Videoer viser at den syriske hæren benytter russisk-produserte våpen mot innbyggerne i Homs. Det er snakk om verdens kraftige bombekaster – 240 mm, som totalødelegger bygninger og alt som er i dem.
Denne kunnskapen spres nå til hele Midtøsten og den muslimske verden: Assad slakter sitt folk med russiske våpen. Hvilke konsekvenser vil det få for Russlands posisjon i Midtøsten og verden generelt?
Video posted on YouTube last week appears to show that the Syrian military has deployed a Russian-made weapons system to fire huge, 240mm high explosive mortars at parts of the city of Homs that slipped from government control last year.
To support its call for an end to the “indiscriminate” shelling of Homs, Human Rights Watch released an analysis of video recorded by activists last week, that appeared to show the tail fin of a huge rocket that was fired into Baba Amr, a residential neighborhood in Homs where fighters from the Free Syrian Army are battling with government forces.
The rights group said the video, “documents the use of 240mm F-864 high explosive mortar bombs,” which are “designed to ‘demolish fortifications and fieldworks,’ according to a Russian arms merchandizing catalogue.”
A resident of Homs who said he knows the two men in the video confirmed to Human Rights Watch that the footage was filmed in the old part of Baba Amr, known as al-Hakura. This Russian-made munition shown in the video is the largest mortar bomb known to be in production and use. It weighs 130 kilograms and contains 31.93 kilograms of TNT as an explosive charge.
Fired by a mortar that is either towed or mounted on an armored vehicle, this weapon system is notable for its capability to conduct a “plunging attack,” in which the munition is fired at a high angle and comes down nearly perpendicular to penetrate a building or fortification. The authoritative “The Military Balance 2011,” published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, says Syria possesses ten 240mm mortar systems.
In a Christian Science Monitor report on the video evidence earlier this week, Dan Murphy explained that the Russian-made “Tulip” weapons system “fires the largest mortar round in any military’s arsenal.”
The tank-like vehicle that serves as the firing platform can lob 240mm mortar rounds up to 20 kilometers away, and they carry over 70 pounds of explosives. The largest mortar used by the US, in contrast, is 160mm.
Syria has another Russian-made system for firing rounds that size, the towed M240, and it’s possible that’s being used to fire the rounds instead of the Tulip.
The Tulip was designed for use against dug in positions from a standoff distance. But its lethality has been used in the past to bring devastation to civilian neighborhoods, most famously by the Russians during the siege of the Chechen capital of Grozny over a decade ago, where thousands of civilians were killed and hundreds of buildings reduced to rubble. The use of such weapons in dense urban environments is a war crime.
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