The 12 Weapons Causing The Most Destruction In Syria

The British charity Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) has published an investigation detailing the 12 deadliest conventional weapons being used in the Syrian war.

In July AOAV researcher Robert Perkins found that 40% of all deaths recorded in Syria were caused by explosive weapons and that 93% of fatalities due to explosive weapons were civilians.

“There’s been a lot of press on chemical weapons and unconventional warfare, but the vast majority of the deaths in Syria have been from relatively conventional weapons,” Jacob Parakilas, a senior weapons researcher at AOAV who work on the project, told Business Insider. “We really wanted to highlight the harms that those [weapons] do, especially the indiscriminate harm to civilians and noncombatants.”

Parakilas noted that air-dropped munitions (e.g. S-25 OFM, OFAB 100-120, ODAB 500) as well as the larger launcher systems (e.g. larger Grads, SAKR, LUNA-M/FROG 7) are exclusive to troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The regime’s air war on rebel-held territories began in July 2012.

Furthermore, Parakilas said that weapons used by both sides have been used more by the government because it has had superior quantities throughout the war.

Here’s each of the weapons, along with a video (linked) and an infographic:

Note: The research is based on open source reporting, non-governmental agencies such as the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, and confirmed media reports.

BM-21 Grad rocket: An inherently indiscriminate weapon, this rocket is designed to blanket an entire area with high explosives. The system can fire 40 unguided rockets in less than 20 seconds.

Sakr rockets: The only ground-launched cluster bomb in Syria, the Egyptian-made Sakr scatters as many as 100 explosive submunitions across an extremely wide area.

Type-63 rocket: The Type-63, made in China, is a smaller system than the Grad. Nevertheless, AOAV estimates that there were an average of 12 civilian deaths from every incident of rocket fire during the first two years of the war.

D-30: The fastest of any towed artillery gun in Syria, the D-30 can fires 7-8 shells per minute. The five Turkish civilians killed in October 2010 were killed by this weapon.

M240 mortar bomb: The biggest mortar in the world — it weighs as as much as a piano — are fired form Russian-made systems. It has been used extensively in the bombardment of Homs since February 2012.

M-1943/M43: This heavy mortar is one of the most commonly-used explosive weapons in the conflict. AOAV estimates that more than 94% of the time they are being fired in areas with a lot of civilians.

Luna-M/Frog-7: This ballistic rocket weighs over 5,500 pounds and have an impact area of two square miles. These rockets can wipe out whole communities.

T-72: These Russian-made tanks are estimated by AOAV to cause an average of 16 civilian casualties with each shell fired into Syria’s towns and cities.

2S3 Akatsiya: This long range artillery shell can fire shells up to 11.5 miles. It has been used in the bombing of bakeries by Syrian forces.

S-25 OFM rocket: This 840-lb rocket is almost half explosives, making it the highest explosive-to-total ratio of any weapon in the ‘Dirty Dozen.’

OFAB 100-120: This unguided bomb, dubbed the “classic ‘dumb-bomb,” are made in the USSR and can be dropped from up to 9 miles.

ODAB-500 PM: This air-dropped bomb, dubbed the “vacuum bomb,” has an effective blast zone of about 30 meters. It is made in Russia.

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