Bellingcat

Friday, 12 October 2012

Cluster Bomb Usage Rises Significantly Across Syria

Over the last few days there's been a marked increase in the number of cluster bomb remains being filmed in Syria, and until today most were filmed around Maarrat al-Numan, along the main highway that connects central Syria (Hama, Homs, then Damascus and Daraa) to northern Syria (Idlib, Aleppo), which has recently come under opposition control.  The concentration of reports from that area suggested at first that the use of cluster bombs was related to attempts to regain an important supply route to Aleppo.  The following video shows four examples of cluster bombs used in the area, some of which were covered in my earlier post on the topic


However, in the last 24 hours multiple videos have been posted online showing cluster bomb remains in locations across Syria.  In all of the examples they appear to show RBK-250 cluster bombs with PTAB 2.5m bomblets with removed fuzes.  These first two videos show bomb casing and cluster bomblets in Tell Rifaat, north of Aleppo


From the coastal region of Latakkia we have this video that shows a complete casing along with a number of unexploded bomblets


To the east of Damascus we have this remarkable collection of casing and bomblets from 5 separate cluster bombs from Deir Al-Assafeer, East Ghouta


From nearby Jisreen, East Ghouta the tail end of a cluster bomb


This video from Sloomia, in the countryside south of Homs, shows a pretty much complete cluster bomb


These two videos from Armanaz in Idlib shows what I believe is the remains of one cluster bomb


I'm not 100% sure this final example is a cluster bomb, but I'm fairly certain it's not an OFAB, maybe a FAB, but this is from Ma'arr Shamshah, near Maarrat al-Numan 
Update - Having discussed this with Bjørn H Jespersen of the .processing blog it appears this video is likely to be a FAB


These videos were posted online in the last 24 hours, and demonstrates that cluster bombs now appear to be used across Syria.  In the last 4 days I've seen videos of between 17-20 separate cluster bombs, compared to 3 videos in the prior 18 months, clearly pointing to an escalation in their use.  It should be noted that unlike normal bombs cluster bombs generally always leave behind bomb casings, as they open up to scatter bomblets rather than exploding.

Cluster bomblets leave a deadly legacy for decades after conflicts have ended, as well as being extremely dangerous to handle, something that unfortunately is happening in a great number of these videos.  Earlier videos of cluster bombs dropped in Syria can be found here.

Thanks to @ArarMaher, @GuardianMario, @hlk01, @bigmo1965, and @JMiller_EA for help with this post.

More cluster bomb videos from October 13th - 14th can be found here.

Related Articles
Collected Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Used In Syria
Evidence Of Cluster Bombs Being Deployed In Syria
New Cluster Bomb Evidence Emerges From Syria
A Beginner's Guide To Identifying UXO In Syria
Human Rights Watch - Syria: Evidence of Cluster Munitions Use by Syrian Forces

You can contact the author on Twitter @brown_moses or by email at brownmoses@gmail.com

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