Claims by the opposition in Syria about the recent “chemical massacre” that took place on August 21 brings to mind suspicions about a false flag operation that is aimed to set the stage for a foreign military intervention while diverting the attention of the UN chemical weapons inspectors away from the opposition forces.
An opposition group called “Syrian Revolution General Council” claimed that 430 people were killed as a result of the chemical weapons attack on August 21 in Guta, a district east of the Syrian capital, Damascus. Media organizations run by the opposition immediately released images from the alleged attack coupled with claims of the use of Sarin agent by the Syrian Arab Army.
Main target: To derail the UN Inspection on earlier suspected chemical attacks
The opposition has more than once accused the Syrian government of committing massacres, all based on unfounded claims and dubious reports. In this recent incident, if there has in fact been a chemical weapons attack, it is much more likely that the attack was staged by the opposition in order to be able to blame the Syrian government to set the pretext for a NATO-led intervention. The most important factor that strengthens this possibility is the timing of the attack. The UN inspection team of 20 experts arrived in Damascus Syria on August 18 to investigate three earlier suspected chemical attacks, in Khan al-Asal near Aleppo, an area in Homs as well as a location near the Syrian capital, Damascus.
In the attack by the opposition forces in Khal al-Assal in March 2013, at least 26 were killed. An earlier investigation by a Russian team had concluded that Sarin nerve gas had been used by the opposition.
While refuting the recent charges by the opposition, on August 25 the Syrian government announced that it would allow the UN inspectors to visit the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack.
The Syrian Government also stated that on August 24 the Syrian Arab Army discovered chemical weapons in the tunnels around Damascus that were occupied earlier by the armed opposition forces.
U.S.: It doesn’t matter who used the weapons
The U.S. government has in the past issued statements that stated that the Syrian government would be held responsible in case of a chemical weapons attack, irrespective of which side uses it. About a year ago, after the attacks in Khan Al Assal, in a statement, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons was a “red line” that would lead to military action if crossed.
From the nature of these statements, it is easy to realize that a “false flag” operation would immensely help the opposition since it would enable the foreign intervention.
Turkey: Pushing for intervention, as usual
The Turkish government has taken the opposition claims about the alleged recent chemical attack by the Syrian government at face value without question. Led by The Turkish state TV TRT and news agency AA (Anatolian Agency), the whole main stream Turkish media rushed to publish news stories to convince the Turkish public that it was the Assad government that was behind the attack.
On August 21, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the United Nations to act decisively. He also added that “all red lines” had been crossed without the UN taking action in Syria and that the body “can’t assume an indecisive attitude about chemical weapon attacks” there.
Known as the architect of the “Policy of Zero Problems(!) with Neighbors”, on August 23, on his visit to London, Davutoğlu cited an example from the Bosnian war in the 90’s, noting that it was the “coalition of the willing” that had taken action then when the UN Security Council had not reacted to the events in Bosnia. He said “Now, the UN Security Council should take a harsh decision about Wednesday’s attack. If the council does not do so, we should take action with those willing countries.”
What is truly scary about the role the Turkish government has played in this recent event is that it may be more than a simple role of “provocation”. While it is well established that the Turkish government has been providing the opposition forces with all the logistical and military support since the start of the conflict, it is also very likely that it has turned a blind eye or even possibly aided the acquisition or manufacturing of chemical weapons by the Syrian opposition. As a matter of fact, on May 30, after a search carried out by the Turkish Security forces in Adana, Sarin gas was found in the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra front and five were detained. The government and the mainstream media quietly dropped the whole issue in a few days.
The opposition does not hide it: “We have chemical weapons”
On the other hand, last January, Free Syrian Army’s political advisor, Bassam Al Dada, claimed that the Syrian opposition was capable of putting together components of chemical weapons and using them if necessary. In March this year, in Khan Al Assal, a suburb of Aleppo, the Syrian government has in fact claimed that the opposition used Sarin nerve gas in an attack against Syrian soldiers and civilians, killing 26. After the attack, ex-Syrian information Minister Mehdi Dalullah also claimed that the chemical weapons used in the attack had been manufactured in Turkey. On July 27, the opposition armed groups committed another massacre killing 123, 73 of whom were civilians. The opposition has recently announced that they would not let the UN inspection team in Khan Al Assal. If an investigation were to be performed in that region, it would very likely reveal evidence of use of chemical weapons in the attack by Al Nusra in addition to proving Turkey’s cooperation in the attack.
Huge weapons shipment from Turkey
According to a news piece by Reuters on August 25, Turkey has shipped 400 tons of weapons to the opposition forces after the recent chemical attack. Financed by the Gulf monarchies, the shipment was made through the Turkish border town Hatay into Northern Syria. Believed to be the largest weapons shipment to the opposition forces in the last two years, the shipment is said to consist of rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons.