. . . sometimes you can get away with murder. Almost literally. The Telegraph reports that Russia has been caught using incendiary weapons against civilian targets in Syria.
Russia has been caught using incendiary weapons in Syria by its own TV channel Russia Today, which later tried to edit the footage out of its broadcast.
The Kremlin has previously denied that its warplanes were carrying these bombs, which are restricted by an international convention.
The English-language news station, which is funded by Moscow, broadcast footage of Sergei Shoigu, the defence minister, visiting Hmeymim airbase in the Syrian province of Latakia last Saturday.
A pilot can be seen next to a plane loaded with munitions marked with identifying numbers.
Experts from Human Rights Watch, and Conflict Intelligence Team, an open-source intelligence group based in Russia, concluded that it showed incendiary weapons mounted on a Su-34 ground attack aircraft – specifically RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM bombs.
They said they believed the weapons contained a metal powder fuel known as thermite that ignites while falling, which has led witnesses of attacks to describe them as “fireballs.” It is the hottest burning man-made substance in the world.
. . .
The use of thermite has been reported in civilian areas of Aleppo in northern Syria, where Russia has been conducting regular air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad in anticipation of a ground assault to retake the city from rebel groups.
A day after the RT broadcast, a residential neighbourhood in Hayan was hit by what appeared to be a “fireball” explosion.
“It looked like a bright shower raining down,” an activist in Aleppo told the Telegraph, which was backed up by a video recording.
“It happened at night and the whole sky lit up. The buildings were burning for many hours after.”
. . .
The use of air-dropped incendiary bombs on civilian populations would be a violation of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, of which Russia is a signatory.
There's more at the link.
I've been in the (too) close vicinity of one of those things when its contents landed. They're not fun . . . and that's putting it very mildly.