World View: Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Steps Up Use of Chemical Weapons on His Own People

  • Syria’s Bashar al-Assad steps up use of chemical weapons on his own people
  • UN Security Council is worthless as Syria uses chemical weapons with impunity

Syria’s Bashar al-Assad steps up use of chemical weapons on his own people

A poison hazard danger sign in the town of Khan Shaykun, Idlib province, Syria (picture-alliance/AA/A. Dagul)
A poison hazard danger sign in the town of Khan Shaykun, Idlib province, Syria (picture-alliance/AA/A. Dagul)

Rescue workers are reporting that warplanes from the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and from his ally Russia have stepped up bombing attacks on civilians in densely populated neighborhoods in Eastern Ghouta and Idlib, and the use of chlorine gas has been stepped up. At least 29 people were killed.

Typically, chlorine gas is delivered through the use of barrel bombs. The barrel bombs are filled with metal and chlorine gas in order to kill as many people as possible.

Al-Assad has used Sarin gas in the past to kill dozens or hundreds of people at a time. As a chemical weapon, chlorine gas does not immediately kill as many people as Sarin, but it is used in a different way: when warplanes start bombing women and children, particularly hiding in basements of buildings. Since chlorine gas is heavier than air, it seeps down into the basements and forces the choking women and children out into the open, where they can be targeted by missiles and gunfire.

As I have written many times in the past, Bashar al-Assad is the worst genocidal monster so far this century. The Syrian war began in 2011 when al-Assad ordered his army and air force to attack peacefully protesting civilians, including women and children. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. He dropped barrel bombs laden with metal, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous, and chemical weapons onto innocent Sunni women and children. He has targeted bombs on schools and hospitals and he has used Sarin gas to kill large groups of people. Shia/Alawite al-Assad considers almost all Sunni Muslims to be cockroaches to be exterminated. AP and Reuters and Deutsche Welle

UN Security Council is worthless as Syria uses chemical weapons with impunity

At the United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday, U.S. Ambassador Nicki Haley condemned Russia for blocking investigations into the use of chemical weapons in Syria:

The news out of Syria this morning is following a troubling pattern. Victims of what appears to be chlorine gas are pouring into hospitals.

Under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Security Council Resolution 2118, the Assad regime’s obligations are clear: It must immediately stop using all chemical weapons. We spent much of last year in this council watching one country protect the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons by refusing to hold them responsible.

The reason that Russia is using its veto to block investigations of chemical weapons attacks in Syria is because Russia knows that Syria is using the chemical weapons to target innocent civilians. Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal, but Russia’s president Vladimir Putin is also a war criminal, and there is honor among thieves or, in this case, honor among war criminals.

The Russians do not want to make the same disastrous mistake they made in 2013, after al-Assad’s Sarin gas attack, killing hundreds of civilians. Russia allowed an investigation to go ahead, but they were too clever by half by allowing the investigation to go forward, but the investigators were forbidden from assigning blame. So A U.N. chemical weapons team was authorized to investigate the incident. However, thanks to a threatened Russian veto, the U.N. team was forbidden from assigning blame for the Sarin attack. But the team found a clever way of assigning blame without having to say it. In their scientific analysis of the evidence, they included calculations of the trajectories of the rockets that delivered the Sarin gas. They drew no conclusions about where the rockets were launched, but they provided enough scientific information within the report so that experts studying the report could analyze the trajectories to prove that the rockets must have been launched from a Syrian Republican Guard unit.

There have been several investigations of the 2013 Sarin gas attack, and there are thousands of pieces of evidence that al-Assad used Sarin gas on ordinary civilians, including forensic collections and analyses, photos, videos, eyewitness testimony, doctors’ testimony, the UNSC report, analyses of the UNSC report, and so forth, proving al-Assad’s repeated use of chemical weapons, including Sarin gas and chlorine gas.

As if that were not enough, there was a new report last week that a new investigation used laboratory tests to prove that the Sarin gas used in the 2013 attack was identical to the Sarin gas that al-Assad turned over to investigators in 2013 when he agreed to permanently eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program. The new tests prove, once again, that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the 2013 Sarin gas attack, though that hasn’t been in doubt for years.

After the attack, al-Assad did not admit he was responsible but agreed to a destroy a 1,300 metric ton stockpile of chemicals related to the 2013 attack. Few people believed that al-Assad followed through on his promise, and laboratory tests since then proved that he did not.

I have been around for a few decades, and I keep asking myself, how could all this be happening? We have al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons with impunity, we have Russia invading and annexing Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, we have China building illegal large military bases in the South China Sea with the obvious intention soon of controlling all access to the South China Sea, and we have China building multiple large nuclear missile systems whose only purpose is to attack the United States in a preemptive attack. At the same time, we have a political clown circus going on in Washington, and an equally idiotic Brexit circus going on in London.

I know that Generational Dynamics has predicted all along that this sort of thing was going to happen, but I still react in amazement every day how the world has completely lost all common sense and is pushing itself off the edge of a cliff, guided by sheer insanity. It is astonishing. How could all this be happening? Politico and Reuters (30-Jan)

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Sarin gas, chlorine gas, Idlib, Eastern Ghouta, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Nicki Haley, Crimea, China, South China Sea
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