A new photograph has been posted to a pro-Hezbollah page (now erased) of two Volcano dual-launchers.
The photos were uploaded under the following caption:
The caption translates to: “Yabrood now (“Right now in Yabrood”) and volcano missiles pray for the Mujahideen and the Syrian army.”
The Facebook page is titled “أسود الشيعة شبكة الأخبار,” in English – “Shiah Black News Network – Southern Suburbs 2.”
The photograph shows a soldier stood in front of two trucks which appear to be locked in firing position as they are raised on bricks. The rockets are behind a soil embankment and parked on a road. There is a four-digit number printed on one of the rockets, though the compression makes reading its digits unclear. It appears to be 1–2.
The photograph matches prior videos and photographs of the 122mm Volcano rocket model.
I have run the photograph through Tineye and Google image back-search, and cannot trace any earlier versions of it. It appears to be genuine.
This is significant for at least two reasons.
First, Elijah J Magnier recently wrote in his article on the Yabroud offensive that “Hezbollah used in this attack self-made Volcano (Burkan) rockets to advance on the ground from Nabak and Deir Atiya re-taking Al-Jarajeer and all the surrounding hills between Lebanon and Syria.”
Later he commented, “He pointed out “Hezbollah SF who have participated in the battle of East Ghota, Idlib and Qusayr have been deployed in the battle with their experience and full equipment, including their special Burkan (Volcano) to open the road.”
If confirmed, we appear to have clear evidence of their use in the Yabroud offensive. Charles Lister notes: “Worth noting that #Hezbollah successfully deployed Volcano IRAMs in the May-June ‘13 Al-Qusayr offensive – reportedly very effectively.”
More evidence of their use may appear, which would be critical for understanding how these rockets function more fully.
Second, questions have long been asked about the links between Hezbollah and the Volcano rockets. This piece on Syria Deeply asks: Volcanoes In Damascus: Was Hezbollah Involved With Developing Chemical Munitions? For now, if confirmed, this photograph above would add to the evidence that there is a connection between Hezbollah and the design of the Volcano munition, specifically the 122mm version.
If anyone has anything to add or detract from this analysis, please Tweet me here @Rsyriancivilwar
It appears the Pro-Hezbollah Facebook page that posted the pic of Volcanos has since been deleted. Here is a snapshot of the link to the source now:
UPDATE 2: Within an hour and a half of my posting a link to the page, the entire page has disappeared from the Internet. When you search for the page name now under “أسود الشيعة شبكة الأخبار”, this link comes up:
If you follow that link through, it now simply redirects to your home page. This may be the fastest recorded report and FB delete yet.
UPDATE 3: The page is cached through this link. As you can tell, barely any information remains:
As Mathew Ingram and others have written, “Critics say Facebook is erasing pieces of history by deleting pages about the war in Syria,” this is developing into a major problem. Facebook is erasing history from its servers. I hope Facebook changes its policy.
There may still be time to catch this photograph in its servers.