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France weighing military options after French lab confirms Syrian use of sarin gas
Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, said that samples taken from Syria and tested in France confirm that sarin gas has been used by the Assad regime in several attacks in March and April. The U.K. Foreign Office said that samples from Syrian victims tested in British labs also confirmed the use of sarin. A UN investigative panel released its report yesterday, saying its experts had "reasonable grounds" to suspect small-scale use of toxic chemicals. Fabius said that France was not ruling out a military strike on the place where the gas is being stored.
Ακομα απο ολυμπια αυτο...
ΕΚΤΑΚΤΟ! Ανοίγουν οι πύλες της κολάσεως. Ο Ομπάμα ανακοίνωσε στρατιωτικη υποστήριξη στους ισλαμοφασίστες εισβολείς στην Συρία.
Μπαίνουμε στην τελική ευθεία. Δυστυχώς οι υπάνθρωποι του Σόρος και της Κλίντον οδηγούν τους Γηγενείς σε νέα γενοκτονία και την ανθρωπότητα προ της παγκόσμιας σύρραξης. Σε λίγο περισσότερα.
KAI ΑΛΛΟ ΕΝΑ
ΧΑΟΣ: Μαζικες Απελάσεις Σιιτων ξεκίνησαν οι “χώρες του κόλπου”.
Ο εφιάλτης ξεκίνησε. Το Κουβειτ ανακοίνωσε την απέλαση 2000 Σιιτων κατάσχοντας τις περιουσίες τους. Όλοι πλέον
βλέπουν ανάφλεξη στην περιοχή. Στην γειτονιά μας δηλαδή. Να ετοιμαζόμαστε και εμείς σιγά σιγά…
EKTAKTA NEA AΠΟ ΣΥΡΙΑ/ΑΡΓΑ ΤΟ ΒΡΑΔΥ/OI HΠΑ ΕΠΙΒΕΒΑΙΩΝΟΥΝ ΧΡΗΣΗ ΧΗΜΙΚΩΝ ΟΠΛΩΝ ΑΠΟ ΑΣΑΝΤ. ΣΤΟ ΙΔΙΟ ΜΗΚΟΣ ΚΥΜΑΤΟΣ ΓΑΛΛΙΑ-ΙΣΡΑΗΛ-Μ.ΒΡΕΤΑΝΙΑ…
dr Athanasios E.Drougos
EΠΙΜΕΛΕΙΑ: ΔΡ ΑΘΑΝΑΣΙΟΣ Ε.ΔΡΟΥΓΟΣ
U.S. confirms: Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels, civilians
Published 13 June 2013
The Obama administration has informed Congress a few minutes ago that the U.S. intelligence community has determined that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions against both rebel forces and Syrian civilians. The U.S. intelligence community says these attacks, each using small quantities of sarin gas, have killed about 150 Syrians.
The Obama administration has informed Congress this afternoon that the U.S. intelligence community has determined that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on several occasions against both rebel forces and Syrian civilians.
The U.S. intelligence community says these attacks, each using small quantities of sarin gas, have killed about 150 Syrians.
The New York Times reports that according to an internal memorandum circulating inside the government on Thursday, the “intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.”
The intelligence services involved in the determination say their conclusions are based on evidence that includes reporting on planning by the regime for the use of chemical weapons, accounts of specific attacks, and descriptions of physiological symptoms.
The draft statement notes there is no reason to believe the rebels have access to chemical weapons.
“We believe that the Assad regime maintains control of these weapons, and has taken steps to secure these weapons from theft or attack,” it states. “We have no reliable, corroborated reported indication that the opposition has acquired or used chemical weapons.”
According to a CIA report, which was described to the Times by an American official who declined to be identified, the United States has acquired blood, urine, and hair samples from two Syrian rebels — one dead, and one wounded — who were involved in a firefight with Syrian government forces in mid-March near the town of Utubya, northeast of Damascus.
The samples showed that the rebels were exposed to sarin and support the conclusion that the regime has used the weapon.
The intelligence services of the United Kingdom and France have reached similar conclusions earlier this month.
Independent labs in the United Kingdom and France, after examining bodily fluids from Syrian victims, have said these fluids prove beyond doubt that sarin gas was used.
