Numerous new videos of the rockets known to have been associated with the Aug. 21st chemical attack are now available. Thankfully, some of the videos show the surrounding area so that we can observe the damage to the area around the rocket landing area.
The first video is a video I missed in my post on August 23. In this video, we see clearly that the narrator is showing that the rocket completely cleared the area of vegetation. One commentator had questioned that crops would be planted at this time of year in Syria, but in the video we can see an adjacent parcel full of growing crops. The narrator is down on the ground with a nice closeup of the damage to the crops. Fuel air explosive are known for their ability to clear vegetation. Human Rights Watch, in its “Backgrounder on Russian Fuel Air Bombs”, writes, “According to one Russian military scientist writing for the Russian military magazine Voyennyye Znaniya (Military Knowledge) . . . “fuel-air explosives are capable…of completely destroying in a given area vegetation and agricultural crops that have been planted.”
Also, notice the small crater. If the rocket exploded upon impact, rather than exploded in the air, I would expect that we would see a larger blast crater given the surrounding damage.
It seems highly improbable that a weapon designed to spread a chemical agent to cause death would contain an explosive charge powerful enough to destroy and flatten vegetation in a large blast radius, as well as destroy concrete walls. I’ve reviewed the literature on chemical delivery systems and not seen any chemical weapons designed with close the explosive force that this rocket displays in this video. This makes sense because a large explosion would likely destroy the chemical agent.