NEWS CENTER – After taking a closer look at chemical weapons in the last part, the following part now deals with so-called thermobaric weapons. In the reports of the HPG, in the evaluations of Murat Karayilan and Duran Kalkan it was clearly emphasized several times that the Turkish occupying state uses thermobaric bombs against the guerrillas of the freedom Kurdistan. In addition, footage has been published on the ANF news channel showing cardboard boxes left behind by the Turkish occupation soldiers after their attacks with “thermobaric” written on them, which is also clear evidence that these weapons have been used against the guerrilla resistance areas in southern Kurdistan.
3.3 THERMOBARIC WEAPONS
During the current ongoing invasion operation of the fascist AKP-MHP government of Turkey against the south of Kurdistan, which aims to destroy the guerrillas and the PKK freedom movement and with it the achievements of the Kurdish people, the HPG press center has reported the use of high-intensity bombs called “thermobaric bombs”.
The July 14 HPG report announced the following:
- “July 10, 11 and 12, the Turkish occupation army brutally attacked the war tunnels in the Kokerê resistance area, used chemical weapons and carried out very violent explosions. Unable to break the resistance of our comrades in the Kokerê resistance area with the spirit of the apoist Fedai, the dishonest Turkish army used a forbidden thermobaric bomb against the fighting positions, which is also considered a war crime.”
- Already on April 8, footage was published at the ANF news agency showing the guerrillas sifting through piles of garbage left behind by the occupying Turkish soldiers in the Werxelê resistance area, which had been massively attacked with chemical weapons and banned bombs, which were unearthed under the melted snow. In addition to canisters of highly concentrated brine and bleach, cardboard boxes labeled “THERMOBARIC” were also discovered.
In English, this weapon is called “thermobaric bomb”, or “Fuel-Air Explosive” (FAE) and is known in German as “Aerosolbombe”, but is also colloquially called “Vakuumbombe” or “Druckluftbombe”
VIDEOS OF THEIR USE IN THE MOUNTAINS
The first experiments of this weapon took place during the First World War, using a slow but intense burning material such as fabric impregnated with tar and gunpowder dust. These grenades, called incendiary grenades, burned for about 2 minutes after the grenade exploded, spreading the burning element in all directions.
The basic principle is the so-called dust explosion, in which fine particles spread in the surrounding area. For targeted military use, initial experiments were undertaken during World War II by the air force of the fascist Nazi regime in Germany. Physicist and nationalist Mario Zippermayr, is considered the inventor of this type of weapon at the time and conducted research in the Salzburg region for the fascist Nazi regime in Germany to develop these weapons, using brown coal dust as an explosive to cause severe destruction with large fireballs. The Austrian scientist was part of the German Nazi regime and shared his information and experience after the fall of German fascism.
Further research was taken over by the U.S. and the Soviet Union and came up with operational results in the 1960s. Arerosol bombs were officially used by the U.S. for “defoliation of forests” and were used especially during the Vietnam War against the revolutionary uprising of the population against the occupying forces. The U.S. developed thermobaric designs in a wide variety of forms such as ammunition, for small arms, rocket launchers and warheads.
During the Soviet Union and later Russia quickly developed their own FAE weapons and continued research especially since the Afghan War. They developed a wide range of different FAE warheads, thermobaric munitions, grenades, rockets, artillery shells, warheads, anti-tank missiles, and airborne munitions.
The largest manufactured thermobaric weapon – which produces an effect like a nuclear weapon and was developed by Russia as the “father of all bombs” response to the U.S. “massive ordance air blast (moab) bomb” the so-called “mother of all bombs.” It is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in history, its charge of 7 tons of liquid fuel, equivalent to an explosion of 39.9 tons of TNT. Research into the development of thermobaric weapons is also being carried out in Spain, China, India and England and has produced some results.
