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A Brief History Of Chemical Attacks In Syria | William Thomas Online | William Thomas

A Brief History Of Chemical Attacks In Syria


Who Is The Real Culprit Behind Chemical Attacks in Syria? 


A Brief History Chemical Attacks In Syria


By Muhammad Sahim

 

EXCERPTS:



The first time it was alleged that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons against the opposition was on 17 October 2012, when France claimed that the town of Salqin in the governorate of Idlib had been attacked by such weapons.

 

This was followed by allegations of attacks in Al-Bayadah in the governorate of Homs on 23 December 2012; in Darayya and Otaybah, both in the governorate of Rif Dimashq [Dimashq is the Arabic name for Damascus] on 13 and 14 of March 2013, and several others in April and May 2013.

 

This was followed by allegations of attacks in Al-Bayadah in the governorate of Homs on 23 December 2012; in Darayya and Otaybah, both in the governorate of Rif Dimashq [Dimashq is the Arabic name for Damascus] on 13 and 14 of March 2013, and several others in April and May 2013.

 

The first time it was alleged that the Syrian army had used chemical weapons against the opposition was on 17 October 2012, when France claimed that the town of Salqin in the governorate of Idlib had been attacked by such weapons. This was followed by allegations of attacks in Al-Bayadah in the governorate of Homs on 23 December 2012; in Darayya and Otaybah, both in the governorate of Rif Dimashq [Dimashq is the Arabic name for Damascus] on 13 and 14 of March 2013, and several others in April and May 2013.

 

On 6 May 2013 Carla Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general, prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and a leading member of a United Nations appointed commission of inquiry about allegations of violations of human rights in Syria, stated in an interview that, based on the testimony of victims of such attacks, there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that “rebels” – the terrorists – in Syria had used sarin, a nerve agent, against civilians, adding, “I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got... They were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition.”

 

On 30 May 2013 Turkish authorities arrested 12 suspected terrorists in the southern provinces of Mersin, Adana and Hatay near the Syrian border. The suspects were carrying chemicals that could be used for making chemical weapons.

 

In September 2013, Turkey put on trial a Syrian national who had attempted to procure chemical materials for two terrorist groups in Syria, the Al Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda and the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades. The prosecutor filed a report stating that the accused, in collaboration with several others, had ordered 10 tons of sarin nerve gas in Turkey.

 

Then, on 2 November 2013 Turkish patrol border units seized one ton of sulfur and eight sealed barrels from a convoy trying to illegally enter the country from Syria. Turkey’s main opposition party, Republican People’s Party, expressed concerns about such seizures.

 

The United Nations decided to dispatch a group of experts to Syria to investigate the new attacks. The group arrived in Syria on 21 August 2013, exactly the day in which multiple chemical attacks occurred in Zamalka/Ein Tarma and in Muadamiyat al-Sham, both in the governorate of Rif Dimashq. Why would the Syrian government stage chemical attacks exactly on the day that the UN commission was arriving there?

 

Since the August 2013 attacks had supposedly crossed the “red lines” that had been set by President Obama, US attacks on Syria seemed imminent; but they did not occur. In an interview in April 2016 the President said that he did not order the attacks because James Clapper, then National Intelligence Director, told him that proving that the Syrian government was the culprit “was not a slam dunk.”

 

On 23 December 2013 eminent journalist Seymour Hersh reported that, “In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.”

 

In an article on 17 April 2014 Hersh reported that “British intelligence had obtained a sample of sarin used in the 21 August [2013] attack and [its] analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian’s army chemical weapon arsenal.” 


aA former US senior intelligence official told him, “We knew there were some in the Turkish government who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria….”

 

The chemical attacks began once again in the aforementioned town of Darayya on 15 February 2015. At that time Darayya was controlled by the Syrian Army. Why would the Army use chemical weapons in a town that it already controls? Such attacks continued until 21 August 2015 when the OPCW declared that Daesh [also known as ISIS or ISIL] had staged a chemical attacks in Mare’ in the governorate of Aleppo.

 

Turkish intelligence “helped deliver arms to parts of Syria under Islamist rebel control during late 2013 and early 2014, according to a prosecutor and court testimony from gendarmerie officers.” In October 2015, two members of Turkish parliament… stated that they have wiretapped recordings and other evidence showing that Turkey supplied the sarin used in Syria.

 

Turkey is a member of the NATO and a close ally of the United States.


A statement by the investigative team of the OPCW declared on 6 November 2015 with “the utmost confidence” that Daesh [ISIS] used sulfur mustard in an attack on 21 August 2015 in Mare’.

 

In Douma, the last major attack happened in Khan Shaykhun in the Idlib governorate on 4 April 2017. Witnesses claimed that the attacks had used aerosol dispersion munitions that contained an organophosphate nerve agent. 


Officials of Syrian government vehemently denied the allegations, claiming that a Syrian missile had unintentionally struck a factory that was supposedly being used by the terrorists to manufacture chemical weapons. The attacks prompted President Trump to order missile attacks on a Syrian air force base.

 

On 25 June 2017 Hersh presented sources and transcripts that indicated that there was no chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in Khan Shaykhun.

 

The release of toxic chemicals stemmed from materials and munitions that had been stored in or near the designated target that was hit with a conventional bomb. Hersh’s article was not reported by any of the major US mainstream media.

 

Secret e-mails by Hillary Clinton stated unequivocally that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar supported, and perhaps continue doing so, the jihadi groups in Syria.


 

Muhammad Sahimi is a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. For the past two decades he has published extensively on Iran’s political developments and its nuclear program. He was a founding lead political analyst for the website PBS/Frontline: Tehran Bureau

 


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