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Syrian Government Accused of Chemical Attack

Syrian Government Accused of Chemical Attack

Reports are coming out of Syria today that the government may have launched a chemical attack outside Damascus; as is common in these situations, the reports are murky and the Syrian government has, not surprisingly, denied the accusation.

From the Washington Post:

Syrian activists accused the government Wednesday of launching a massive chemical weapons attack that killed scores of people in the Damascus suburbs and left makeshift hospitals packed with victims gasping for breath.

The death toll from the alleged attack — which the government strongly denied — varied vastly. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 100 people were confirmed killed, but that the number was likely to rise, while the Syrian Opposition Coalition claimed that at least 1,300 died. The opposition Damascus Media Office also put the toll at more than 1,000.

A disturbing video purporting to show some of the victims has been circulating online and has been shown on several news outlets, though there has not yet been verification as to the video’s authenticity. (Note, Washington Post includes the following disclaimer with the video: DISCLAIMER: This video contains disturbing content. It was not immediately possible to confirm whether the people depicted in the video were in fact exposed to chemical weapons).

Another video, also posted at the Washington Post in a separate article, paints an equally disturbing picture of what’s occurring in Syria.

The video, allegedly taken just a few hours after the chemical weapons incident, shows a health worker attempting to comfort a young girl who’d purportedly survived the attack and is clearly in hysterics. It’s not clear whether her behavior is a result of chemical exposure, as some speculate, or of simple terror. She says only, over and over, “I’m alive, I’m alive.”

There’s no blood or death here; this girl’s experience does not reveal the extent of Tuesday’s loss of life or necessarily show us the symptoms of chemical weapons exposure. What it does show is an experience much more common in Syria, of surviving. For all the people who are killing and dying in the country, it’s easy to forget that most Syrians are doing neither but, like both the little girl and the health worker in this video, trying to endure the suffering around them.

A White House spokesman said the United States is “deeply concerned” about the reports of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, according to CBS News.  President Obama has previously said that use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line,” though it’s unclear what the administration would propose as consequences.

The United Nations convened an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the allegations of attacks, and are urging for investigators to be dispatched to the location of today’s reports.


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Exactly what can the U.S. do and why are we concerned?

Henry Hawkins | August 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm

It may be significant that Obama’s clumsy, failed ‘red line’ bluff was uttered exactly one year ago. Also, UN inspectors are already in Syria investigating previous alleged gas attacks, but are not allowed out of those areas and into the new attack zone.

    We know that the U.S. Mideast policy is a disaster under this administration. This is just the latest example and we can expect the bloviating from McCain and his buddy any time now.

    Carol Herman in reply to Henry Hawkins. | August 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    The russians sit in the UN. Including on the Security Council. Doubt very much the UN can maneuver against Syria, without Russia pouncing with its clout.

I could just as easily believe the ‘rebels’ are doing the dirty stuff being they are AlQueda and Muslim Brotherhood sorts from all over the Islamic world.

Also videos claiming anything by Muslims are not necessarily true, as we have learned.

    TugboatPhil in reply to Uncle Samuel. | August 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you. We have seen over the last couple of decades that Muslims killing mass quantities of other Muslims is not that rare of an occurrence. Doing so to make propaganda video is even more of a motivator for some of them.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Uncle Samuel. | August 22, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Plus, AQ has been known to experiment with poisons. So, it is possible that AQ has perfected it’s chemical warfare and tested it out in Syria to give Obama a pretext to move on Syria. Well, he had the Christopher Stevens gun running to the “rebels” in Syria, and they include AQ. So, why wouldn’t AQ, knowing of Obama’s much vaunted red line, help him out by giving him a reason to do, especially since his allied in Egypt have lost power?

Obama has promised there will be no American boots on the ground. But, in Jordan, the American general, dempsey, is inside an American built bunker. And, dempsey controls 3000 crack Jordanian troops. Today, 700 of them were sent repelling into Syrian space.

America wants to set up a “zone” in the south of Syria, with it’s own capitol in Da-ha-ra-ra (sp?) … And, in retaliation Assad sent poisoned gas into this area. Did it also kill any of the Jordanian troops? Or will that be a big secret?

It’s good to know that Assad did not fire missiles into Israel. (Which is what the IDF has been very concerned over.)

The “idea” the Americans have includes carving off a piece of the Golan.

You’ll also notice Nasrallah did not send rockets into Israel.

So, the fighting between the two sides … Where obama is supposedly aiming for a no-fly zone … Now has dead rebels, and their civilian supporters attracting lots of flies.

If it doesn’t end well for Dempsey? Will anyone know?

You have faith in these plans? Dempsey’s a jerk.

