Gas 5

Did the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, attack a town with lethal gas (in April 2018)?

President Trump says he did, so it has to be expected that the “Resistance” will deny it. Reuters and the New York Times, however, have both reported it as if, on the whole, they believe it. (See here and here.)

As  for foreign news channels, you cannot get more anti-Trump than the BBC, and they also say it happened – while casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the White Helmets organization which is one of the sources of the report.

At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say.

Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

Syria has called the allegations of a chemical attack a “fabrication” – as has its main ally, Russia.

The US state department said Russia – with its “unwavering support” for Syria’s government – “ultimately bears responsibility” for the alleged attacks.

What do we know about the attack?

Several medical, monitoring and activist groups reported details of a chemical attack.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” said Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets. An earlier, now deleted tweet, put the number dead at more than 150.

The pro-opposition Ghouta Media Center tweeted that more than 75 people had “suffocated”, while a further 1,000 people had suffered the effects of the alleged attack.

It blamed a barrel bomb allegedly dropped by a helicopter which it said contained Sarin, a toxic nerve agent.

The Union of Medical Relief Organizations, a US-based charity that works with Syrian hospitals, told the BBC the Damascus Rural Specialty Hospital had confirmed 70 deaths.

A spokeswoman said there were reports of people being treated for symptoms including convulsions and foaming of the mouth, consistent with nerve or mixed nerve and chlorine gas exposure.

Continued shelling overnight and on Sunday was making it impossible to reach victims.

As the allegations emerged, Syria’s state news agency Sana said the reports were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.

“Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are [making] chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army,” Sana said.

So Russia and Sana deny there was any such attack. That is not surprising.

But what we find surprising is the resistance to believing the reports to be true by some of our own regular Facebook commenters. There seems to be an unwillingness among a number of our otherwise like-thinkers to believe that Assad would do such a thing. We find that strange. Some say that whether the reports are true or not, America should take no part in the Syrian civil war no matter what Assad does. 

And Tucker Carlson on Fox is deploring the possibility of the US using force against Assad as this is being written. He asks how the US would become safer if there were regime change in Syria.

But Russia and Iran are deeply involved in it, and they both threaten US interests.

President Trump asks:

If they’re innocent, why aren’t they allowing people to go in and prove it? Because as you know, they’re claiming they didn’t make the attack.

Since he believes it happened, the big question now is: What will he do about it?

What do our readers think about all this?

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Iran, Russia, Syria by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 9, 2018

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This post has 5 comments.

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  • Don L

    Cost benefit analysis. In my estimation the cost of allowing these two unscrupulous and murderous governments to get away with using chem attacks requires a massive attack to eliminate war equipment and material – NOT regime change. To not inflict pain on them is to embolden even more outrageous acts against human beings. More chem attacks on civilians in other countries … say, like the UK.

    Justice is called for.

    • Jeanne

      I agree here too, but what does that mean? Who does the justice? Which side is the truly and deserving to win good side? Do we warn again and then back it up with serious action, if chemical weapons are used once more? How do we serve justice and not move this latest proxy war into a larger sphere? Where is Odin when you need him? A well-place lightening bolt… Sorry for the jest, I was thinking God, but what difference does it make? What would Jesus do? There again, I am not taking this seriously. Maybe that is why people are conflicted. What difference has US interference made in Syria’s war or other “religious-related” wars going on?

  • liz

    There has always been so much denial from all sides every time there is one of these attacks, its no wonder people don’t know who to believe anymore.
    The situation in Syria is such chaos, there doesn’t seem to be any “good side”- just warring factions of radical Islamists and a dictatorship, in the midst of which the citizens trying to survive are turned into cannon fodder.
    Thanks to Obama, it went from bad to worse. Is a solution even possible?

    • Jeanne

      I think that is the real problem, Liz. What will end this conflict? Who benefits from it tends to make it a problem beyond just the area at war. No doubt if Obama were in office…Clinton?…this would be spun as a humanitarian necessity; that red-line that must not be crossed or else the prez of the US will …well, the prez will do something or demand something or denounce something. Oh gawd, what a mess! I thought there was a well-known “international group” that demanded proper war behavior from tyrants bent on winning at all costs. Nobody wins wars anymore. I don’t know that it is possible to actually win a war on its own merit. Everything seems to be a proxy and that makes wars never-ending. Does that make any sense at all or am I just that tired?

      • liz

        Mess is right. All I know is I’m glad to have Trump, Bolton, and Mattis handling this instead of Obama, Hillary, or John Kerry.