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Published in Press Stream:
October 5, 2015

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Published in Stream:
October 5, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Videos Suggest Russian Air Force Using Cluster Munitions Against Rebel-Held Kafr Halab
6 years
Stream: October 5, 2015
Publication: Putin in Syria
Russian Fighter Enters Turkish Airspace
Russia Acknowledges Violation Of Turkish Airspace

Several videos uploaded yesterday appear to show cluster munitions being dropped by Su-24 bombers over the rebel-held town of Kafr Halab, south-west of Aleppo.

Several replies on social media suggest that the weapons used are SPBE-D anti-tank submunitions, released from RBK-500 cluster bombs.
This Rossiya24 video focuses on the weapons system, built by the Bazalt factory. 

The weapon has a very distinctive attack profile. Submunitions are ejected from the RBK-500 and slowed by parachutes. Infrared seekers detect heat sources (vehicle engines in theory) and high-energy kinetic penetrators are fired towards the targets. The blasts seen in the air are the result of the firing of these penetrators. 

Russia is not a signatory to the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions and has used such weapons during the Georgian and Ukrainian wars.

On October 2 the Cluster Munition Coalition called on Russia to refrain from using cluster munitions in Syria:

“We urge the Russian Federation to not use any cluster munitions,” Megan Burke, Director of Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) said. “These weapons have been banned because they are indiscriminate and unreliable, causing major humanitarian problems and risks to civilians. The people of Syria have already suffered enough.” 

-- Pierre Vaux