Bellingcat

Friday, 13 July 2012

New Cluster Bomb Evidence Emerges From Syria

Following on from my earlier post on cluster bombs in Syria and the HRW report on that followed my investigations another video has emerged showing what maybe the same cluster bomb shown in the earlier video (translation via DamascusTribune)

The bomb in this video seems to have the same markings and same damage to it as the bomb in the earlier video.  It's appears the locals moved the bomb casing and bomblets to another location (which is extremely dangerous and really not recommended) so they could film the bomb in a better light.  This really only provides more evidence that one bomb has possibly been used so far.  It's interesting to note that according to Janes this bomb should contain 150 bomblets of the type displayed, yet it appears around 20 were recovered, with fragments of some at the top of the frame near the start of the video.  It may indicate that the remaining bomblets did detonate. 
Aside from the above video there's been a great deal of discussion about the earlier video, with CJ Chivers writing a very informative post on his blog looking at the reports on the the cluster bombs in Syria, and why it's important if they are being used. 
There was also another video posted that claimed to be a cluster bomb deployed in Daraa, and this post examines one of the main reason that I and other believe the explosions in the video are more likely caused by a volley of rockets. Update And just as I post this another video emerges (translation via DamascusTribune)
 Update Another video has been posted 
Update This exclusive witness report of the Treimsa massacre from NOW Lebanon appears to describe cluster style munitions
It was the first time we see helicopters of the like, they were really big and looked like Apaches. They would fire rockets that were capable of setting rocks on fire. They were throwing bombs which would divide into another 20 as it hit the ground. There were around five planes flying over us, they killed 10 families near the Assi river bank, they were all burnt to death, among which were 18 women and 15 children
Update July 14th CJ Chivers has written an excellent article with details of the Syrian air force from a defected Syrian pilot, with these interesting details relating to OFABs and cluster bombs
The aircraft are also well armed. He said his squadron was regularly equipped with S-5 rocket pods and trained to drop OFAB unguided bombs and RBK cluster-munitions canisters. By the time he defected in June, he said, pilots were routinely firing S-5 rockets and sometimes dropping OFABs, but he was not aware of any cluster-munitions use yet. There were reports last week of cluster munitions being used by Syrian helicopters; the reports, while gaining credibility, have not been independently verified.
You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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