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U.N. Chemical Weapons Report on Syria Released — Surface-to-surface rockets fired from multiple-rocket launchers

U.N. Chemical Weapons Report on Syria Released — Surface-to-surface rockets fired from multiple-rocket launchers

Chemicals delivered using surface-to-surface rockets over wide area in several locations.

The U.N. has released its report on the use of chemical weapons in Syria. (Full copy embedded at bottom of post.)

(analysis to follow)

Excerpts (emphasis added)

Note by the Secretary-General

1.In transmitting simultaneously to the Security Council and the General Assembly the report on the incident which took place on 21 August 2013 in the Ghouta area of Damascus (see annex), the Secretary-General expresses his profound shock and regret at the conclusion that chemical weapons were used on a relatively large scale, resulting in numerous casualties, particularly among civilians and including many children. The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons and believes that this act is a war crime and grave violation of the 1925 Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare and other relevant rules of customary international law. The international community has a moral responsibility to hold accountable those responsible and for ensuring that chemical weapons can never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.

A key Conclusion was that the chemicals were delivered by surface-to-surface rockets over a wide area and in several locations:

28. In particular, the environmental, chemical and medical samples we have collected provide clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent Sarin were used in Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zamalka in the Ghouta area of

29. The facts supporting this conclusion are:

• Impacted and exploded surface-to-surface rockets, capable to carry a chemical payload, were found to contain Sarin.
• Close to the rocket impact sites, in the area where patients were affected, the environment was found to be contaminated by Sarin.
• Over fifty interviews given by survivors and health care workers provided ample corroboration of the medical and scientific results.
• A number of patients/survivors were clearly diagnosed as intoxicated by an organophosphorous compound.
• Blood and urine samples from the same patients were found positive for Sarin and Sarin signatures.

This delivery method points to the Assad regime, although the U.N. investigation did not encompass assigning blame.

From Appendix 5, an image of one of the rockets:

UN Syria Chemical Weapons Report - Image of Munition

Appendix 5 identifies the rocket in Impact Site No. 1 as an M14 type, likely fired from a multiple rocket launcher:

The munition linked to this impact site, by observed and measured characteristics, indicatively matches one of the variants of the M l4 artillery rocket, with either an original or an improvised warhead (not observed at the impact site)…. Impact Site Number 2 is located 65 meters away from number 1 and with an azimuth of 214 degrees. Both relative positions are fully congruent with the dispersion pattern commonly associated with rockets launched from a single, multi-barrel, launcher.

At Impact Site No. 4 the rocket was identified as a 330 mm artillery rocket:

The munition related to this impact site by observed and measured characteristics indicatively matches a 330 rom caliber, artillery rocket. The projectile, in the last stage of its trajectory, hit the surfac~e in an area of earthy, relatively soft, ground where the shaft/engine of the projectile
remained dug in, undisturbed until investigated. The said shaft/engine, presenting no form of lateral bending, pointed precisely in a bearing of
285 degrees that, again, represent a reverse azimuth to the trajectory followed by the rocket during its flight. It can be, thus, concluded that the original azimuth of the rocket trajectory had an azimuth of 105 degrees, in an East/Southeast trajectory.

These findings are consistent with prior photo analysis and the findings of Human Rights Watch.

(Added) The types of munitions used to deliver chemical weapons are known only to be used by the Syrian Army, as this private analysis argues:

In the 18 months I’ve been studying the arms and munitions in the conflict I have never seen either type of munition used by the opposition. The opposition has rocket artillery, for example the 107mm Type-63 multiple rocket launcher and the Croatian 128mm RAK-12, but I’ve never seen any sign of the 140mm systems (such as the BM-14) that would be used to launch the M14 artillery rocket.  

