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Saudi black op team behind Damascus chem weapons attack – diplomatic sources

Published time: October 04, 2013 13:14
Edited time: October 06, 2013 18:05

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs August 21, 2013 (Reuters/Ammar Dar)

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The August chemical weapons attack in the Syrian capital’s suburbs was done by a Saudi Arabian black operations team, Russian diplomatic sources have told a Russian news agency.

“Based on data from a number of sources a picture can be pieced together. The criminal provocation in Eastern Ghouta was done by a black op team that the Saudi’s sent through Jordan and which acted with support of the Liwa Al-Islam group,” a source in the diplomatic circles told Interfax.

The attack and its consequences had a huge impact on the Syrian situation, another source said.

“Syrians of various political views, including some opposition fighters, are seeking to inform diplomats and members of international organizations working in Syria what they know about the crime and the forces which inspired it,” he told the agency.

Liwa Al-Islam is an Islamist armed group operating near Damascus headed by the son of a Saudi-based Salafi cleric. The group claimed responsibility for the bombing of a secret governmental meeting in Damascus in July 2012 that killed a number of top Syrian officials, including Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha, his deputy Asef Shawkat, and Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani.

The allegations mirror a number of earlier reports, which pointed to Saudi Arabia as the mastermind behind the sarin gas attack, which almost led to US military action against Syrian government. Proponents of this scenario say intelligence services in Riyadh needed a false flag operation to provoke an American attack in Syria, which would tip the balance in favor of the armed opposition supported by Saudi Arabia.

While the majority of Western countries say they are certain that the Syrian government carries the blame for the attack, Damascus maintains that the rebel forces must be behind it. Russia shares this conviction too, calling the incident a provocation.

United Nations vehicles are seen leaving the hotel in Damascus (AFP Photo / Louai Beshara)

Back in March US President Barack Obama said the use of chemical weapons would be a ‘red line’ for the Syrian government, crossing which would prompt America’s intervention into the bloody Syrian conflict. After the August attack, which the US believes has claimed some 1,400 lives, the president was called on his words by many supporters of the Syrian opposition both at home and outside of the US.

Earlier a UN report concluded that nerve gas had indeed been used “on a large scale” in August. However, the consistency of the findings is under question.

According to the report, none of the environmental samples the UN collected in Western Ghouta tested positive for Sarin, while biomedical samples, taken from affected people, all tested positive.

RT’s Worlds Apart host Oksana Boyko has spoken to Angela Kane, UN high representative for disarmament affairs, who has just returned from Damascus.

“If you read the report, the report comes out and says sarin was used. It is also a matter that maybe in the environmental samples they took there was no sarin found, but that does not mean that sarin was not used,” Kane told Worlds Apart. “It was there in the human samples. If they had more time to go around they would have found different samples. It was a limited collection that they did, but the collection was conclusive. I think, it was very comprehensive, therefore, we shared all of those samples with the Syrian government.”

At the same time, there have been concerns voiced that witnesses the UN team spoke to were brought by the opposition from different regions and did not live in Western Ghouta.

“I think it is not possible to say ‘We brought them all from a different area.’ To my mind that is inconceivable. You can come up with the theory, but this does not mean the theory is correct,” Kane said. 

When asked if the UN team had requested examining dead bodies to take more samples, Kane said they had not, because “there was no need to exhume dead bodies” as victims’ accounts “are much more powerful.”

“Dead body can’t tell you anything. The dead body can’t tell how the person dies, how the person was affected, how the person suffered. A living person can tell you that,”  Kane said.

After the UN team left Syria on Monday, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) experts arrived in the country. They are currently making preparations for the disarmament.

The OPCW team will start conducting tests on October 7.

Comments (83)


READ MORE 23.10.2013 16:36

Hamish Cameron 06.10.2013 00:58

Koran says "NO COMPULSION IN RELIGOIN" as for the Koran ordering killing disbelievers, a closer look shows it was a situation specific commandment against the disbelievers in Arabia at the time of the prophet, and Koran doesn't ask people to follow hadith written 300 years after prophet's death for political gain.


Mr. Cameron, I agree with your comments except for this one, as it represents a selective Quranic reading. It also says that one should kill the infidels, AKA nonbelievers. One can readily see this put to action throughout Islamic history.


READ MORE 23.10.2013 16:33

[quote name='hawaiiguy' time='07.10.2013 06:42']Sad that everyone in the US thinks different, they are such gullible idiots. Its going to be so easy to destroy them when everyone decides its time to rid the thief's of their kingdom. Hopefully the Native Americans get the land back after whitey gets his due for his transgressions.[/quo te]

When "whitey gets his due", the Native Americans will, too. You live in the same country, and most Native Americans are part white anyway. Most Americans can't tell the difference between Mexicans and Natives. So please, drop the hate, it does no good.


READ MORE 23.10.2013 16:30

[quote name='Mark Richards' time='07.10.2013 11:49']“Dead body can’t tell you anything. The dead body can’t tell how the person dies, how the person was affected, how the person suffered. A living person can tell you that,” Kane said.

A statement that reveals such ignorance, Kane should be sacked. Knowing nothing about the science of pathology, she blunders her way to a conclusion.

Action based upon ignorance amounts to incompetence.
[/ quote]

Exac tly. Forensic pathology can detect the prescence of sarin and its metabolites. Organophosphates cause massive dehydration and loss of motor function.

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