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Parachute-borne missiles compound Douma woes

February 10, 2015 By Ammar Hamou and Dan Wilkofsky AMMAN: […]

10 February 2015

February 10, 2015

By Ammar Hamou and Dan Wilkofsky

AMMAN: Regime warplanes killed 13 residents of Douma city Monday in a series of air raids that reportedly included parachute-borne vacuum missiles, according to the Douma LCC.

The number of dead is expected to rise as more bodies currently trapped under the rubble are discovered, a Douma resident told Syria Direct Tuesday.

An opposition military source located in Douma, who requested anonymity, confirmed to Syria Direct Tuesday that the regime had used umbrella-borne vacuum missiles in Monday’s attack. The missiles weigh 500kg and carry a 200kg explosive head, he added.

“The explosion is delayed after the missile strikes its target by a second, give or take, ” Abdul Haq-Hamam, a Douma citizen journalist, told Syria Direct Tuesday.

“At that time, the missile has penetrated to the farthest point possible, and then it explodes.”

Douma3214 A Douma man waits for news of his wife and child buried beneath the ruins of their house. His wife survived while his child did not, Abdul Haq Hamam told Syria Direct Thursday. Photo courtesy of Samier al-Doumi.

Human Rights Watch wrote in February 2000, quoting a 1993 study by the US Defense Intelligence Agency, that the effect of vacuum missiles “against living targets is unique–and unpleasant…. What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.”

In related news, the Douma LCC reported that 103 residents have already been killed in February from regime airstrikes and artillery fire.

Emergency personnel with the Unified Medical Office have treated 1,000 wounded since February 5, including various medical staff, Abu Adnan, a doctor and spokesman for the Unified Medical Office in Douma, told Syria Direct Tuesday.

Warplanes struck three medical points during the same period, said Abu Adnan.

The regime has bombed Douma periodically over the course of the war, but began its recent escalation late January. Douma’s most powerful rebel faction, Jaish al-Islam, responded by launching rockets into Damascus on January 25—which led in turn to increased bombing on East Ghouta. 

A spokesman with Jaish al-Islam’s media office told Syria Direct Tuesday that JAI had not launched rockets on Damascus over the past three days.

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