UMLACAs are munitions that were linked to the August 21st Sarin attack, and come in both an explosive type, and chemical type. The munitions come in two sizes, with the larger type, fired from a single barrel launcher, shown below
One question that remains is what the Syrian forces call these weapons. The following video posted by the Syrian National Defence Force is our first clue to what the IRAM is called
At 1m28s the narrator describes them as "bourkan" rockets, which translates to Volcano, and if you search for "Volcano" in Arabic there's some results that show the same munition appearing to be used, including the following video
The description claims to show Hezbollah using a Volcano rocket, and is a copy of an earlier video claiming to show Hezbollah in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus. Hezbollah appear to have used their own design of IRAM in the fighting in Qusayr, Homs, and it would be interesting if both the Syrian National Defence Force and Hezbollah are using the same term for IRAMs, even though the design differs
|Hezbollah "Volcano" in Qusayr, Homs|
The original Facebook post has been deleted, but the contents was reported here. This is a screengrab taken from the video showing the Syrian National Defence Force launching UMLACAs, but what's interesting is commentators on Facebook claimed that this was a Hezbollah designed weapon, known as the "Volcano" described as "The Pride of Lebanese Industry". It could be said that the explosive version of the UMLACA is basically a larger version of the IRAM, and a suspected chemical variant of the IRAM shared at least one interesting feature with the chemical version of the UMLACA. It should be kept in mind these are just claims by commentators on a pro-Hezbollah Facebook page, so claims the weapon is Hezbollah made should be taken with a pinch of salt, and the NDF video showing the UMLACA claims it's a Syrian made weapon.
This leaves many unanswered questions; it's not clear if both the IRAMs and UMLACAs are known as Volcanoes, or if it's an error by the commentators on the pro-Hezbollah Facebook page. If they are known as Volcanoes, does that suggest the UMLACA could be a more advanced version of the IRAM? Was Hezbollah involved with the use of IRAMs by the Syrian military, and did that in turn lead to involvement with the development of the chemical UMLACA? Does that mean Hezbollah has access to UMLACAs, potentially their first chemical weapon? At this stage it's too earlier to know, but it does add a new twist to the tale of IRAMs and UMLACAs in Syria.
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