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US military is increasingly deploying flying-blade drone missiles in Syria

The U.S. military is increasingly using a cruel and mysterious non-explosive drone missile in Syria that uses flying blades to kill its targets.

The so-called ninja bomb, the development of which was first announced last year, has been used multiple times over the past year to kill militants in Syria, including those associated with eel Qaeda. last at the beginning of this month.

Officially referred to as Hellfire AGM-1

14R9X – usually abbreviated to R9X and sometimes known as “Flying Ginsu” – the weapon was increasingly used by the US Joint Special Operations Command in targeted assassinations.

The missile, believed to have been used for the first time in 2017 to kill then No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda, Abu Khayr al Masri, in Idlib province, first rose to prominence than hers Existence was made known through an article in the Wall Street Journal last year.

The weapon uses a combination of the force of 100 pounds of dense material flying at high speed and six attached blades that unfold before impact to crush and cut victims.

The video, released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in June this year, showed the remains of one of the rockets used in a strike on a vehicle, including in the Syrian Idlib, that killed a Jordanian and a Yemen, Hurras al -Din, an eel-Qaeda-related group.

The weapon is believed to have been developed during Barack Obama’s administration at a time when US policies of targeted drone killings generated significant criticism of the number of civilian casualties caused by the strikes.

It has been used sparingly since its inception, apparently most common in Syria.

According to the New York Times, the missile was last used on September 14, when it was allegedly used to kill Tunisian Sayyaf al-Tunsi.

Observers have speculated that the increasing use of the weapon in Syria – increasingly targeting leaders of al-Qaeda affiliates – is due to the complexity of operations in Syria, in which the US is having to bypass large Russian engagement.

The non-explosive version of the Hellfire Bladed Missile is the latest version of a weapon that has undergone several variations since it was used to arm previously unarmed Predator drones in 2000.

The first hellfires were conceived as tank crackers with a heavily sculpted charge that were used in Afghanistan and were not considered entirely suitable for.

A later version was developed that carried a heavier warhead, but this created problems with civilian casualties and led to the development of the R9X.

The gun is believed to have been used no more than half a dozen times as of May last year. But it seems to have been used more and more since then.

The new missile appears to be designed for use in circumstances where a more conventional explosive missile may not be considered for fear of killing non-combatants.

Action on Armed Violence’s Iain Overton admitted that the weapon appeared to be less dangerous to civilians, but warned against the impression that it was a “more humanitarian weapon.”

“Although this weapon is only used a few times, it appears to have less widespread effects than other airborne explosive devices.

“However, the vast majority of the explosive US arsenal all too often causes terrible collateral damage. Given that the Trump administration has also approved the deployment of the largest non-nuclear explosion in world history in Afghanistan, it is important to be wary of the PR lens that the US military is now “humanitarian” Uses weapons. “

Overton also highlighted problems with a targeted assassination campaign – with weapons – that had little control.

“This new weapon, framed as an alternative to larger bombs, may be sold as almost ethical. However, when circumvented through due legal process and as vulnerable to false targets as other strikes, it is nothing more than the blade of an assassin by a state that is seldom held accountable for its actions. “

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