Syrian Conflict: 21-August, 2013 Chemical Attack

On 21-August, 2013 Syrian activists reported that Assad forces struck Jobar, Zamalka, ‘Ain Tirma, and Hazzah in the Eastern Ghouta region with chemical weapons. As a result on 30-August the US government released a four-page document outlining their conclusions about the August 21 attack, blaming Assad and stating that 1,429 people had been killed including 426 children.

Their assessment was based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open-source reporting.

“We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition.”

“The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack on August 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.”

To summarize, the US government blames the Syrian government, in part, because they believe the opposition does not have the means to carry out such an attack.

With little effort claims that the opposition does indeed have the capabilities to carry out chemical weapons attacks can be found online.

Syrian rebels on the streets of AleppoSyrian Rebels On The Streets Of Aleppo

An article published by Mint Press News, on 31-August, written by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, claims that Syrian rebels have been given chemical weapons by the Saudis and reports that Syrians on the ground in Gouta and Damascus report chemical weapons were used by the rebels.

According to the article, numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, reveal that many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via Saudi intelligence and were responsible for carrying out the 21-August gas attack.

A female rebel fighter reportedly complained, “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them, we didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta reportedly said “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material. We were very curious about these arms.”

Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra; an al-Qaida linked rebel group.

In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad. Ingersoll refers to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph newspaper about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.

Prince Bandar bin SultanPrince Bandar bin Sultan: Saudi Intelligence Chief

“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians.

Prince Bandar is reported to have urged the U.S. to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan. Rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” or ‘the lover’ by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.

To conclude this article I would like to talk about motives for the 21-August chemical attack. Who wins from the attack? Answer: the Syrian opposition. Since 21-August the U.S, the U.K, France and others have been calling for military intervention. The Syrian rebels are not winning the civil war but now have some new and powerful international friends.

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