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Cluster Bombs Used in Talbiseh, Homs, Match Type Seen at Russia’s Syrian Airbase

February 8, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Today’s Human Rights Watch report Russia/Syria: Daily Cluster Munition Attacks documents further use of cluster munitions in the Syria conflict, following earlier reports from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on the use of cluster munitions in Syria. These reports triggered denials from the Russian Defence Ministry, who denied such munitions were even present at their airbase in Syria. This contradicted images published by Spuntik, Russian Today, and the Russian Defence Ministry showing cluster munitions at their airbase in Syria. While attempts have been made to claim the bombs pictured were high explosive bombs, all available evidence points to them being RBK-500 series cluster munitions, and a recent bombing from Talbiseh, Homs, provides further evidence linking cluster bombs dropped on Syrian towns to the type seen at Russia’s airbase in Syria.

On February 7th 2016 the Talbisah Media Center posted the following video online showing cluster submunitions and a cluster bomb casing they claim had been dropped by Russian aircraft:

This video features two types of submunitions, the spherical ShOAB-0.5, and the AO-2.5RTM, the designation of which can be clearly seen in the video:


Both these submunitions were identified in the CITeam report on Russian cluster bombs in Syria as types seen at Russia’s airbase in Syria, and it’s notable that while the ShOAB-0.5 has been recorded as being used before in Syria, the AO-2.5RTM has not, only the very similar AO-2.5RT variant.

The video from Talbiseh also features a cluster bomb casing, and Talbisah Media Center provided Bellingcat with further images of the cluster bomb casing. These images provided some interesting extra details not visible in the video.


When compared to images of the bombs identified as cluster munitions at Russia’s airbase in Syria there are some clear similarities (source):


Both hooks are visible, as is the red plate above the fuze (absent in the Talbiseh photograph after activating), and a further structure above that. This combination of unusual features match perfectly, as does the tail section

12696608_970945056320792_1644316501_o Tail fins

It’s clear there are many matches between the cluster bomb used in Talbiseh, and the cluster bombs seen at Russia’s airbase, adding to the growing body of evidence that Russia is deploying cluster bombs in Syria, despite their strong and repeated denials.

Eliot Higgins

Eliot Higgins is the founder of Bellingcat and the Brown Moses Blog. Eliot focuses on the weapons used in the conflict in Syria, and open source investigation tools and techniques.

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  1. Randy Dread

    GJR – February 11th, 2016
    “Randy, I knew you were obnoxious but you are also naive?
    Can I have your home address please? Certainly you have nothing to be ashamed of?”

    my home address is Northern England.

    GJR – February 11th, 2016
    “I don’t have to stand up for my country in the face of a troll such as yourself. That would be dishonouring my country by feeding into your rubbish campaign of disinformation and misdirection.”

    You’ve already dishonoured your country by refusing to state what country you are from.

    You’re supposed to proudly state your country not refuse to answer like a coward.

    You’ve basically pissed on your own country’s flag tonight. Disgrace.

    • GJR

      The only disgrace here is you Randy. Go study up on ordnance and be the expert the world needs. It likely pays better than your little disinformation campaign you’re on at the moment.

      • Randy Dread

        show some pride and tell us what country you’re from.

        or you will remain a pantie wetting coward who the Russians will roll over in 5 seconds flat.

        • John Zenwirt

          Randy is a sick person who wants a mass-murder War between the country of his dreams, the uSSr, and the ROW…he can’t wait for uSSr to mass-slaughter others….A sociopath.

  2. Randy Dread

    stranger – February 11th, 2016
    “What are you discussing? Isn’t it easy for a native speaker to get if a person uses specific slang, idioms, etc, to tell not only a country but even a province in the country? Or even a bit more subtle – a characterustic mentality, which works even if somebody speaks a foreign language.”

    I now think GJR is American but I could not believe it for a long time because what kind of American doesnt take pride in their country or refuses to say they are American?

    • GJR

      Does that approach work with others? Do they cave to your blatant trolling? You’re really comical.
      The only Russians that will roll over me are the ones I’ve slept with. Do with that information as you wish.

      • Randy Dread

        move on dude.

        the news now is that Russia and the USA have united to sort out the Syria problem.

        The terrorists, all of them, will still be bombed of course.


        • GJR

          Anything is possible. Please let your friends back in Moscow know how I feel about their cluster bombs and hospital hits.

  3. Andrea

    did you know that UK buildt/helped building many of the ships japan used in ww2?
    did you know that after ww2 her majesty sold a couple RollsRoyce jet engines to USSR, they reverse engineered … and started building thousands russian jet engines …

    Smart guys, to be proud of 😛

    • Randy Dread

      no it didnt, it did build the ships used in the Russo Japanese war of 1905.

      by world war 2 the Japanese were building their own ships.

      as for supplying Russia with a couple of engines, why not?

      • John Zenwirt

        B/c Russian pilots, flying MiG-15 (with this engine) in Korean war, used the reverse-engineered engines to shoot down and kill many UN-western pilots, maybe some UK ones. As a westerner, you would not be happy with what turned out. The deaths of your sworn allies.

        But you are fully satisfied with th real-world conclusions of this engine transfer….

        That in turn, is because you, of course, are not who you claim to be, end of story.

        • Randy Dread

          they shot down Americans, which was perfectly fine since north korea had a right to defend itself.

          since i am not American, that’s not a problem for me.

      • Andrea

        You are wrong…
        you gave them one enterely “made in UK” kongo class battleship, and gave them licence to build 3 more
        All 4 were active fighting and sunk in WW2, after 1941 …

        GREEDY BOYS 😉

  4. Andrea

    About national pride…
    can you explain us why russian troops never wear a russian flag on their uniforms?
    Neither in Crimea, in Ukraine and Syria …

    • Randy Dread

      is it part of the Geneva Convention that troops need to wear a national flag?

      Because British forces didn’t when I was a cadet in the 1980s.

      • Randy Dread

        actually in combat dress no symbols were visible at all, because they were not sown on to the outer camouflage garments or helmets.

        thus an officer would look the same as anyone esle.

        • Andrea

          War crimes have already been discussed…this sin’t one…
          But according to your prevous messages we all should be proud of our nation … So russian soldiers are not?

  5. Mad Dog

    There were no identifying marks at all Randy. All my cammo stuff had US Army noted on a patch. In multinational forces they have taken to sewing a flag on the outside, even Russian forces when they were members. But the guys in Crimea had nothing to identify them. Kind of like the painted out stars on all those Russian aircraft in Syria. Pretty funny actually.
    Also funny that you can find ways to defend this.


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