Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Depleted Uranium Used by Israel" in Bombing Outside Damascus, Syrian Military Official Alleges

From Jerusalem Post quoting Russia Today (5/6/2013):

'Israel used depleted uranium shells in Syria'

Israel used depleted uranium shells in the alleged strike in Syria on Sunday, a senior Syrian military source told Russia Today on Monday.

"When the explosion happened it felt like an earthquake, then a giant golden mushroom of fire appeared. This tells us that Israel used depleted uranium shells," the source said.

Depleted uranium is a byproduct of the production of enriched uranium for use in nuclear reactors. It is 2.5 times as dense as steel, which allows it to penetrate heavy protection. The material is known to be toxic, but not dangerously radioactive.

Syrian state television claimed the bombing occurred around a military research facility at Jamraya. The New York Times reported that the strike also targeted the bases of the elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles.
The senior official speaking to RT downplayed the strategic importance of the weapons targeted in the attack, saying the military losses were "negligible" and that valuable equipment was removed from the site of attack after a previous strike.

"The target was just an ordinary weapons warehouse. The bombing is an ultimatum to us – it had no strategic motivation," he was quoted by RT as saying.

A Western intelligence source told Reuters the attack targeted "stores of Fateh-110 missiles that were in transit from Iran to Hezbollah," while a senior Hezbollah source denied to Kuwaiti daily Alrai on Monday that the weapons targeted belonged to his organization.

(Full article at the link)

It is interesting, almost amusing, that the Israeli newspaper quotes all these news sources in describing the attacks allegedly by Israel. The Israeli government remains silent on the attacks.

Meanwhile, contradicting what the US administration has been saying (and still saying, as of Monday), the UN investigators say it may have been the rebel forces in Syria that used sarin gas, not the Assad regime.


Maju said...

Depleted uranium is indeed dangerously radioactive, even if very little comparable with a true nuclear bomb or accident, it is still dangerous nuclear waste material which does harm people long after the bombing. DU is not just "weakly" radioactive but also a rather toxic heavy metal.

DU inhalation, likely to happen near bombing targets, increases the risks of lung, lymph and brain cancer, as well as notable fetal damage (Falujah is a very clear case). It tends to accumulate in the lungs forever. Other than cancer, exposure affects kidneys, brain, (reduces cognitive capacity), lungs (lesions), immune system, eyes, blood and heart.

netudiant said...

This seems implausible.
Depleted Uranium is used for armor piercing shells, because it is very dense, hard and pyrophoric on penetrating. It is not a good material for bombs, because it is heavy and expensive and does not fragment well. The only detail in the description, by an unnamed source, is the 'golden mushroom of fire', which seems a decent description of a bomb explosion, but has no tie to the purported uranium. It seems like propaganda to me.

Anonymous said...

i was wondering if the military hadnt found a use for one of the many isotopes available? it would be useful if some samples were taken of the area for analysis. there was some talk of a refined uranium weapon too?
I thought the Sarin usage was more worrying and the cover-up more worrying still!
It split the UN
managers and ground staff
and its the ground staff that would be able to test the explosion site for materials.. its their job and syria would allow the right representative to do this imo!
this story has alot more intrigue and deception in it than at first appears imo!
nice post, interesting discussion arevamirpal :)

netudiant said...

There has been a considerable effort to produce bombs that have a more tightly defined kill radius, in the wake of adverse public reaction to collateral damage from target specific bombing missions.
The usual way is to substitute fine metal dust for the shrapnel. This eliminates the risk of jagged splinters flying for hundreds of feet.
However, the wounds inflicted on those within the effective impact area are horrendous and not really treatable. These bombs are really anti personnel by design and hence not really suitable to attack a missile storage site as was allegedly the case here.
Anonymouse is entirely correct that a few samples taken by UN observers could put this to rest. However, with some rebels taking UN observers hostage, it may be a challenge to find UN personnel willing to do the job.

Anonymous said...

After the war in Kosovo some Italian military claimed they felt sick as a result of manipulating depleted uranium ammunition when loading it on the planes.

Aside from this, it is interesting how people come up with euphemisms or qualified statements when they need to say something unpleasant:
"not dangerously radioactive" = no immediate effect on health
"collateral damage" = butchering of innocent bystanders
"target specific bombing missions" = as opposed to indiscriminated cluster bombing? or as opposed to dumping radioactive waste in a foreign country?
"anti personnel": as if exploding devices were capable of discriminating between a soldier and a kid; how about "anti people"?


Manager said...

It took 8 years for birth defects in Falluja caused by DU, how will it take in Tokyo?

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