USA Today reports that the White House announced late Thursday afternoon that high-level administration officials were going to hold previously unscheduled calls with reporters for about 17:00 Thursday to discuss the findings about Syria and what the administration intends to do in response.
Earlier on Thursday, Politico reported that former President Bill Clinton said he agreed with Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) that Obama should be more forceful in supporting Syrian rebels who are fighting the government forces of President Bashar Assad.
“Some people say, ‘Okay, see what a big mess it is? Stay out!’ I think that’s a big mistake,” Clinton said during a Tuesday event on behalf of the McCain Institute for International Leadership in New York City.
“I agree with you about this,” Clinton told McCain. “Sometimes it’s just best to get caught trying, as long as you don’t over-commit — like, as long as you don’t make an improvident commitment.”
The Times reports that earlier this week, during a broad evaluation of U.S. Syria policy, senior State Department officials have been pushing for an aggressive military response to the recent battlefield gains by the Assad government, and that these officials’ position has only been strengthened by the intelligence community’s determination about chemical weapons. These officials have advocated measures such as airstrikes to hit the primary landing strips in Syria that the government uses to launch the chemical weapons attacks, ferry troops around the country, and receive shipments of matériel from Iran.
White House officials, however, remain wary, and one American official told the Times that a meeting on Wednesday of the president’s senior advisers yielded no firm decisions about how to proceed.
France weighing military options after French lab confirms Syrian use of sarin gas
Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, said yesterday that samples taken from Syria and tested in France confirm that sarin gas has been used by the Assad regime in several attacks in March and April. The U.K. Foreign Office said that samples from Syrian victims tested in British labs also confirmed the use of sarin. A UN investigative panel released its report yesterday, saying its experts had “reasonable grounds” to suspect small-scale use of toxic chemicals. Fabius said that France was not ruling out a military strike on the place where the gas is being stored.
Laurent Fabius, France’s foreign minister, said yesterday that samples taken from Syria and tested in France confirm that sarin gas has been used on several occasions. Fabius said that a French laboratory “proved the presence of sarin in the samples in our possession.” He said France “now is certain that sarin gas was used in Syria multiple times and in a localized way.”
Le Monde reports that the UN panel investigating chemical weapon use in the Syrian conflict has tested blood and urine samples from victims of four attacks by the Syrian army and air force:
Khan Al-Assal, near Aleppo, on 19 March
Uteibah, near Damascus, on 19 March
The neighborhood of Sheikh Makhsoud in Aleppo on 13 April
The city of Saraqeb on 29 April
Le Monde reports that the French lab examined samples from victims of a government helicopter attacks on Saraqeb on 29 April. Fabius did not elaborate on the findings, but his office reported that metabolized sarin was found in the urine of a female victim, and that elevated levels of regenerated (pure) sarin were found in the blood taken from two other victims (9.5 nanograms/milliliter).
The blood samples were taken from the three victims – one of them was already dead, the two others were in critical conditions — at a hospital at Idlib, and shipped to the Centre de Recherches du Bouchet, located in Vert-le-Petit in the Essonne department in northern France, on 4 May, arriving at the lab on 9 May.
The Bouchet lab used four different analytical techniques to analyze the samples. The complete results of the analysis are confidential, but lab experts told Le Monde that the presence of sarin in the blood is impossible to falsify or manipulate, unlike the presence of sarin in urine, which can be manipulated.
Fabius told France 2 TV that “aucun doute que c’est le régime qui est en cause” (without doubt it is the [Assad] regime which is involved” [in the attack]).
Fabius repeated the same message in an interview with Reuters, saying Syrian president Bashar Assad’s regime was responsible for the use of the gas, and that France was not ruling out a military strike on the place where the gas is being stored.
“It would be unacceptable that those guilty of these crimes benefit from impunity,” Fabius said
The United Kingdom also said that t tests it conducted in British labs on samples from Syria were positive for sarin.
Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mark Lyall Grant, said Britain has evidence suggesting a number of different chemical agents have been used, “sometimes including sarin, sometimes not.”
France and Britain both say they believe the Assad regime first used chemical weapons in an attack on Homs on 23 December 2012, but that French and British labs could not obtain physiological samples from victims of that attack.
