Syria: Chemical Weapons Attack killing 1200 Unconfirmed
Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) ,- Details remain sketchy after reports emerged about an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus, that reportedly has cost dozens, according to some reports hundreds or more than 1.100 lives.
An emergency session of the UN Security Council has been called. The reports may be false and intentionally disseminated on the day of the arrival of the UN chemical weapons commission in Damascus.
Earlier today, reports emerged, posted by Al-Arabiya on Twitter, that 280 people had been killed in a chemical weapons attack near Damascus. Later on, Al-Arabiya issued an updated report, quoting the Free Syrian Army, stating that 1.188 had been killed in the attack.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a considerably lower figure but claimed that dozens of people had been killed, including children. News agencies, including Reuters reported that hundreds had fallen victim to the chemical weapons attack but stated, that the report could not be independently verified. Exact details remain sketchy at the present time.
The spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Alexander Lukashevick rejected the claims about the attack but stated, that it may have been a long-planned and expected act. An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council has been called for Wednesday at 19.00 o´clock.
An official spokesperson of the Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Mininistry rejected the reports about a chemical weapons attack, saying that
“The cooperation agreement between Syria and the international committee for the investigation into the use of weapons of mass destruction in some areas of Syria did not please the terrorists and that the countries which are supporting them, which is why they came up with new false allegations that the armed forces had used toxic gas in the Damascus countryside”.
The spokesperson continued, saying that the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry affirms that these allegations are false and untrue, and that the Ministry would like to point out that Syria has repeatedly announced that it will never use any weapons of mass destruction against its own people, if such weapons exist. He stressed, that:
“These lies and allegations have become well-known to the Syrian government and people. These allegations constitute an attempt to prevent the international investigation committee from carrying out its task and to influence the committees report”.
A correspondent for the Russian TV channel RT Arabic succeeded in contacting local residents in the area of the alleged chemical weapons attack. RT reports, that the locals replied to the correspondent, that they have not witnessed any “poisonous attack” in the area, but that they could hear gunfire.
The EU Foreign Policy Spokesperson, Catherine Ashton has called for a thorough and immediate investigation into the alleged attack, saying:
“We have seen with grave concern the reports of the possible use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. Such accusations should be immediately and thoroughly investigated. The EU reiterates that any use of chemical weapons, by any side in Syria, would be totally unacceptable.”
The news about the chemical weapons attack emerged on Al-Arabiya on the day when UN Inspectors arrive in Damascus to examine suspected chemical weapons use in Syria and in particular the use of chemical weapons in the Khan al-Assal district of Aleppo. The Swedish expert scientist for the UN, Ake Sellstrom, who arrived in Damascus, stated to the TT news agency, that while he had seen TV footage, the large number of casualties, which is being reported sounds suspicious. Sellstrom said:
“It sounds like something that should be looked into. It will depend on whether any UN member state goes to the secretary-general and says we should look at this event. We are in place.”
Several videos, showing the attack, mourning relatives as well as apparently killed or injured victims of the attack have begun emerging on YouTube and other social media. The “Opposition” is handing out photos to the media. While the videos look dramatic, it can as well be an enactment, such as it has been seen during the NATO attack on the Libyan capital Tripoli, when footage was broadcast, which was apparently showing “rebels” celebrating on Tripoli´s Green Square. It was subsequently discovered that the footage had been prerecorded in Doha, Qatar, with the participation of actors and Qatari soldiers posing as “rebels”. nsnbc international will follow-up on the reports on 22 August as more verifiable details emerge.
On 7 July, nsnbc international published a report based on information from a reliable intelligence source, forecasting, that a major political and military attack on Syria would include real or alleged, large scale chemical weapons attacks to justify renewed calls for humanitarian corridors, a no-fly-zone and eventually, a military intervention.
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