Wednesday 12 December 2012

Grads Join Scuds And Incendiary Bombs In The Latest Escalation Of The Syrian Conflict

In the past month those of us tracking the use of arms in the Syrian conflict have noted a fresh escalation in the conflict.  We've seen RBK cluster bombs deployed with ZAB incendiary munitions along with ZAB-100-105 incendiary bombs, as well as reports of Scud missiles being used.  One other part of this apparent new escalation is the increasingly widespread use of BM-21 Grad rocket launchers, shown here in a clip leaked from Assad's forces firing from Bosra al-Hareer, Daara

BM-21 Grad's can be loaded with 40 rockets, which can be fired of ranges between 20-40km depending on the rocket, and while they've made the occasional rare appearance in the conflict it seems they are being used on an increasing basis, with a couple of examples of missile remnants from the Idlib and Aleppo regions pictured below

A number of more recent videos have been posted showing unexploded missiles, giving us a clear look at what they look like

It's been claimed in some of these videos that these are Iranian Saqr rockets, but the below logo present in each video suggests another source

The logo belongs to the Egpytian Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), which states on it's website
- The Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) is one of the largest industrial organizations in Egypt.
- It is State-owned and enjoys an international status that gives it complete flexibility in decision-making.
- AOI strategies are drawn by a Supreme Committee whose Chairman is the President of Egypt and whose membership comprises several Cabinet ministers.
On this link you see some of the military products it creates, including 122mm rocket systems.

In Human Rights Watch's April 2011 report on the use of Grad rockets on civilian areas in the Libyan Civil War Peter Bouckaert, the emergencies director at Human Rights Watch states that "the Soviet-made Grad in particular is one of the world's most inaccurate rocket systems and should never be fired in areas with civilians" and goes on to say "firing indiscriminately into civilian areas is a clear violation of the laws of war", something there appears to be increasing evidence of in Syria.

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