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What We DO Know About Chemical Weapons In Syria


The White House claims that the Syrian army has used chemical weapons:

Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year. Our intelligence community has high confidence in that assessment given multiple, independent streams of information.

Remember that such "high confidence" and "multiple, independent streams of information" were also claimed when the United States attacked Iraq over such claims of chemical weapons. None of the alleged weapons were ever found. The claims were proven false.

The U.S. is trying the same lame trick again. It has provided no evidence but statements from the insurgents for any chemical weapon use by the Syrian army.

But there IS some evidence that chemical weapon have been used in Syria by the insurgents.

Late last year the insurgents in Syria threatened to produce and use chemical weapons. They uploaded videos in which they demonstrated the use of gas to kill animals while threatening to do the same with their enemies in Syria.

In March 2013 16 Syrian army soldiers guarding a barrier were killed when they were attacked by insurgents with Chlorine gas. According to Alex Thomsen of the British Channel 4 insurgents had sourced the gas from an earlier captured factory near Aleppo.

Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general and prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), is a member of the UN's Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. On May 6 she declared that according to investigations she had seen insurgents in Syria had used the nerve gas Sarin:

Testimony from victims of the conflict in Syria suggests rebels have used the nerve agent, sarin, a leading member of a UN commission of inquiry has said.

Carla Del Ponte told Swiss TV that there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof".

The insurgents distributed fake videos allegedly showing people "foaming at the mouth" as consequence of a chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian army. The foam was shaving cream.

Also in May an al-Nusra fighter was photographed carrying a grenade with strong riot control agents similar to those security forces in Turkey had purchased from an Indian weapon manufacturer. Debris of such grenades was found in places in Syria where "chemical weapon attacks" had occurred. Symtoms described after such attacks are consistent with exposure to riot control agents.

At the end of May an insurgency cell was busted in Turkey as it produced, according to local media, the toxic gas Sarin:

Seven members of Syria's militant al-Nusra group were detained on Wednesday after police found sarin gas, which was reportedly going to be used in a bomb attack, during a search of the suspects' homes, Turkish media have reported.

Newspapers claimed on Thursday that two kilograms of sarin gas, which is usually used for making bombs and was banned by the UN in 1991, had been found in the homes of suspects detained in the southern provinces of Adana and Mersin. Twelve suspects were caught by the police on Monday. The reports claimed that the al-Nusra members had been planning a bomb attack for Thursday in Adana but that the attack was averted when the police caught the suspects. Along with the sarin gas, the police seized a number of handguns, grenades, bullets and documents during their search.

In early June another Al Qaeda cell was busted in Iraq where it was producing mustard gas:

Iraq has captured a suspected Al Qaeda cell that was allegedly planning to produce chemical poisons such as mustard gas to attack Iraqi forces and to ship overseas for attacks on Europe and the United States, the government said on Saturday.

Five men were caught before they could manufacture any gas or chemical weapons in makeshift factories in Baghdad and another province, Mohammed Al-Askari, a Defence Ministry spokesman told reporters.

“They got some programs from Al Qaeda outside Iraq, they were working … to produce mustard gas … and other gas,” he said.

No evidence has been shown that demonstrates the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army. Several items of evidence are available that demonstrate the use of riot control agents and chemical weapons by the insurgency.

But the U.S. is again claiming "chemcial weapons" as a (fake) reason to wage war on a Middle Eastern country. Who does it think will believe such claims?


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are the author's personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Newsclick


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