Then they could scuttle back home, Long said in an email.
The rocket used in the second attack, he wrote, was unusual and more difficult to assess but most probably was fired from close to the base.
The 330 mm rocket appears to be a unique Syrian weapon so I have not the foggiest idea of its range, Long wrote. He added: Just eyeballing the map and knowing the azimuth, the two attacks could have very similar points of origin.
Azimuths werent the only evidence damning the Syrian regime in this case. Bouckaert noted that the weapons and the attack itself implicated the Syrian military. The rebels are known to have launchers for rockets similar to the ones that hit Moadamiya, but theirs are smaller versions with 120 mm rockets, not 140 mm rockets as used in the attack.
The reason is clear, Bouckaert said: The 140 mm version is an outdated piece of Soviet hardware, and was designed for chemical attacks. The overall usefulness of such a weapons system to the rebels, even if they had chemicals to use, would be limited.
The rocket that hit Zamalka, however, is stronger evidence. Bouckaert said the 330 mm rocket was made industrially.
But we havent seen it before in any conflict, he said. Its not in the books. Its not listed anywhere.
It appears to have been designed to be fired from an Iranian launcher, which the Syrians are known to have. But the rocket itself appears to be Syrian made.
The 140 mm rockets carry about 5 liters of sarin liquid, which vaporizes on impact, he said. But the 330 mm rocket is essentially a rocket with a trash can on the end. It carries about 55 liters of sarin liquid, which also vaporizes on impact.
He said Human Rights Watch estimated that far more people died from the 330 mm shelling.
Two different rocket systems, both known to be used by the Syrian regime and not by the rebels, a precision attack on rebel areas, a substantial amount of sarin and launched from regime-controlled areas, Bouckaert said, rattling off the clues to the Assad regimes involvement. The case is very strong.