On Sunday evening, we brought you “Syria’s Assad Drops White Phosphorus On Villages: Report.”
In that post we talked about… wait for it… Syria’s Assad dropping white phosphorous on villages. No false advertising here.
No, but seriously, the point was that if true, the report would be either:
- a rather blatant “F U” (to quote Lindsey Graham) to the Trump administration from both Moscow and Damascus
- an attempt on someone’s part (and we, unlike so many others, aren’t going to speculate on who without first having evidence) to keep the Assad vs. Trump story going
We also said that “you can expect plenty of Dave Chappelle-ish ‘yellow cake’ and ‘aluminum tubes'” chatter this week as everyone tries to determine if Assad and/or Russia did indeed drop some phosphorous on folks in Idlib.
Well it took 15 hours (give or take), but now the media is indeed latching onto the narrative. Here’s The Sunday Times:
Russian-made incendiary cluster bombs have been dropped on several towns in the rebel-controlled Idlib province in northern Syria, the scene of last week’s chemical weapons strike.
Multiple witnesses recorded mobile phone footage of fierce fires burning in the town of Saraqeb yesterday evening. The bright white burning plumes of the missiles which started the blazes raised fears that Russian bombers may have used white phosphorus munitions for the first time.
However, Neil Gibson, an expert at Jane’s Information Group, said the firestorm looked more likely to have been caused by RBK-250 or RBK-500 incendiary cluster bombs. The Syrian air force is not known to possess these Russian munitions.
Oh, well that’s a relief. It was just “incendiary cluster bombs.”
As a reminder, cluster munitions are no fun either. Specifically, to quote al-Jazeera, they are “widely banned” because “they spread explosives over large areas and are indiscriminate in nature, often continuing to maim and kill long after the initial attack when previously unexploded bomblets detonate.”
See? No fun.
Essentially, this is just a continuation of the same strategy the regime has employed for years with regard to rebel-held areas. “The international community has failed to protect civilians and hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable for his crimes against humanity in the form of barrel bombs, chemical weapons attacks, cluster bombs, incendiary weapons, and torture, starvation and rape as weapons of war,” WaPo wrote last week, summing up why everyone seems to be so upset with old Bashar.
In any event, it’s obviously difficult to verify the videos shared over the past 48 hours on social media purporting to depict the use of white phosphorus munitions, but it doesn’t matter because as noted above, no one in Saraqeb is going to tell you that one type of banned munition is any “better” than another.
This is quite literally a complete ‘cluster’f*ck.