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September 19, 2013 5:00 am

Russia Says Has Evidence Syria Rebels Used Chemical Weapons

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President Barack Obama meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office of the White House May 7, 2009. Photo: Pete Souza via White House..

Jerusalem Post – Russia will show the UN Security Council evidence it has received from Syria’s government pointing to the use of chemical weapons by rebels in the Damascus suburbs, Russian news agencies quoted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying on Wednesday.

Lavrov, who has said a report by UN investigators did not dispel Russia’s suspicions that rebels were behind an August 21 poison gas attack, spoke after one of his deputies was given unspecified evidence by the government while visiting Syria.

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  • Given the short shelf-life of armed chemical weapons, we should not assume that a chemical weapons site necessarily contains any chemical weapons. It may only contain the materials necessary for assembling such weapons. Moreover, there’s a big difference between having access to such a site and having the knowledge to make use of what it contains.

    Second, chemical weapons sites “within rebel-held territory” does not necessarily imply chemical weapons sites under rebel control. Since the Assad regime retains control of all of Syrian air space, even where rebels might have closed off land routes to a particular site, it may still remain under government control and still be receiving supplies by air.

  • Lynne T

    Yeah, they would, wouldn’t they, given they are desperate to keep Assad, one of their few remaining clients in the ME in power?

    Although not specifically blaming Assad, the UN inspectors say the rockets that bore the sarin, the delivery system and location from whence it was launched at a neighbourhood known to be unfriendly to the regime all point to regime culpability.

    Denying regime culpability because the type of rocket and delivery systems are of a type that the Russians “decommissioned” some time ago is a pretty desperate claim, as desperate as suggesting that just because the regime was “winning” when the attack was launched means that the regime had no motive to do something that would both cause larger numbers of civilians to flee while, unlike using conventional arms, being able to cast blame elsewhere.

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