The Report presented its clinical findings:
UN Syria Chemical Weapons Report - Chart Clinical Assessments UN Syria Chemical Weapons Report - Bar Chart Plasma Results

UN Report Syria Chemical Weapons – September 16 2013

Update 9-18-2013: There are claims flying that this all is a set-up and conspiracy by the rebels, and that the U.N. wants a war so it phonied-up the report. Really. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be skeptical, but this is beginning to sound like the collapse of the towers theories. Meanwhile, The NY Times reports that the trajectories in the report point to a Syrian military installation (ahah! that must be even more proof of the conspiracy):

When taken together, the azimuths drawn from different neighborhoods lead back to and intersect at Mount Qasioun — so far an impregnable seat of Mr. Assad’s power — according to independent and separate calculations by both The New York Times and Human Rights Watch.

“Connecting the dots provided by these numbers allows us to see for ourselves where the rockets were likely launched from and who was responsible,” Josh Lyons, a satellite imagery analyst for Human Rights Watch, noted in a statement on Tuesday.

“This isn’t conclusive,” Mr. Lyons added. “But it is highly suggestive.”

The map that Mr. Lyons and Human Rights Watch prepared, and a similar map made by The Times with no consultation or exchange of information, suggested that gas-filled rockets, which sailed over central Damascus and landed in civilian neighborhoods, originated “from the direction of the Republican Guard 104th Brigade,” which occupies a large base on the mountain’s western side.

Depending on the degree of accuracy in the measurements, the flight path for at least one of the rockets could also be read to lead back to the government’s sprawling air base at Mezzeh, near the foot of Mount Qasioun.


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Sharp letter to follow.

That they highlighted the pertinent photo details in red lines is hilarious.

I say close off the country and let them work it out. Both sides have proven themselves to be savages and animals. They have no place in the civilized world and should be left to the hellhole of their own creation.

And don’t tell me about innocent women and children. The children will grow up to be more of the same, and the women are raising them that way.

If terrorists have anti-aircraft missiles, they could also have surface-to-surface. Who knows what Obama and his CIA anti-Semite have been giving them.

PersonFromPorlock | September 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I suppose the CIA could be producing faked Russian munitions with Cyrillic lettering on them, but the simpler theory is that the Russians supplied the real thing to someone. So, why not ask them?

    There are quite historic reasons for Syria to be within the Russian orbit.

    Language and culture being among them. The Cyrillic alphabet is used in the Kurdish language as well as many Turkic languages. Anyone who manufacturers arms intended for the former Eastern block, or their client states will use Cyrillic.

Propaganda. And, lies. Done by the saudi rebels. Assad’s in a winning position. He had no need to do this. But the saud’s had the motivation. And, the money. And, the lunatic jihadists on the ground.

Hope America steers clear of this.

Assad is, in fact, the leader of Syria. And, if you have to see failure writ large, just look at Libya without Gaddafi.

McCain is coming off as an idiot. And, Kerry finds himself on the slippery slope … just like he did when he used Nam. Man is ALL FRAUD and bogus.

Yes, Obama was trying to set Kerry up to challenge (at least Hillary), for the dems 2016 nomination.

And, on the dem’s side it seems their top Clinton money man, Terry MacAuliffe is set to become governor of Virginia.

And, Chris Christie wants the republican nomination in 2016.

Can’t say politics, as bad as it is now on BOTH sides … does get interesting.

Preponderance of circumstantial evidence, but does it justify a declaration of war? Also, do we know what arms were lost in Libya after we deposed the Gaddafi regime? They still have to identify the chemical(s) used. Classifying symptoms as caused by an organophosphorous substance does little to narrow the focus. They are on the right track, but any response now should be commensurate to the available evidence, which would require controlling each and every party with a motive and means to carry out the attack. This is especially true if our motivations are humanitarian interests.

Let’s not kid ourselves. This is pretty clear evidence that points towards Syrian state action. Sure, in tinfoil hat land anything is possible, but the issue is more about what is probable.

The absurdity of it all is the Obama response to this report. Given the events of last week they now want it all to go away. They don’t want the UN prattling on about war crimes – now that they’ve guaranteed Assad will not face any tribunal.

So much for preventing humanitarian crises.

Also, imaging if Obama had continued on with his threats, gone to Congress and been turned down. Think about how they’d be using this report as a propaganda tool to bash ‘obstructionist,’ ‘isolationist,’ Republicans.

