How the liberation of al-Bab exposed another case of Assad-ISIS cooperation

It is my passion to goelocate Syrian war video footage to verify statements by the opposing parties, regarding territorial claims in ongoing battles. So when the Turkish-led Euphrates Shield coalition posted footage of what it said was the Dalil roundabout at the western entrance of al-Bab, I used Google Earth to verify the position and was first confused, then speechless.


What could be seen in the video footage was a nearby large-scale complex of buildings, not visible on any available free satellite image, offered by Google, Bing or Yandex. First, I thought the claim and the location was not accurate but then I realized that in fact, between the “Youth Housing Complex” and the “Automated Bakery”, clearly visible in the footage, a 16 hectares area was developed to what Syrian activists told me was named the “New Market” or “New Trade Center” of al-Bab.


To understand my speechlessness and the exposure of Assad-ISIS business ties behind that finding, one has to look into the history of al-Bab during the Syrian war. The city was widely untouched by the conflict until 2012 when rebels managed to oust regime forces until July that year. But the liberation lasted not long. In the summer of 2013, ISIS militants started to build a presence in the town and in November, they took over the city.


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