Fox News reports that the French and British findings, based on samples taken from Syria, came hours after a UN investigative team said it had “reasonable grounds” to suspect small-scale use of toxic chemicals in at least four attacks in March and April.
The UN investigation was based on interviews with doctors and witnesses, not on physical evidence.
The UN investigative team was appointed by the Human Rights Council has been issuing periodic updates about suspected war crimes in Syria. Tuesday’s report dealt with chemical weapons, among a wide range of topics.
Separately, UN chief Ban Ki-moon appointed a UN team headed by Swedish chemical weapons experts Ake Sellstrom after the Syrian government asked for an investigation of a purported attack by rebels on 19 March on the village of Khan al-Assal, near the northern city of Aleppo.
Syria says that Syrian soldiers were killed in the incident, and the regime insisted that the UN probe be limited to that case.
Ban wants a broader investigation, including the 23 December incident in Homs. Britain and France have also pushed to widen Sellstrom’s mandate, sending Ban information on additional alleged incidents.
Fox news notes that such allegations are based on three types of information that can be obtained without having investigators go into Syria — amateur videos, witness accounts, and physiological samples.
Witnesses and doctors have been interviewed by Skype or after they have fled Syria. Labs in Turkey, Britain, and France have analyzed samples smuggled out of Syria or taken from suspected victims after they were hospitalized outside Syria.
First use of a chemical weapon in Syria appears confirmeD
Israeli military intelligence sources said, with “high degree of confidence,” that a single chemical weapon – either a SCUD chemical warhead or, more likely, an artillery shell – was fired on the Khan al-Assal neighborhood in Aleppo earlier today, killing twenty-six people, including eleven government soldiers. Scores of injured people were taken to area hospitals. The Syrian government and the anti-government rebels accuse each other for firing the chemical weapon.
Israeli military intelligence sources said, with “high degree of confidence,” that a single chemical weapon – either a SCUD chemical warhead or, more likely, an artillery shell – was fired on the Khan al-Assal neighborhood in Aleppo earlier today, killing twenty-six people, including eleven government soldiers.
Scores of injured people were taken to area hospitals.
In a speech last week, Maj. Gen Aviv Kochavi, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, said the President Assad was preparing his chemical arsenal for operational use, but that the order to use them had not yet been given (see: “Syrie, Iran, Palestine: les scénarios de l’armée israélienne,” Slate.fr, 15 March 2013).
Kochavi also noted that the Assad regime, in fighting the rebel forces, has steadily escalated its use of advanced weapon systems against civilians. The Syrian military has used SCUD and M-600 missiles on populated areas of the country. Kochavi said that so far, Syrian government forces have launched seventy missiles on civilian areas.
The anti-government rebels charged the Assad regime for the first confirmed use a chemical weapon in the two-year old civil war, saying the firing came hours after a coalition of anti-regime groups, meeting in Istanbul, elected Ghassan Hitto, a Syrian-American, to be the prime minister of a rebel-supported interim Syrian government.
The Assad regime and the Russian Foreign Ministry both accused the rebels for firing the chemical shell.
The official Syrian news agency, SANA, said: “Terrorists fired a rocket containing chemical substances in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo and initial reports indicate that around 15 people were killed, most of them civilians.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying:
A case of the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition was recorded early in the morning of March 19 in Aleppo province. We are very seriously concerned by the fact that weapons of mass destruction are falling into the hands of the rebels, which further worsens the situation in Syria and elevates the confrontation in the country to a new level.”
The United States has been cautious in its reaction to the news.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that “We are looking carefully at allegations of … chemical weapons use, we are evaluating them. We have no evidence to substantiate the charge that the opposition has used chemical weapons. We are deeply skeptical of a regime that has lost all credibility and we would also warn the regime against making these kinds of charges as any kind of pretext or cover for its use of chemical weapons.”
Pentagon spokesman George Little said: “I have no information at this time to corroborate any claims that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. The use of chemical weapons in Syria would be deplorable.”
The United States has stressed all along that the it would take action if Assad used chemical weapons. Back in December, President Barack Obama said: “Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable. If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable.”
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said: “This is a red line for the United States. I am not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”