worth noting that there are many more systems’ images available, but no group affiliation could be associated with them, which is why they were not included in this research project. The plethora of videos and photos on social media indicates that terror and insurgent groups are increasingly turning to improvised weaponry use on the battlefield. One class of improvised weapon that is emerging is remote controlled sniper rifles and machine guns. They are being used across Syria, Iraq, and a lone case in Libya as early as 2011. Typically, rifles or machine guns are improvised to be secured on a base—either mobile or stationary—and linked to cables, which are connected to a remote and screen. Some systems are more refined than others, such as with cameras, but all have at least proven to be somewhat effective.
Syria and its ongoing civil war represent an operational environment (OE) that includes many of the characteristics illustrative of the complexities of modern warfare. Now in its fourth year, the civil war in Syria has lured a variety of threat actors from the Middle East and beyond. What began as a protest for improved opportunities and human rights has devolved into a full-scale civil war. As the Syrian military and security forces fought to subdue the civil unrest across the country, these protest groups responded with increasing violence aided by internal and external forces with a long history of terrorist activity. Ill-suited for the scale of combat that was unfolding across the country, Syrian forces turned to their allies for help, including Hezbollah and Iran. The inclusion of these forces has in many ways transformed the military of President Bashar al Assad from a conventional defensive force to a counterinsurgency force.
This Tactical Action Report (TAR) provides information on the capture and subsequent recapture of Sinjar, a town at the foot of the Sinjar Mountains. The Nineveh Offensive, of which Sinjar was a key target, led to the capture of a large part of northern Iraq and included the occupation of Mosul. ISIL pushed Peshmerga forces from the area and threatened Erbil, the government seat of the KRG in 2014. A growing humanitarian crisis developed as ISIL began purging villages in the Sinjar area of the minority group known as Yazidis. Thousands were killed, kidnapped, or forced to flee their homes. Many Yazidis retreated to the Sinjar Mountains where they were besieged by ISIL fighters. These circumstances led to President Barack Obama ordering air strikes to protect Erbil, where US military advisors were headquartered, and to relieve the displaced Yazidi civilians. Over a year later Peshmerga fighters, with the help of other Kurdish factions, pushed ISIL forces out of Sinjar and other surrounding areas and severed a key supply route connecting ISIL-held Raqqa, Syria, with Mosul, Iraq.
Asylum seekers and other migrants are arriving in Europe and encountering rapidly changing border controls as they seek transit through Europe. The EU is implementing its “hotspot” approach for new arrival registration in Italy and Greece. This is a snapshot of the situation based on available unclassified data as of March 4, 2016.
Over 15 million people have been displaced due to conflict in Syria and Iraq. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights documented at least 260,000 Syrians killed in the conflict since it began in 2011. The UN reported at least 26,600 Iraqis killed from 2014-2015 due to acts of terrorism and violence.
The DDIS Intelligence Risk Assessment gives an overview of our current intelligence-based assessments of developments in a number of countries and conflict areas and provides an outline of foreign policy issues that may impact on Denmark’s security. This year’s Risk Assessment emphasizes the terrorist threat posed by militant Islamist groups, Russia’s attempt at repositioning itself as a great power, cyber espionage against businesses and public authorities, and the conflict-ridden and unstable situation in the Middle East and North Africa. The analyses contained in this risk assessment are based on classified intelligence. The assessment is, however, unclassified and aimed at a wide audience, which limits the level of detail in analyses.
In recent weeks, the upsurge of Syrians seeking asylum in European countries has overwhelmed existing capacity. According to UNHCR, as of July 2015 almost 350,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in Europe since the conflict in Syria began, nearly half applying in Germany and Sweden and one third in Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands combined.
Al Qusayr, a village in Syria’s Homs district, is a traditional transit point for personnel and goods traveling across the Lebanon/Syria border. Located in the southern half of the Orontes valley known as the al Assi basin, its proximity to northern Lebanon has made this region an important logistical area for the rebel forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), in what has become known as the Homs front. A typical border region, the al Assi basin’s inhabitants are multinational as well as multi-ethnic with a complex makeup of Sunni, Shia, Alawi, and Christian religions that claim both Lebanese and Syrian Citizenship. Due to the proximity to the border region, and the main north and south highway from Homs to Damascus, al Qusayr is a pivotal point in the Syrian conflict for both the FSA and the pro-regime SAA.
On the basis of the evidence obtained during our investigation of the Ghouta incident, the conclusion is that, on 21 August 2013, chemical weapons have been used in the ongoing conflict between the parties in the Syrian Arab Republic, also against civilians, including children, on a relatively large scale.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a pro-regime hacker group that emerged during Syrian anti-government protests in 2011, has been compromising high-profile media outlets in an effort to spread pro-regime propaganda. The SEA’s primary capabilities include spearphishing, Web defacements, and hijacking social media accounts to spread propaganda. Over the past several months, the SEA has been highly effective in compromising multiple high-profile media outlets.
The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013, resulting in a large number of casualties, including the deaths of 1,429 people, among them 426 children. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack.
The following are satellite photos of the Al-Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan with analysis provided by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT). The photos show the growth of the camp from approximately…
The following maps and satellite photos depict refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan and provide statistics regarding the displacement of persons as the result of the conflict in Syria. The first map was created by the U.S. State Department Humanitarian…
An autonomous or federal Kurdistan within Syria — similar to that which exists in Iraq — is unlikely because of intra-Kurdish conflict and the opposition of Turkey and the Syrian National Council (SNC) — the main external Syrian opposition group.
The Director of National Intelligence’s Open Source Center produced a report in June 2012 to help representatives of the U.S. government analyze and communicate with the Syrian people more effectively. The report, part of the Master Narratives series produced in conjunction with a private consulting firm called Monitor 360 and other “partners across the U.S. government”, is focused on “surfacing and articulating master narratives across a range of important geographies. These insights can be used to better understand critical audience segments and key influencers, build analytic capabilities, and develop actionable messaging and counter-messaging strategies.”