Since some of Alalam’s false evidence was slightly less obvious than the rest (in the last post), I felt I should debunk it properly. Alalam News Channel‘s photos have been recycled from the documentation of earlier acts of violence in Syria in 2013, Iraq in 2014 and Libya in 2012. I won’t be online much for the next two or three weeks.
Is this the first evidence of the destruction of Sufi tombs in Deir Ezzor, Syria in September 2014?
Alalam News Channel’s first piece of evidence was this photo of a bulldozer in the process of destroying a tomb.
The first piece of alleged evidence is actually evidence of the destruction of tombs in Mosul, Iraq in June 2014
In fact, as Christopher Jones’s translation and analysis showed at the time, that photo documented the destruction of the “Tomb of the Girl” (Qabr al-Bint – in fact, the tomb of Sunni medieval historian Ali Ibn al-Athir) in Mosul in June 2014.
Is this some evidence of the destruction of Sufi shrines in Deir Ezzor, Syria in September 2014?
Alalam’s second piece of evidence was this photograph of a devastated mosque.
The second piece of alleged evidence is actually evidence of the destruction of shrines in Deir Ezzor, Syria in October 2013
This was the most difficult to debunk and made me doubt my original post. (And there may have been some genuine confusion, as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had tried to explain that it had already identified the destruction of some such shrines.)
The search results suggested that the image had been published by the 17th of June 2013 at the latest; but Google had associated that image with that article because it was the headline photo for another article amongst the automatically and constantly generated list of related stories.
In fact, as documented in Al Arabi and the Daily Star (Lebanon), it showed the shrine of Sheikh Issa Abdul-Qader al-Rifai in Busaira, the capital city of Deir Ezzor province, which was destroyed on the 13th of October 2013, and which was identified through a video and a photo that were secured by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. In Al Arabi’s own report of the recent claims, this photo was the only “evidence” that Al Arabi presented.
Is there any evidence of the destruction of Sufi shrines in Deir Ezzor, Syria in September 2014?
The third piece of alleged evidence is actually evidence of the destruction of Sufi mosques in Tripoli, Libya in August 2012
Amongst others, the AFP, Channel 4 News and Hürriyet Daily News have published this photograph/video frame as evidence of the destruction of the Al Sha’ab shrine in Tripoli, Libya on the 23rd of August 2012; crucially, Brown Moses confirmed it with open source evidence.
One such discrepancy is that a Google Images search shows that a photograph published by numerous news outlets this month that purportedly depicts the minaret of an Angolan mosque being dismantled in October 2012 had been used at least as early Jan. 23, 2008, when the Housing [and] Land Rights Network posted it to illustrate an article about the destruction of Bedouin homes in Israel.
I suspect that this was a false positive. Perhaps they misidentified the limited remains of the building. Eliot Higgins (Brown Moses) shared a series of photos that had been shared by an Associate Field Investigator for Libya at Conflict Armament Research, Damien Spleeters; according to EXIF data, they had been taken by a Reuters-supplying photographer in Libya, Ismail Zitouny, on the 25th of August 2012.
The Islamic State has also been known as the Caliphate, Da’ash, Da’esh, Da’ish, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).