Did Russia carry out new chemical attacks in Syria?
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Two days ago, on April 29, field sources at BulgarianMilitary.com reported airstrikes by Russian Air Force planes. According to the information provided to us, the attacks took place in northern Syria, and there were a total of two.
An airstrike took place over the famous Aleppo town of Rasm al Kabir. The second attack took place near the city of A’zaz, which is 32 km northwest of Aleppo. Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen mainly inhabit A’zaz.
Unusual in both attacks is that Russian fighter jets dropped bombs that exploded in the air, i.e., the so-called air burst. Such bombs explode in the air, not in contact with the ground. They are using for three purposes – a nuclear explosion against soft targets, against infantry in open territory, and a chemical attack.
The purpose of an air burst is that the energy from the explosion is distributed more evenly over a broader range in the actual air than when in contact with the ground. The primary purpose of this type of bomb is not to penetrate the enemy’s armor.
What happens on April 29?
An analysis by BulgarianMilitary.com shows the following – in the areas of the cities of Rasm al Kabir and A’zaz in the period April 29, there was no nuclear explosion (logically, the whole world would understand – ed.), As well as reports of Russian, or Turkish attacks on jihadist positions.
On April 29, our e-mail received a signal from our field staff source that the same day in the city of A’zaz, he saw and heard a loud explosion in the air after a Russian plane flew over. There is no ground damage in the area, and there are no other signals of any military action.
Precisely the same situation, our field source reported the next day, April 30, that the same air operation had taken place on the outskirts of Rasm al Kabir the day before. He receives this news from a local in the city.
We checked social networks for this period, mostly Arabic-speaking Twitter users. Some users confirm that they have seen or heard explosions in the air. Some users ask themselves what exactly was blown up after there was no damage to the ground.
We also checked the source liveuamap.com, which noted and marked that on April 29, there were two air attacks by the Russian Air Force just above the two regions we quoted in Syria.
Could this be a FOTAB bomb?
Russian media have been claiming that the Russian Air Force has carried out airstrikes on jihadist positions and Islamic State centers for several days. According to Russia’s Aviapro channel, this was a joint operation between Russia and Turkey, with the Russians assisting Turkish field troops through a FOTAB bomb.
FOTAB bombs are not offensive and have no destructive power. They also explode in the air, but without the sound of an explosion. Their function is ancillary to the ground infantry. FOTAB bombs explode in the air and illuminate a large part of the battlefield so that in a night attack, the infantry on the ground get a clear picture of the entire battlefield.
The Russian Air Force has such a bomb which is FOTAB 100-80. Its role is concise – it burns in 2.2-3.5 seconds, but it provides visibility like 22,000 fluorescent lamps or 2 billion candles during this time—such bombs are used for night photography, too.
However, Russian media claim that the Turkish-Russian military operation is in Ain Isa, Raqqa, 200 km from the nearest detected explosion in the air. It cannot be the same army action.
Could it have been chemical bombs?
It is entirely possible, though, that it cannot confirm with certainty at this time. If the bombs are chemical, their effects can occur after hours or days, depending on the chemical agent used.
We remind you that chemical attacks can be carried out in several ways, through the use of bombs, shells, or warheads. They can also be performed both from the ground and by air.
The most commonly used method is by plane and the use of the so-called spray tank. In this case, the aircraft flies low and disperses the chemical agent (such as agricultural aircraft – ed.) Over the target or a specific area.
But as we found out earlier, an air burst can cause more damage, particularly in a chemical attack, because the explosion covers a broader area than if the pilots detonated the bomb in the air.
So far, we have no confirmation from the Syrian authorities of such an attack, as we have not received a response from the Russian embassy in Bulgaria, whether on the specific date there were air operations of the Russian Air Force and in which areas of Syria.
However, we will watch with interest in the coming weeks, as the history of the war in Syria has shown that some of the “atrocities” there are difficult to uncover at a later stage. Could it have been a chemical attack – yes, it is possible! Can we confirm it at the moment – no, we can’t!
War in Syria
In February 2020, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria. Nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, Syrian-backed forces destroyed dozens of Turkish armored vehicles, and more than ten drones, including drones, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed that a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would use power.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January, a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind several Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Militants are loyal to Ankara and support Turkey.
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