Busted ~ Syrian Gov’t Seizes Large Amounts of Toxic Chemicals
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian government’s ambassador to the United Nations told reporters in New York that a cache of toxic chemicals, enough to destroy a city and presumably left by opposition forces, was discovered in Northwestern Syria.
Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the cache included about 280 containers filled with various toxic substances, such as ethylene glycol, ethanolamine, diethanolamine and triethanolamine.
“This is enough to destroy a whole city, if not the whole country,” Ja’afari said, without mentioning the date when the discovery was made. “At the moment, an investigation is underway with regard to this batch of chemical weapons,” RIA Novosti reported.
The Syrian ambassador said the cache was “controlled and supervised by armed antigovernment groups”.
The Syrian diplomat invited a UN commission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the organization’s high representative for disarmament affairs, Angela Kane, to visit his country with another inspection.
However, he said, inspections would only be possible in Aleppo, but not in other Syrian regions as previously proposed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Late in June, the UN experts said that they do not confirm the claims by the United States, France and Britain that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the militants.
“We are not able to say who has used chemical agents or chemical weapons,” chairman of the United Nations human rights investigation committee on Syria Paulo Pinheiro said.
Speaking to reporters after an informal meeting with UN Security Council ambassadors, Pinheiro said he would not comment on evidence, including multiple blood, tissue and soil samples, that the US, Britain and France have sent to the UN about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The technical data presented by the three countries is of limited value to the UN which, according to its rules, can pass a final judgment on the situation only after its own inspectors personally collect evidence.
Based on the unsubstantiated claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against the militants, President Barack Obama ordered the CIA last week to provide arms to the anti-Syrian groups.
In an article on the Washington Post, Colum Lynch and Joby Warrick wrote that the US move “rests on unverifiable claims” that lack transparency.
Weapons experts said Obama’s declaration of Washington’s red line in terms of more involvement in Syria “handed the Syrian opposition a powerful incentive to fabricate evidence” against the Assad government regarding the chemical arms use, the article said.
“If you are the opposition and you hear” that the White House has drawn a red line on the use of nerve agents, then “you have an interest in giving the impression that some chemical weapons have been used,” said Rolf Ekeus, a Swedish scientist who headed UN weapons inspections in Iraq during the 1990s, the article read.
Early in May, informed sources told FNA that the innocent people killed in the Khan al-Assal area of rural Aleppo in Northwestern Syria were the victims of the chemical weapons supplied to the terrorists by a Saddam-era General working under head of the now outlawed Ba’ath party Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.
“The chemical weapons used in the attack on Khan al-Assal area had been prepared by former Iraqi Military Industries Brigadier General Adnan al-Dulaimi and supplied to Ba’ath-affiliated terrorists of the Nusra Front in Aleppo through Turkey’s cooperation and via the Turkish town of Antakya in Hatay Province,” an informed source, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of his life, told FNA on April 6.
The source who has been an aide to Izzat Ibrahim – the most senior member of Saddam Hussein’s inner circle who is still on the run and heads the outlawed Ba’ath party after the apprehension and execution of Iraq’s former Dictator Saddam Hussein – defected from the group a few months ago, but holds substantiating documents on Izzat Ibrahim’s plans.
Gen. Adnan al-Dulaimi was a key man in Saddam’s chemical weapons production projects. After the fall of the dictator and when the Ba’ath party was divided into the two branches of Yunes al-Ahmad and Izzat Ibrahim, he joined the latter group and was deployed in Northwestern Iraq, which is a bastion of Ba’ath terrorists, to produce chemical substances.
“The 80mm mortar shells which landed in Khan al-Assal and killed dozens of people were armed with the latest product of Dulaimi’s hidden laboratories sent to the al-Nusra Front’s members for testing,” the source added.
“Also at his order, several former Iraqi military industries engineers trained the Syrian terrorists on how to use these chemical weapons,” the source said, adding that all plans in this connection were prepared by Adnan al-Dulaimi and staged after the approval of Izzat Ibrahim.
The chemical mortar shells, which the source said were fired at Khan al-Assal from the al- Nusra-ruled Kafr Dael in Northwestern Aleppo, contained a chemical substance very familiar to the Iraqi Ba’ath party leaders, Sarin nerve gas. Adnan Dulaimi and his Ba’athist colleagues in Iraq’s military industries mass-produced the same lethal gas and used it in vast areas against the Iranian troops in the 1980-1988 war and eventually killed thousands of people in the Kurdish town of Halabcheh with the same chemical agent.
UN human rights investigators announced just a few hours ago that they have testimony indicating Syrian rebels have used Sarin gas. Interviews with victims and doctors have provided “strong, concrete suspicions” that rebels used the deadly nerve agent, according to a lead investigator, who also stressed that there’s no evidence yet that the Syrian military used Sarin.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of Sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” member of the UN independent commission of inquiry on Syria Carla Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, Del Ponte said.
The chemical attack on Khan al-Assal came after a video footage posted on the internet late in January showed that the armed militants in Syria possessed canisters containing chemical substances.
The foreign-sponsored militants had earlier released footage in which rabbits were killed by inhaling poisonous gas.