The jordanian kingdom is ruled by “the” hashimite king. And, of course, Obama’s reached out to him. With money. So the American mlitary can train the 3000 Jordanian “crack” troops. Who’ve been put under General Dempsey’s command.

Today, was the first day of engagement.

Assad may have used chemical weapons. But it really is obama’s ladle stirring the pot.

And, there’s no love lost between Assad and the short hashimite king.

What will be the real fallout?

Around 1972 Assad’s dad was sending in tanks into Jordan, when Israel intervened. And, cut off the rout from happening.

The hashimite kingdom is an off-shoot of the Saud’s. But the hashimite king is a “poor relative.”

Maybe, he’s now in over his eyeballs?

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Carol Herman. | August 22, 2013 at 1:18 am

    Crack troops? Is there an Arab nation with crack troops? They don’t care for their weapons and equipment and run or surrender when the fight gets rough. That’s why they choose terrorism so they can blend into the population and don’t have to face the fire when things get too hot

      myiq2xu in reply to Juba Doobai!. | August 22, 2013 at 5:52 am

      It’s the old Roman method. The army controls the populace. The Praetorian Guard (aka “crack troops”) control the army. The guy on top just worries about controlling his crack troops.

      Hitler had the SS, Saddam Hussein had the Republican Guard.

My initial thoughts are: Welcome to Pallywood

If there were actuals chemicals used, look first for the rebels having used them to kill civilians. If you’re good with using civilians (women and children) as shields, gassing them for propaganda is a small step. Guess they ran out of Kurds to kill once the death toll of their ethnic cleansing hit the hundreds.

No worries though, the administration will continue their stellar foreign policy of arming our al-qaeda buddies.

I’m not sure I understand the moral principle here.

Killing people with guns and bombs is okay, but killing them with poison gas is reprehensible?

the videos look to be consistent with a G series nerve agent attack. A few different countries inspectors have confirmed the use of Sarin gas in past attacks so it’s likely the agent here as well.

the videos are disturbing but don’t do justice to the real thing

La Monde has some good articles if you read french. The Guardian also has some good articles about the past use of chemical weapons.

    myiq2xu in reply to aerily. | August 22, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Consistent in what way? What is a “G Series nerve agent”? (I know, do you?)

    What are the symptoms of nerve agent poisoning?

It is propaganda! We no longer have investigative journalists. And, Obama? Ask him what General Dempsey is doing in the underground bunker in Jordan. Why are we there?

At least at the UN both Russia and China are the adults in the room.

That the rebels were able to photograph the action, and get it into the news cycle probably means it’s a rebel plan from the get-go.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 22, 2013 at 5:38 am

Those dead & injured look very composed. I hope I do not get chemically attacked because I am 100% certain I would have no nose , have scratched my eyes out & have completely distorted limbs & be covered in lesions.

I call bullshit.

BannedbytheGuardian | August 22, 2013 at 5:41 am

I am trying to muster up a frown.


The evidence I have seen does not show the kind of devastation that Sarin would really cause. If Assad is using chemical weapons he’s got some pretty weak-ass stuff.

I would expect to see whole villages and neighborhoods wiped out – everything and everybody dead, including adults, children, dogs, cats, birds, rats and cockroaches.

Anyone not wearing protective gear who entered the contaminated area to do first aid or retrieve bodies would also die. And the bodies would be a mess.

Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms.

The American General Dempsey, is in a bunker in Jordan. America trained 3000 Jordanian troops … Because Obama has said “No American Boots On The Ground.”

You’re still looking at an ACT OF WAR, folks.

Done in Secret. (Remember Pearl Harbor?) Then, FDR went to Congress and said December 7, 1941 will be remembered as a Day of Infamy.

Now, we’re involved with trying to topple ASSAD. And, if not topple him, then “carve out” a southern zone in Syria, where the rebels will call it “their Syria.” And, they’ll have the southern Syrian town of Daraaaa (sp?) labeled Syria’s new capitol.

Of course you have no trouble with that.

While the BODIES are all MALE of that certain age that they could be some of General Dempsey’s trained troops.

What’s interesting is that Assad did not attack Israel. While, yes, some rocket fire came out of South Lebanon. But the rockets were either shot down by the Iron Dome. Or, they landed outside of Israel, in “no-man’s land.”

How long will it take for the truth to emerge? Dunno.

Why did Assad (presumably) attack with Sarin? Well, it’s effective. Took out what General Dempsey put in.

Secret wars are still wars. Back during Vietnam it was trips into Cambodia that were never acknowledged.

Russia and China stopped the USA, France, and a few others from creating any stink in the UN.

Doesn’t look like Day One of General Dempsey’s adventure was much of a success, either.