My only question is: what did the White House know about the specific contents of this report last week?

Had they waited until after the report to finalize their approach would the outcome have been the same? Would Obama have been brave enough to sign papers in the face of a UN declared ‘war crime?’

Maybe it was Putin who had the inside skinny on the report and knew that last week was his only open window for keeping Assad in power.

    Only one problem with your assertion, the Rebels have captured and have used Syrian Army equipment and munitions against the Syrians. The use of the Syrian equipment and munitions in the chemical attack doesn’t exclude al Nursa, it only includes both the Syrian Army and al Nursa.

    al Nursa has stated that Allah gave them permission to use chemical weapons. When a terrorist group is nuts enough to publicly state God said to use such weapons the claim of tin foil hat theories to exclude al Nursa is also negated. Not to mention it puts them on the most probable list of perps to use such weapons.

    Remember, al Nursa has already publicly demonstrated their complete disregard for any rules of civilized warfare by shooting prisoners and gassing a hospital.

      William A. Jacobson in reply to dscott. | September 16, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      I think you need to read the analysis by the UN of trajectories and angles of impact. These were fired from far away. So you would have to believe that the rebels fired multi-rocket launchers from a distance at themselves.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to William A. Jacobson. | September 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

        Or, one could assume one group of rebels fired at a separate group of rebels – they do not get along, after all, each with an eye on postwar rule – thereby killing two birds with one stone: making Assad look like the bad guy and killing those damned other rebels who think THEY will rule Syria once he’s gone.

        One can’t reliably read more into evidence than is there, and this UN report does not prove who fired the chemical weapon tipped rockets, only what, from where, to where. It may be a western conceit to find it unlikely that allies would kill each other just to run a false flag operation. Unfortunately, any putative false flag op didn’t count on Obama being too chicken to back up his own red line. If he had, and had truly hurt Assad’s war effort, such a false flag op would look like genius.

        It doesn’t establish a one-to-one relationship, but it is physical evidence which merits further investigation. The UN should be permitted to complete its investigation and determine which of the parties is responsible.

Looking ahead to budget and Obamacare battles, it is my most fervent wish that the GOP leadership has noticed what happens when you call an Obama bluff. Well, of course they’ve noticed. My wish is they might actually, you know, fight and stuff.

That the U.N. report did not (could not) assign blame speaks volumes.

    Actually, yes. A proper report should be long on facts and short on conclusions and theories. Munition P with serial number U found in location T with indications of trajectory I and chemical residue N corresponds with approximatly D muntions of the same type with trajectory I…

    I wonder if any of those serial numbers can be tracked back to Saddam, from his original Fast and Furious – Chemical Ali Version.

    DriveBy in reply to janitor. | September 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Would not!

BannedbytheGuardian | September 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I like the ‘ private analyses’ ‘ . Formerly known as a blog.

I read it & it is no better than LI. The number of persons claiming to be Rocket Scientists in any generation is static but there has been a spike in experts of the new zing Suburbs of Damascus.

It was like I used to win Trivia because I alone knew the capital if Libya amongst my dumb friends. Then it got bombed after Lockerbie & everyone could answer it & I lost my sole advantage.

Now all the questions are about celebrities & movies & I cama last. Once I received a last prize of a dinner voucher.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to BannedbytheGuardian. | September 16, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    When I redeemed my voucher I chose nachos. The waitress returned & said the cook was out but she had watched & could do one . Ok I thought what could go wrong with stupid nachos.?

    Wrong . It looked like a bomb had hit it & I opted out.

    The lesson is -Loosers are Loosers . No way around it.

According to this article, chemicals can easily be sprayed from remote controlled toy airplanes. This is just one report but it’s believable. Sorry to say, I wouldn’t believe a word from anyone at the UN. If the US has an actual daily threat it’s that it shares a 2000 mile border with Mexico. 70,000 people have been killed in Mexico since 2006. Syria is just another means to impoverish Americans and empower radical Islam. That’s the US national interest now as has been made quite clear by those in charge of this country.

