Saturday 27 October 2012

Clear Evidence Of DIY Barrel Bombs Being Used By The Syrian Air Force

Over the past few months I've been collecting UXO evidence of what has appeared to be crude DIY barrel bombs being dropped by the Syrian Air Force. CJ Chivers has also written about these DIY weapons on the New York Times At War Blog and the Russian Military Analyst Col. Evgeny Khrushchev has written for Russia Today describing reports as "barrel bomb baloney".

Now for the first time we have video footage, apparently leaked or captured from members of the Syrian Air Force and filmed inside a Mil Mi-8 (Hip) helicopter, showing what appears to be DIY barrel bombs thrown out of the rear door of the helicopter.

As Bjørn H Jespersen helpfully pointed out at 45s on the 5th video you see the fuze being lit by a cigarette.

This seems to support earlier video footage that appeared to show a barrel bomb being dropped in much the same way (35s)

This seems to clearly demonstrate that bar any accusations that the videos have been faked (certainly not by the opposition, unless they suddenly have access to helicopters) that DIY barrel bombs are being used by the Syrian Air Force, as opposed to claims of their use being "baloney".

Big thanks to @RobotNickk for highlighting these videos.

Related Articles
Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria
Collected ODAB Thermobaric Bomb Evidence
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria
The Mystery Of The Syrian Barrel Bombs
New Bomb Identified In Syria
The Weapons Of The Syrian Air Force 

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at


  1. Is the giant yellow barrel a bomb as well or an extra internally carried fuel tank?

  2. Here's the thing about a barrel bomb. If you want to drop a bomb accurately from a plane, you have to come in very, very low, and in order to avoid ground fire, you need to go very, very fast, which makes accurate bombing, difficult.
    So the Syrians have actually come up with a fantastic idea that is actually much more accurate, and less likely to go wide, miss the target, and hit an innocent.
    How is this more accurate? It looks very primitive, but it's actually accurate down to 10 ft!

    here's how they do it. They build the bombs out of big pipes, that are round, heavy, and not affected by cross-winds...the shape of the bomb allow it to fall straight down.

    During a bombing run, the commander on the ground will determine the location of the enemy using GPS. The commander relays the GPS coordinates to the pilot. The Pilot flies to a safe altitude, from which he can hover into position, using a hand held GPS, directly over the target.

    Once the pilot is directly over the target, and stationary...the bomb is dropped.

    The bombs have a detonator which ignites the explosives on contact. the fuses are lit as a back-up, in case the contact detonator fails, the fuse will make sure the thing goes off, and doesn't become a suicide bomb, or a road side bomb.

    1. Would the bomb really fall "straight down"? You cannot cancel-out inertia with the shape of a bomb. Although, the lack of fins and a streamlined shape would mean the bomb is less affected by winds.

  3. The RT article actually concedes that the regime are dropping oil drum bombs. The conceptual syntax is typically Russian.

    "During a bombing run, the commander on the ground will determine the location of the enemy using GPS."

    At Aleppo. The SAA show the pilot a photograph, or at times mark the target by hand, smoke, or a gasoline bomb, they run back. If it is a school or something, the SAA may not be that close. A fixed wing aircraft may follow up on a school.

    If there are radio intercepts, for a target that could require a meeting. There is a shortage of working facsimile equipment. The SAA may not be local either. They don't always use proper names for geography.

  4. The YouTube videos are deleted. That is a shame as these are historic videos, they are the first undeniable evidence of Syrian use of barrel bombs. If anyone has a copy saved it would be good to repost for historians and others.