July 10, 2013
According to Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, the Syrian mercenaries supported by the CIA and funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar are behind chemical attacks in Syria. The Russians claim the weapons used include the poison gas sarin.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said a Russian scientific team accessed the site of an attack in Khan al-Assal where 26 people were killed and 86 injured during a chemical attack on March 19. The weapon used in the attack, an unguided Basha’ir-3 rocket, was produced by the Free Syrian Army, according to the Russian team.
“Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was the armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal,” Churkin said.
Following Churkin’s remarks, the United States expressed doubt the mercenaries had used chemical weapons.
According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the United States has yet to see any evidence suggesting anyone other than the Syrian government “had the ability to use chemical weapons, or has used chemical weapons.”
On Wednesday, the British parliament’s intelligence committee warned in its annual report about the consequences of al-Qaeda and other Salafist mercenaries in Syria obtaining chemical weapons.
“Al-Qaeda elements and individual jihadists in Syria currently represent the most worrying emerging terrorist threat to the U.K. and the West,” the report states.
“There has to be a significant risk that some of the country’s chemical weapons stockpile could fall into the hands of those with links to terrorism, in Syria or elsewhere in the region” if the Bashar al-Assad regime falls, the report concludes. “If this happens, the consequences could be catastrophic.”
The United States and Israel continue to insist the al-Assad regime is behind chemical attacks inside Syria.
“Following a deliberative review, our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year,” Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said in a written statement last month. “The use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades.”
In June, Obama said that the deployment of chemical weapons by the Syrian government had crossed a “red line” and prompted him to provide direct military aid to the CIA’s mercenaries operating in the country.
Russia has dismissed a report produced by the United States and used by Obama to declare a “red line” in Syria as a fabrication. “Information about the usage of chemical weapons by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is fabricated in the same way as the lie about [Saddam] Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq],” Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, said on Twitter in June, according to RIA Novosti.
In April, Israel’s senior military intelligence analyst said that his country found evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons repeatedly, although it did not provide conclusive evidence.