6/2/2013, “Iraq claims foiling al-Qaeda nerve-gas plot,” Al Jazeera

“Ministry says cell working for group planned attacks with remote-controlled planes in Iraq, Europe and North America.”
“Iraq’s defence ministry has said that it has intercepted an al-Qaeda cell working to produce poisonous gas for attacks within the country as well as in Europe and North America.

The group of five men built two facilities in Baghdad to produce sarin and mustard gas, using instructions from another al-Qaeda group, spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said on Saturday.

The members of the cell were preparing to launch attacks domestically, and also had a network to smuggle the toxins to neighbouring countries and to Europe, Canada and the US, Askari said.

He said that the men were planning to spray chemical weapons during the Shia commemoration of the death of Imam Kadhum at a shrine later this week, by using remote controlled toy aeroplanes.

He added that the arrest of the cell members was possible because of cooperation between Iraqi and foreign intelligence services.

In neighbouring Syria, rebel fighters and government forces have accused each other of using nerve gas during the two-year long civil war.

Iraq and Syria share a 600km border, and officials have warned that al-Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad and the Shia-led government in Baghdad have set up camp in Iraq’s western desert region.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaeda’s backed group, is still active in the country, launching regular attacks on government and civilian targets.

So far, the group has largely refrained from waging violence outside Iraq, but earlier this year it publicly said it was linked to Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra, a rebel group fighting the Assad regime.” Captions for 2 photos in article:

1. “A ministry spokesman said the suspects used two facilities in Baghdad to produce sarin and mustard gas [Reuters]
2. “The suspected al-Qaeda members were producing sarin nerve gas, Iraq’s defence ministry claimed [Reuters]”

Spengler said Mexico would be Syria except that it was able to move its rural poor, fully one fifth its population, to the US.

    Exactly. The priority should be Mexico. Not only are people dying by the tens of thousands, several thousand by the arms our federal government provided to the Sinaloa drug cartel, but around one million annually enter this nation illegally (i.e. unmeasured and unmonitored), displacing Americans and legal immigrants at work, school, medical services, voting booths, and throughout society. The imminent threat to America and her citizens is posed by an invasion of illegal aliens, principally over our southern border. And unlike in the 80s, it’s not several million, but tens of millions.

    That said, Obama should probably finish his work in Libya. Bengazi was only a warning shot by former allies. It should serve as a precedent and dissuade us from deputizing the “rebels” in Syria. Besides, the diverse arms in Gaddafi’s armory are loose, and are likely in the hands of rebels and terrorists alike.

Here are the people Obama will be arming with his new waiver regarding terrorists in Syria:

WARNING: Do not watch this video unless you are willing to face the reality of the kind of barbarians we are dealing with when we deal with the Muslim Middle East. According to author Rick Wells at The Free Patriot, the monsters amusing themselves with the dismembered corpses of children as they shout “Allahu Akhbar” are members of the Syrian opposition on whose behalf Obama and his sidekick John McCain were on the verge of dragging us into war until Vladimir Putin stepped in:

Pardon me for not reflexively genuflecting at the call for military strikes in Syria when Obama blew the dog whistle.

Does anyone honestly believe the terrorists, aka, rebels are not capable of gassing people? Watch the video if you do and then tell me afterwards if you haven’t changed your mind.

So what do we concerning this incident so far?

Well, we have a release of Sarin gas in an area controlled by rebel forces. We have suspected delivery system consisting of M14 unguided artillery rockets. The rockets are consistent with those reportedly in the possession of the Syrian Army. We have two that were recovered in such a state as to allow for establishing a reverse trajectory which would allow for the establishment of a relatively small launch area. So the question now is who was in that launch area at the time of the initial attack?

Interestingly enough, the UN reports does not mention that information at all. Was it units of the Syrian Army which were equipped with such ordinance? Was it rebel forces? Answer that question and you can pretty much establish responsibility. It is interesting that no such information was provided by the UN report nor was any reason given for the lack of such information. Interesting.