Video geolocation of Tunisian jihadists in Raqqa

16 November 2023 6 minutes Author: Cyber Witcher

Uncovering the location of Tunisian jihadists: Video geolocation mastery

Using geolocation technologies to analyze videos of Tunisian jihadists in Raqqa is a cutting-edge topic in cybersecurity. In this article, we consider how modern geolocation methods can be used to determine the location of objects or events depicted in a video. The importance of this technology cannot be overstated, as it finds application in many areas, from law enforcement to cyber investigations. Video geolocation is based on the use of various data, such as video metadata, visual landmarks and landscape analysis. This allows experts to accurately determine the location of the video, even if this information is missing or distorted. monitoring of conflict zones. The development of artificial intelligence and machine learning further expands the possibilities of using geolocation.

Additionally, image and video analysis makes it possible to detect changes in the landscape or urban environment, which can be important for historical research or Thanks to deep learning algorithms, it is possible to automate the process of detecting and analyzing visual features, significantly increasing the speed and accuracy of geolocation analysis. An important aspect is also the ethics of using geolocation. This technology must be used responsibly, with respect for privacy and legal regulations. In conclusion, video geolocation is an important tool in today’s world that opens up new opportunities for research and intelligence. It allows you to obtain key information from visual data, which can be used in many directions, from scientific research to ensuring national security. The use of this technology requires not only technical expertise, but also an understanding of its potential impact on society and individual rights. With constant development and improvement, geolocation will continue to be a key element in the world of analytics and cyber security.

Geolocation analysis of video

A video has been released online (click the link to scroll down to see the video) showing Tunisian jihadists claiming responsibility for the 2013 murders of two Tunisian secular politicians. The video was claimed to have been taken in Islamic State-controlled territory, and it can be traced back to the position where the video was taken using a variety of geolocation techniques.

The video is carefully edited and contains the men’s statements, shot from different angles. At the 39th second of the video, a shot of the flagpole appears, with buildings visible in the background.

One building was of particular interest, a large building with a red roof directly behind the flagpole. The same building is also seen at the beginning of the video (about 28 seconds in) when the four men sit down, revealing more details about the building.

Using simple image editing software such as, it is possible to create a composite image of this scene showing all the buildings in the background, providing a clearer image of the building.

Based on this, we see that we are looking for a large building with a red roof, with rectangular windows on the top floor and at least two stories with arched windows below.

Then we started looking at satellite maps of cities controlled by the Islamic State, starting with Raqqa. We quickly found one large building with a red roof, the Faculty of Civil Engineering, and began searching for any images of the building. On Panoramio it was possible to find images of the building and compare the photos with the building seen in the video.

300 meters west of this building is a public square with a large flagpole, its shadow, and the flag seen in the satellite map image below.

There is also a short segment at the beginning of the video showing the men entering the frame from the right, which gives a different view from the location. Another composite image of the buildings in the background could be created with simple image editing software.

To the south of the satellite image of the public square shows a building that matches what is seen in the image above. In the image below, the top satellite image shows red paint around the edge of the roof. The lower satellite image taken in 2011 shows the north side of the building, and the window pattern visible in the video matches that seen in the satellite map image.

To the southwest of the above building is another building visible in the composite image. Several elements clearly match, including the location of the windows on the front of the building and the structure on top of the building.

Trees are also visible behind this building, all of which indicate that this location is an extremely close match to what is seen in the video.

From the image above, it was also possible to estimate the position of the camera. Since you can see the exact parts of the two buildings that line up with each other, you can also draw a line between them to indicate where the camera is. In the image below, a line is drawn between the sections of the building marked in red and green, which corresponds to the position on the satellite map image.

Following the line north along the same direction, it points to the same location west of the Civil Engineering Department that we found earlier. Based on this information, it seems very likely that the video was filmed somewhere in this location.

At this point, you should pay attention to the object in the background of the video.

This balcony belongs to the Raqqa Governorate building and is exactly in the same location as the line we drew from the two buildings to the south and is shown in the image below.

Based on this information alone, it is very likely that the video was shot on the roof of this building. Additional information pointing to this location can also be found. In the image below, we can see the flagpole between windows 3 and 4 from the upper right corner of the Faculty of Civil Engineering building.

As with other buildings, a line can be drawn from this position through the flagpole to indicate the location of the camera.

This again points to the same location as before and confirms that the video was taken from the roof of a building in Raqqa province, which is now occupied by the Islamic State. It is also possible to set that this video was taken after a certain date. One part of the video shows the antenna, one of a pair that were east of the governor’s building.

At the end of September, one of the two antennas was destroyed in an airstrike, so it can be confirmed that this video was not only taken on the roof of the Raqqa Governorate building, but also after the end of September 2014.

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