Bellingcat

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Being Deployed In Syria

Following on from my earlier post on OFAB 250-270 High Explosive Bombs being deployed in Syria a pair of new videos have been posted online showing a new type of bomb (thanks to HamaEcho).  Both videos were filmed at the same location in the Jabal Shehshebo region in the Hama countryside, the same area as the first OFAB 250-270 videos were filmed.

The video shows around 15 bomblets marked with A-IX-2, a Russian explosive used in military shells.  This would imply the shells are loaded with explosives, but have failed to detonate.  A poster on Something Awful pointed out that they appear to be AO-1 SCH bomblets (image), and are submunitions in a number of bombs.  The next videos show the likely delivery device
Bjørn H Jespersen, of the excellent .processing blog put together a quick sketch of the weapon based on the above video
It appears the bomb is an RBK-250-275 cluster bomb (image) (image),
It is believed that the RBK-250-275 was originally designed to carry fragmentation bomblets designated AO-2.5. However, later versions carried 150 AO-1 SCh fragmentation bomblets, or 30 PTAB-2.5 anti-armour bomblets. The designation letters AO stand for aviatsionnaya oskolochnaya meaning 'aircraft fragmentation', PTAB stands for protivo-tankovaya aviatsionnaya bomba meaning 'anti-tank aircraft bomb'.
As I reported earlier, after we saw the OFAB 250-270 High Explosive Bombs being dropped in fields in the Jabal Shehshebo region in the Hama we then saw evidence of them being dropped on buildings in other parts of Syria, and with a failure rate high enough to allow us to identify a number of examples of the bomb landing somewhat intact.  In fact, the final video showed a bomb that had gone through the roof of a house and landed in one piece in a large crater, so the question is, are we seeing old stock now being deployed in Syria, and could the explain the failure rate?  Another theory is the fuse was incorrectly set on the bombs, and this led to a failed or partial detonation.  And as it's clear there's large number of dud bomblets it's also important to point of the long term and unintentional effects of cluster bomb usage in civilian areas
Cluster munitions are inaccurate and unreliable weapons that by their very nature pose unacceptable dangers to civilians.  They pose an immediate threat during conflict by randomly scattering thousands of submunitions or "bomblets" over a vast area, and they continue to take even more civilian lives and limbs long after a conflict has ended, as hundreds of submunitions may fail to explode upon impact, littering the landscape with landmine-like "duds."
You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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