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Confirmed : Russian Bomb Remains Recovered from Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack

September 22, 2016

By Eliot Higgins

Translations: Русский

Yesterday, Bellingcat published its report on the bombing of the Syrian Red Crescent aid convoy on September 19th. The report examined various aspects of the attack using open source information, including the comparison of what appeared to be the tail section of a OFAB 250-270 bomb that appeared in images from the attack, first published by CIT:

Conflict Intelligence Team comparison of debris found in crater shown in Fig 13 and an OFAB 250-270. Source

Conflict Intelligence Team comparison of debris found in crater and an OFAB 250-270. Source

Since the post was published the Bellingcat team has been in touch with the Syrian Civil Defence unit closest to the attacked site, who recovered and photographed two pieces of debris, including the object featured above.

img-20160922-wa0005 img-20160922-wa0004

In addition, an image showing the location of the debris was published, showing the likely entry point of the munition:

syria-aid-convoy-bomb

Based on this it is possible to make an accurate identification of the munition debris recovered as coming from the tail section of a OFAB 250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb:

syria-aid-convoy-bomb2-1

OFAB 250-270s are unguided bombs previously documented as being used by both the Syrian and Russian air forces extensively in their bombing campaigns in Syria. These bombs, originating from the weapons factories of the USSR and Russian Federation, are not used by aircraft manufactured by NATO countries, nor are they used by Predator drones.

The identity of the bomb is clear from the above comparison, the only question that remains is whether it was Russian or Syrian aircraft that dropped it on the Syrian Red Crescent aid convoy.

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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370 Comments

  1. Arya Stark

    Black Star – September 23, 2016
    You should study house engineering a bit, they make indoor walls and ceilings out of plaster all the time.

    This was the roof numbnuts, not an indoor wall or ceiling.

    Reply
  2. Arya Stark

    rockybeethoven – September 23, 2016
    It got through the hole by weighing several dozen kilograms, being made entirely of metal and by being accelerated to high velocity due to falling from a height of several kilometers.
    If you don’t think that several dozen kilograms of metal can break through a roof, knock over some boxes and produce a shallow impact crater, when dropped from 5000m of height, then you are simply dumb.

    You may have missed the latest claims of your friends, which are that the bomb didnt penetrate at all, it blew up on the roof.

    So we are only talking about the tail of the bomb here. Obviously if the bomb blows up, the tail of the bomb no longer has major kinetic energy in a direction towards the ground.

    In fact it’s highly unlikely it will continue in that direction. Could go anywhere.

    Reply
  3. Antal Budai

    I don’t understand how a 250 kg fragmentation bomb that smashed trough the ceiling and detonated (98kg of HE) made so little damage and I would not even argue about the crater or lack of it or the lack of fragment damage on the walls all that is irrelevant compared to the fact that the windows of the building seem to be intact when even the frames should be a few hundred yards away.

    Reply
    • Aric Toler

      Where in the article does it say that the bomb detonated? Please, read more carefully. There are also Russian and German versions of the article if you did not understand the article after reading it closely, as I am sure you did after deciding to leave a comment.

      Reply
      • Ghostship

        If it didn’t detonate where is the rest of the bomb? The bomb is 1456 mm in length so the front 850 mm or so have gone missing. And what has happened to the fragmentation balls, all 15,000 of then that are about of 12 mm in diameter? wouldn’t you expect to see some in the hole?

        Reply
        • Encyclopath

          You’re intentionally missing the point as a distraction; it’s a very obvious and crude “debating” technique. For the benefit of the other more honest readers, though:
          If you’re trying to make the case or insinuate that this was staged, you’re wasting your time arguing this point.
          You can’t prove your case simply by refuting another. The best you could do (and you can’t) is to cast sufficient doubt about this particular bomb’s exact origin, to render it indeterminate, which is where we started.
          You haven’t even begun to lay out an argument to support an alternative allegation, because you have nothing but confusion and misdirection to sow.
          This is exactly how creationists try to argue against evolution, as if they could find one flaw in the theory it would not ony disprove it (it would, technically), but they would also prove that they were correct about genesis, the flood, jesus, satan, hell, and everything else they decide should be true.

