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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:

AO 2.5RTM

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.

12696450_970945109654120_1557500859_o

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

AO-2.5RTM

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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273 Comments

  1. Randy Dread

    John Zenwirt – February 11th, 2016
    No “sattelite” can alone act as a guide for bombs, as no “Spotter” on the ground has “painted”
    the target so the sattelite can tell the bomb where to go.

    You obviously have no idea how any of this works, targets are not painted with satellite targeted weapons, there is no need. it’s done using the coordinates of the target.

    targets are only painted with laser guided weapons.

    Reply
    • Andrea

      On this i have to say Randy is right…
      Be careful or you’ll make him seem smart (and ruin all my hard work) 😛

      Reply
    • radu

      Sattelittes are used to guide a plane or a rocket to the target using gps coordinates; Russians have a slightly different system. Terrain recognition also plays a role.
      Laser guided munition require target illumination and it is done using a Laser target designation device, either on a plane or utilized by sof operator on the ground
      ; pilot is notified that “target is painted” and bombs away.
      A very real portrait of that kind of bombing: the movie Clear and present danger, Willem Dafoe paints a target in Colombia.
      A laser guided weapon cant paint a target.
      As for Russian cluster munitions, the evidence is clear and overwhelming: thay are using them in a criminal way; a protracted deliberate terror bombing campaign againt civilians.

      Reply
  2. Randy Dread

    Meanwhile, an American sailor captured by Iran for illegally violating the border cries like a big baby. Not so tough now.

    Reply
  3. Randy Dread

    watch the video, numbnuts. he looks about 30.

    mind you, Italians are have a reputation for cowardice as well, don’t they?

    pasta eating surrender monkeys.

    Reply
      • Randy Dread

        er no, it was the Italians who were the fascists in world war 2.

        The ones who put the Jews on the train to send them to their German allies at Auschwitz.

        I’m British. We fought both fascist countries and won.

        Reply
          • stranger

            i’ve heard Italians at the north are very different from Scicilians and Colabrians, everybody southern than Napoli, isn’t it? South people are believed to be sly and also mafia. Not coward. Probably Russians and Ukrainians are different in the very similar way, also north and south. 🙂
            Please don’t take seriously, just stereotypes

          • Andrea

            Yeah, we are very different … Meaning we have both good things and bad ones, completly different lifestyles

        • Andrea

          And without uncle Sam’s help it would have been just a matter of when Adolf would have been ready…
          You were not so great…

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            ha ha., the British were kicking Italy’s ass very well without anyone’s help.

            only your friends the Nazis saved you for a short while, in North Africa.

            we took hundeds of thousands of Italian prisoners who threw down their weapons at the first opportunity.

            a nation of cowards. the Italians’ greatest talents are crime and corruption.

          • Randy Dread

            but we fought the Germans off in the Battle of Britain in 1940. after that they could never have invaded.

            meanwhile you guys were invading Greece, but you got your asses handed to you as usual so you had to call in the Germans to help.

        • GJR

          You sir have fought nothing. Don’t be so hasty to take credit for the work of others. Particularly the Brits who have taken you in.

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            the Brits have not taken me in. I’m British for hundreds of years back.

            By ‘we’ I mean my country. Do you have a problem with that?

          • GJR

            The only problem I have with that is that I doubt the veracity of your statement. Your track record is questionable at best.

  4. Randy Dread

    this is why most of NATO is useless. It will never fight against a real opponent. It’s made up of militarily hopeless nations like Italy and others.

    Reply
  5. Randy Dread

    Andrea – February 11th, 2016
    In our constitution we have written:
    Italy repudiates war…

    Sensible idea, you’re not very good at it

    Reply
  6. Randy Dread

    GJR – February 11th, 2016

    The only problem I have with that is that I doubt the veracity of your statement. Your track record is questionable at best.

    What track record do I have that would indicate telltale signs that I am not British? Have I given myself away in some way? Perhaps I got the available flavours of Pot Noodles in 1990 wrong or something?

    I would dearly love to hear it.

    Reply
    • GJR

      Stick to distraction and diversion. It’s what you excel at. One might even say you’re an expert.

      Reply
        • GJR

          Yes. You may ask.
          I will disappoint you though as I won’t answer. I don’t share personal information in forums such as these. It creates too many problems in the digital world and, on occasion, in the real world.

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            what kind of person is ashamed to name their country and take pride in it?

            unbelievable.

          • GJR

            I’m not ashamed of my country. I’m quite proud of it actually. That doesn’t mean I’m obligated to make my whereabouts public in a forum where it can be used as part of a social engineering attack against me. The only thing unbelievable is that you believe you can goad me into revealing things about me that you have no need to know.

          • stranger

            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.

          • GJR

            It’s quite possible to deduce where I’m from based on my use of language. I’ll leave that to Randy since he seems to enjoy guessing games. You can play along if you wish.

  7. Randy Dread

    you obviously are ashamed of your country if you can’t name it on an anonymous internet forum, dude.

    Reply
    • GJR

      What you believe to be obvious doesn’t matter to me. You can speculate all you like. I won’t lose any sleep over it.

      Reply
      • Randy Dread

        you should be losing sleep over the fact that you essentially betrayed your country.

        i would never in a million years not say i was British if i was asked.

        you’re a cowardly lowlife not even worthy of citizenship of whatever craphole you are from.

        Reply
  8. Randy Dread

    it’s going to be some crappy little cabbage field like Latvia probably, or God help us, Ukraine..

    Somewhere like that. But you should still have some national pride, what the hell is wrong with you.

    Reply
    • GJR

      Your apparent disdain for Latvia and Ukraine speaks to your character, or lack thereof.
      Feel free to continue. The opinions of an internet troll don’t bother me, only amuse me.

      Reply
        • GJR

          It’s entirely possible I am from Russia. A stroll down Arbat Street or even a night cruise down the Neva are nice ways to pass the time.

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            yes indeed.

            you’re Russian, and proud.

            Andrea is Italian, and proud.

            I’m British, and proud.

            John is Polish and proud.

            So what’s going on with someone who is too ashamed to name their country?

      • Randy Dread

        if you’re too ashamed of your country to say what it is, there’s nothing to do but guess, is there?

        Reply
        • GJR

          Randy, and by extension your compadre known as stranger, disclosing my personal details to known trolls really doesn’t interest me. It’s not a question of shame.
          Did you have anything else interesting or amusing to say?

          Reply
          • Randy Dread

            it’s a question of what country you’re from. that’s not a personal detail in any way.

            if you dont give that info, you’ve basically dishonoured your country by not speaking up, as stranger ( a Russian) just said.

            you have to stand up for your country, if only to say you are from there. or you’re a rat.

          • GJR

            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?
            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.

          • stranger

            I didn’t guess where are you from and don’t know the personal details for sure. May be my statement was too generic 🙂

          • GJR

            Fair enough. Enjoy your time here. Randy from Britain is quite entertaining. I’m off for a bite to eat.

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