Now with the munitions recovered from the scene of the attack (pictured above) coming under scrutiny, there's been claims that a DIY weapon used by the opposition was responsible. Posts on various social media sites, such as Liveleak, have attempted to link the the DIY weapon know as the "Hell Cannon" to the alleged chemical attack
The video opens with a claim that the first images of the Hell Cannon appeared after the alleged chemical attack in Khan al-Assal on March 19th, something that might actually be significant if the images appeared before the attack. It then shows a video of one of the cannons being loaded with it's rather unique munition, which uses a gas cylinder as a warhead. I'm assuming the use of the gas cylinder is the only (rather weak) piece of evidence that this is a chemical weapon, especially when the only times this munition has been pictured being loaded it with a fill that's fertilizer based explosive, as seen in this promotional video for the Hell Cannon.
It's also notable that the Syrian government claimed the Khan al-Assal attack involved a rocket launched from 50km, while the Hell Cannon has a range of around 1.5km, according to the oppositions own promotional material (pictured below), and the only way that munition is travelling 50km is if someone drives it there
Name: HellAnother point that's been made by people attempting to link the chemical attack to the opposition is the projectile used by the Hell Cannon and recovered from the scene of the attack is the same. Anyone taking more than 5 minutes to actually investigate this point will quickly conclude that's not true at all. For example, this video clearly shows the munition as it's loaded onto the Hell Cannon. Two things to note are it's size, around 4 feet long, and how the tail fins are attached to the warhead so they can go over the outside of the barrel. Now lets look at the munition recovered from the latest alleged chemical attack in Damascus
Function: Explosive barrel Cannon
Specifications: It can fire more than fifteen types of shells that weigh more than forty kilograms. It also has two locally-made rocket launchers (Rohingya).
Range: 1.5 kilometers.
Effectiveness: Up to 200 square meters.
Projectile: Propane gas cylinder.
Cost of the shell: 15000 Syrian Pounds.
Country of Origin: Syria
Manufacture: Ahrar Al-Shamal Battalions.
As you can clearly see, the tail fins in this munition are welded to the base of the munition, which would make it impossible to load onto the Hell Cannon. There's also the matter of length
The tail alone is nearly as tall as the man holding it, so unless he's a midget, the munition is much longer than the Hell Cannon munition. It's also worth noting the Hell Cannon has been used widely since it's invention, with no reports of chemical attacks on government controlled areas reported despite this widespread use. More videos of the Hell Cannon can be found here.
It's apparent attempts to link the Hell Cannon munition to this week's attack really holds no water at all, but I am always open to anyone who can provide evidence that these munitions were actually used in the attack. So far, however, no evidence exists.
Speaking of evidence, I've put together this playlist showing all the videos featuring the munition linked to alleged chemical attacks in Syria, and images of the munition can be found on this gallery and ITV News report. Arms expert Nic Jenzen-Jones also has put together his thoughts on the evidence gathered so far on his blog, and that's well worth a read.
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