Thermobaric weapon is also called vacuum bomb in common parlance and is a container with a flammable liquid and a comparatively small explosive charge. The liquid and the explosive charge are combined in such a way that the explosive charge disperses the flammable liquid into a large cloud of fine droplets in the surrounding area, thus creating aerosol. This also earned the weapon the name “aerosol bomb.” The generated aerosol cloud ignites, creating a gigantic deflagration that pushes away the existing air. This vacuum effect resembles chemical and nuclear explosive devices.
This air displacement provided for the name “Vacuum bomb”. The generated blast wave destroys everything in the blast’s area of effect; after the blast wave, the displaced air abruptly flows back, carrying the burning droplets with it. The negative pressure created by the explosion sucks the returning air into the deepest places (e.g. basements of buildings, or as in this case, war tunnels) and with the air a fire cloud of burning liquid. Those who survived the initial blast and struggled for air during the negative pressure then breathe fire.
The most common cause of death from this weapon is asphyxiation. The cause is not the lack of oxygen produced, but the injury to the lungs, called barotrauma.
The first phase of negative pressure creates expansion of air in the lungs, which can cause damage to the lungs. The effect of the thermobaric bomb, the long and relatively flat pressure wave, with corresponding pressure drop flank, as well as the use of oxygen in the atmosphere, favor the lethal effect.
Further damage to the living organism is caused by poisoning, which is triggered by the substances contained in the weapon, such as ethylene oxide or propylene oxide.
Compared to conventional bombs, thermobaric weapons ignite an enormous pressure and heat wave in relation to their size, which is why their effect is often compared to small atomic bombs, whose explosive power is equivalent to less than one kiloton of TNT. However, thermobaric bombs are less predictable in their effects than normal explosive weapons.
Because the fuel can penetrate cave systems and bunkers or the like, it makes the weapon very effective against fortified targets compared to other conventional explosive devices, which are limited in effectiveness because of the lack of a pressurizing effect. In addition, the pressure effect lasts much longer than, than conventional explosives. In addition, its heat effect is stronger, making it an effective weapon in killing people and destroying, for example, unarmored vehicles.
U.S. America used the first generation of FAEs, such as the CBU-55, on a large scale against insurgent society during the Vietnam War, causing massacres. The second generation thermobaric weapons were used by the United States during the Iraq War in “Operation Desert Storm.” The U.S. is said to have dropped at least 254 CBU-72s on the area. In addition, they were used in minefields and trenches because they proved more useful as a psychological weapon.
FAEs were also used by the US military during the Afghanistan war. On March 03, 2022, laser-guided thermobaric bombs weighing 910 kg were used by the U.S. Air Force against caves in the Gardez region where Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters were suspected to be. In addition, the U.S. Navy reportedly used thermobaric weapons during the First and Second Battles of Fallujah.
The Soviet Union used FAEs during the border conflict with China in 1969, and against Chechnya during the First and Second Chechen Wars.
In the 1980s, the TOS-1 missile launcher system for thermobaric explosives was developed by Russia and first used during the Soviet-Afghan War. Aerial fuel bombs were also used against the mujahideen in Afgahnistan, but became a threat to Russian. Ground Forces.
Most recently, Russia reportedly used these weapons on a large scale during the invasion operation in Ukraine.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, FAE missiles were used by the British military air force against the Taliban in the war in Afghanistan. AGM-114N Hellfire missiles were dropped via attack helicopters or drones. In addition, it became clear in 2018 that Hellfire rakts with thermobaric munitions were used by Reaper drones during the civil war in Syria.
To this end, elements of the Free Syrian Army also reported that the Syrian Air Force used these weapons against residential areas during the Battle of Aleppo and Kafar Batna. A panel of United Nations investigators confirmed the use of thermobaric bombs by the Syrian government against Al-Qusayr in March 2013. Russia also joined the Syrian government in using thermobaric bombs and munitions against the insurgency during the Syrian war.
Under current international law, the use of thermobaric munitions, fuel-air explosive devices, or vacuum bombs against military targets is not prohibited. However, their use against civilian targets can be prohibited by the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), but all previous attempts to regulate or restrict thermobaric weapons since February 2022 have failed.