Bellingcat

Friday, 11 January 2013

Highlights From The Video Tour Of Taftanaz Air Base

Today it's been reported that a major helicopter base near Taftanaz, southwest of Aleppo, was overrun by the Syrian opposition and as with all overrun bases in Syria a series of videos have been posted online showing both the battle and the aftermath.  Among those videos is this lengthy 34 minute tour of the air base


As it's rather long I thought I'd pick out a few interesting highlights from the video.  First we have this brief shot of the building that the remnants of the forces defending the base retreated to, before being hit by artillery/tank fire, as shown in this video.  This screenshot shows the damage done to the building


This next section shows a Hip helicopter armed with UB-16-57UMP launchers loaded with S-5 rockets, with rockets waiting to be loaded in the background


This would seem to suggest that this aircraft was in use, not just rusting on the tarmac.  Later on we have this shot of a badly damaged Hind helicopter armed with a pair of what I believe are UPK-23 gunpods, and a pair of OFAB 100-120 high explosive fragmentation bombs.  There's also a number of bombs on the ground surrounding the aircraft

So this appears to be another aircraft that was in active service when it was destroyed.  What interesting about the OFAB bomb is Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the group apparently involved in the attack, has used unexploded bombs in VBIED attacks, so I'm very curious in the number of bombs that were captured in the air base attack, as it's likely they'll be parts of future VBIEDs.

Another example of a Hip armed with loaded UB-16-57UMP launchers is shown, and then we have this very interesting example of an RBK cluster bomb tail unit, something that's always left over when a RBK cluster bomb is used


Although it's hard to be 100% sure this might indicate that the Syrian Air Force dropped cluster bombs on it's own air base during the battle, something that could be confirmed with UXO evidence.

Another video tour was posted on Bambuser, which at the 22:14 mark shows a military truck mounted with a UB-16-57UMP launcher.  This seems to show that the Syrian forces at that base were building their own DIY rocket launchers to defend the base


At 16:18 in the Bambuser video we also see this cluster bomb on the ground next to a damaged helicopter



Related Articles
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Unexploded Bombs Used In A Truck Bomb By Jabhat al-Nusra  
Clear Evidence Of DIY Barrel Bombs Being Used By The Syrian Air Force
Unexploded Cluster Bomblets Repurposed As DIY Rocket Warheads
Improving Syrian Oppositon Armaments Demonstrated During The Taftanaz Airbase Attack

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

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