          Shit pellet.

          Reply
          • Ghostship

            But I’m not trying to prove that this was staged although for what it’s worth it may have been but that is irrelevant because where ever the responsibility for this incident lies it will have no impact on the course of the war. The Russians will continue to do what the believe they need to do to achieve their objectives and I don’t think the United States has a single set of coherent achievable objectives for Syria because the US regime is too fragmented to agree on them.
            As for this article, all it proves is that the tail fin for an OFAB 250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb was found at the site where the incident took place but it doesn’t prove even on the balance of probability how it got there as it’s based on incoherent and circumstantial evidence and conjecture.
            But what it has done is proved to my satisfaction that Eliot Higgins first decides on the conclusion that fits his world view and then fixes the evidence, in this case probably largely fake, to “prove” that conclusion. He is nothing more than a propagandist.

          • Ghostship

            On reflection, I would agree with you if I’d been commenting on the more general previous post “Analysis of Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack.” But this post is all about one probable fact, that the tail of an OFAB 250-270 was in that warehouse, one possible fact, that part of what might have been a possibly unexploded OFAB 250-270 was possibly in that warehouse, and one conclusion, that the only parties that could have placed that bomb, or rather parts of it in the warehouse were the Russian and Syrian air forces. The only evidence presented here that it was the Russians and/or the Syrians who placed the bomb in the warehouse is the claim that the Russians have unique access to that type of bomb and the associated means of delivery. Since that is demonstrably false, the conclusion is not proven.
            All the picture of the interior of the warehouse proves is that at the time the picture was taken, there was a hole in the roof with some damaged reinforcing, a pile of damaged cartons and their contents, and a hole in the ground with the bomb tail in it. Anything else about the bomb tail is conjecture.
            So this article is a distraction and a dangerous one at that because other parties such as Pierre Vaux at The Daily Beast are using it to justify otherwise unsupported claims that that it was the Russians who did it. I’m disregarding US claims that it was two Russian SU-24s and and not helicopters because that so fundamentally contradicts the eye-witness “evidence” of the White Helmet spokesman as to be impossible.

          • Encyclopath

            Well! That’s a bit better, actually. I can have some respect for an argument for an honestly held position.

            I still disagree with your reasoning, particularly with you so readily eliminate the possibility of jets, based only on witness statements that they personally didn’t see any.

          • Ghostship

            Encyclopath – that’s very gracious of you but I think you too have a problem with comprehension. Where in that comment do I “so readily eliminate the possibility of jets”?
            I just say I prefer to ignore the US government spokesman’s claim about 2 SU-24s and no helicopters because it so flatly contradicts the White Helmet spokesman’s (he spoke to camera twice) claims in these two videos that were linked to in the previous post here, Analysis of Syrian Red Crescent Aid Convoy Attack:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_DUCjGosZQ
            where he claimed “The regime helicopter targeted this place with four barrels”
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4G5kNeTClQ
            where he claimed ““Regime helicopters targeted… with eight barrel bombs….regime targeted this place with cluster bombs two times… the aircrafts of the Russians target this place with C-5, with C-5 and, errh, with bullets.”
            These videos can’t have been recorded more than a few hours apart on September 19th, which just goes to show how unreliable eyewitnesses can be, but he quite clearly mentions “aircrafts of the Russians”.
            While writing this comment I came across an Al Jazeera video that was interesting so I thought I would include the link – at one minute in, I found it very informative:
            http://video.aljazeera.com/channels/eng/videos/%E2%80%98evidence%E2%80%99-of-russia%E2%80%99s-involvement-found-in-aleppo-aid-convoy-attack/5137937032001

      • Arya Stark

        your sycophants on here are claiming the bomb blew up Mr Toler, to account for the fact that most of it is missing.

