UN has strong suspicions Syrian Rebels used Sarin Gas

A UN commission unvestigating the situation in Syria has strong, concrete suspicions that Syrian rebels used sarin gas, but does not have firm proof, according to investigator Carla del Ponti.

Euronews reports

The announcement landed like a bombshell because during the past week Israeli and European officials have levelled the same charge against the Syrian government.

22 Responses

  1. I’m skeptical until the UN divulges more details. Del Ponte’s interview was too vague. What was the motive of the Syrian rebels? How can we be certain this wasn’t a false flag by the Syrian government? The shabiha are brutal, but they might also be cunning as well.

    • So you are saying this is a double false flag? The Syrian government trying to set up the rebels to *look* like they are trying to set up the government to take the fall for chemical weapons? A little far fetched, no?

      • No, Base, I think you’re over-thinking the statement. The false flag is the Syrian Government using sarin gas at the least to muddy the waters, and perhaps to frame the Syrian Rebels. Whatever the case, it has put Obama’s “light footprint” policy to the test.

        Beyond having to commit to aggressive action, perhaps there was a reason Obama avoided specifying his direct response to chemical warfare. Perhaps his intelligence reports suspected the rebels before the UN made their statement. Promising decisive retaliation against the enemy of his enemy would put him in a pretty pickle, lose him credibility, and leverage with Russia.

    • Seconded. This doesn’t clarify anything – but it sure does knock down the narrative that the usual suspects were pushing over the past week.

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    This news will of course be particularly troubling for Turkey who has not not equipped its citizens with Respirators as the Israeli government has (have they equipped the Palestinians?)

    It will eventually dawn on the Turks that the crazies with SAM and Sarin can ruin the tourist trade by either dinging an airliner, or giving the bikini clad beer swilling lovelies on the beaches a whiff of nerve gas.

    There was a report a few days ago of a Russian flight out of Egypt that took evasive action to avoid a SAM over Syria.

    I wonder what you think about when the pilot tells you that the aircraft has been hit by SAM and that both engines are on fire but he will try and make it to the airport. It could be rather a long couple of minutes.

  3. “A UN commission unvestigating the situation in Syria has strong, concrete suspicions that Syrian rebels used sarin gas, but does not have firm proof, according to investigator Carla del Ponti.”

    Carla del Ponti could use a brush-up on English. A “concrete suspicion” is an oxymoron. A “suspicion” by definition cannot be “concrete,” which could only refer to a fact backed by evidence.

  4. This report sounds really stupid to me. I am just an angry citizen not an expert on nervea agents. But I have heard that
    poison gas is very dangersous. So I guess that means that I am suppossed to believe that these really dangerous weapons were used but they did not kill anyone. Or am I supposed to believe that these really dangerous weapons were used but that a medical doctor, including corners, would be unable to pin point the cause of death after a person had died from exposure to such weapons. Or perhaps that the people killed
    by these weapons all disappeared before they could be examined? I did not actually listen to the report because I was so turned off by the introduction of suspicions but no
    proof. Come on, the UN should not waste my time with such
    double talk.

  5. I agree that Del Ponte’s interview is too vague and we need to wait for more solid confirmation. However, the initial Israeli claims that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons were also unconvincing, because as the American president had said that their use would be a game changer it would have been very foolish of the Syrian government to deliberately go out of its way to provoke the West. In any case, it has managed to kill far too many people without resort to those weapons. It seems that somebody was trying to widen the scope of the conflict and drag America into it, as confirmed by the massive Israeli attack on Syrian installations yesterday.

    To be fair, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also was rather measured in his comments. He told reporters the White House has informed senators John McCain and Carl Levin by letter that, within the past day, “our intelligence community does assess, with varying degrees of confidence, that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin.”

    As President Obama had said that the use of chemical weapons by the government would be a red line, one should ask what is the US prepared to do if it is established that the rebels have used them. The least they can do is to stop arming the rebels with even more deadly weapons and order the Saudis and Qataris to do the same. Instead, the West should push for a genuine peace plan with elections under international inspection for choosing a new government.

    • If the U.S. could order the Saudis and Qataris to stop arming rebel groups, those countries wouldn’t be arming an offshoot of al Qaeda that the State Department put on its list of international terrorist organizations.

  6. If sarin was used by anti Assad forces, where did it come from? Assad’s stockpile? Made in someone’s apartment? Was it used in reaction to previous use by Assad? Is/are the suggested rebel use incident(s) the only one where sarin might have been used? So far we have a tiny bit of one half of a story. The international acceptance of a long term conflict there has encouraged brutality to become universal. That a general increase in brutality would happen in an extended conflict could not have been unanticipated by China and Russia.

  7. The nest question is if this is true…..Who has been supplying them with the sarin agent?

    • David

      Tragically the recipe for the substance was widely available on the internet so it can be synthesised by a reasonably competent chemist.

      link to news.bbc.co.uk

      The difficulty with the stuff is in delivering it across a wide area as a weapon. This requires aircraft or airburst munitions. This was the difficulty that the Japanese encountered with their amateurish attack on the Tokyo Underground.

      The small scale results being trumpeted don’t sound like a military use of a weapon the results of which would look like Halabja.

      You should be aware that googling the many sites which refer to the substance will probably (might?) bring you up on a watchlist run by Department of Homeland Security et al.

    • The rebels have been capturing and using Syrian military weaponry for two years now. They started with rifles, and moved all the way to tanks.

      Why would the capture of chemical stockpiles be so unlikely?

  8. Some facinating footshuffling going on that look as if someone is trying to undermine Ms del Ponte.

    link to m.bbc.co.uk

    BBC TV news helpfully had an interview with a Kurdish commander from Aleppo who said they had been gassed and he isn’t sure which side did it.

    The rebels drove the Kurds out of one the city districts a week ago.

    The press is doing its job.

    Ho hum, now all we need is Ahmed Challabi to show up ……

    • Looks like the UN is running away from Del Ponte faster than her tongue ran away from her brain.

      It’s interesting to go back through the thread here and see who was so ready to accept the claim as gospel. Ho hum, now all we need is…

  9. I don’t find this any more credible than the Israeli reports that the Syrian government also used chem weapons.

    My guess, both reports are fabricated, one by Israel, the other by Russia.

  10. I wonder..is any goverment will dare to draw a “red” line for the so called Syrian rebels in their use of this chemiclas if That is the case. What would bibi do now?

  11. US and its friends (including the UN secgen, a national of a country (South Korea) with a military alliance with the US, are in a panic to mitigate this story but it confirms what Syria has declared from the get-go. Iraq was proven right when it denied it had WMDs and Iran is probably correct when it denies it wants nukes–charges made by its enemies–including the current IAEA secgen, a national of a country (Japan) which has a military alliance with the US.

  12. When it was stated that the Syrian government has used the gas it was regarded as a fact in some quarters and the question of invading was mooted. But when the terrorists are accused its seems the UNs investigation is not given any credence and it has to be treated with caution and more evidence is needed etc. It is quite clear the terrorists (some people foolishly refer to them as “revolutionaries”) are committing appalling atrocities and the use of gas is just one of their ploys to get the British, Americans and French to invade and let the real slaughter begin.

    • Well, John, the UN’s “clarification” seem to indicate that the habit of unquestioning accepting accusations about chemical weapons, when there isn’t really plausible evidence, is just as wrong-headed when you do it than when the Iraq hawks did it.

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