        Reply
  4. grouper42

    I believe that this bomb experienced a low order detonation. The fuze, booster, and a few pounds of explosives at the most functioned as designed. The rest of the bomb casing/high explosive filler is probably scatter in the building and I wouldn’t be surprised if some large chunks are buried in the bottom of the impact crater. Note; it’s also possible the bomb functioned somewhere on the exterior roof area of the building or this whole thing could be staged.

    The OFAB 250-270 has a Net Explosive Weight (NEW) of 97kgs (213.4lbs NEW). For comparison, a US MK82 500lb GP bomb has an NEW of 192lbs. Basically, there is “ZERO” chance that this OFAB 250-270 functioned as designed (high order detonation) in this building. The damage in the photos is very minor, maybe the equivalent of a couple pounds of high explosive detonating. Heck, the windows above the detonation point are even still intact and they would be the first part of the structure to fail, even a ten pound charge that close would take out the windows. If this was a high order detonation of anywhere near 213lb NEW you wouldn’t even know there were any cardboard boxes + there contents in this building since they’re right next to the impact/detonation point. These boxes/contents would’ve been completely destroyed/incinerated. The wall where the pile of boxes are located would show signs of severe damage and probably would’ve been breached, the truck would’ve been severely damaged/tires flattened, etc, etc.

    Reply
  5. Jon Schneider

    Interesting that there is very little dust as displayed in one of the ‘proof’ photos. Even if the ‘bomb’ failed to explode dust would have covered all the boxed including the pharmaceuticals boxes in the photo.

    Reply
  6. Dude

    The claim of the rushka-trolls that this thing was “staged” does not survive one simple question – how did “they” stage the hole in the roof?

    Heheh…

    Reply
  7. Dude

    grouper42 – September 24, 2016
    I believe that this bomb experienced a low order detonation

    —-

    Kinda likely given that the bomb like most of russian amunition is very old?

    Reply
  8. jayC

    where are the other bombs exploded – or do all of you believe it was a single bomb dropped on that target?

    Reply
  9. martin

    nut the aircraft were British RAF bombers the mod and RAF posted pictures on their twitter pages of two blackjack bombers being escorted into RAF Lossimouth in Scotland by Typhoon jets

    Reply
    • TJ

      Martin, what are you talking about? No Russian bombers were escorted into RAF Lossiemouth. The RAF Eurofighter Typhoons intercepted the two Tu-160 Blackjacks in international airspace (Scottish Flight Information Region). The two Tu-160s went down off the western coast of UK and Ireland before reversing their route back to Russia. At no point were they in UK or Irish sovereign airspace.

      Reply
  10. John Zenwirt

    Russia Denies Any Role in Deadly Convoy Attack in Syria.

    MOSCOW — Russia sought to distance itself on Wednesday from American accusations that it was responsible for the fiery destruction of a humanitarian convoy in Syria, with the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, also seeking to absolve Syria of responsibility for the attack.

    http://tinyurl.com/h724npt (NYT)

    Reply
    • Dude

      Something to clearly understand to world-wide audience:

      all these rushka khans – Putler himself, his “ministers”, “envoys”, “speakers”, other members of his mafia, etc… are nothing more than street thugs according to common ethics standards, they do not have any conscience, lie as they breathe, etc..
      I’m not interested to analyse WHY is the above situation is like that, just stating the fact 🙂

      Reply
    • TJ

      The Russians had their chance to muddy the waters with the claims of the Predator in the region. The missed a chance to further muddy the waters and claim that manned Coalition jets were also in the area. I bet that they are kicking themselves that they didn’t suggest A-10s or similar? See following video. In between missile strikes you can hear the air to ground cannon. I personally don’t think that it was deliberate but a targeting accident. The sad part is that neither Russia or Syria will admit to such an accident. Russia has its hand tied if it was Syrian aircraft. They simply can’t admit to it as they have too much to lose. Sadly they have to throw in the red herring of the US Predator and let the propaganda machine do the rest.

      Reply

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