By Peter Clifford © (http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2/)
(EDITOR: I’m Back! Apologies for the lack of news updates but I have been having severe hosting provider/server problems for a week and only managed to get back into the site today)
THERE IS ONLY ONE STORY AT PRESENT: the continuing news flooding out of Syria on the appalling, unforgivable toxic gas attack that took place early on Wednesday.
At around 2.18 am early on Wednesday morning, well before dawn, a number of missiles were fired by Government forces into both the north-eastern Opposition controlled suburbs of Damascus and those to the south-west.
Children Killed in Toxic Gas Attack
Confirmed deaths, dozens of them children, have reached more that 650, with some Opposition estimates topping 1400 dead.
More bodies have continued to be discovered this morning, Thursday, in another part of Zamalka.
(Caution: Distressing) Video footage of some of the dead bodies, including 50 children, is HERE:
Other districts affected were Hamouriyah, Douma, Kafr Batna, Irbin and Saqba to the north-east of central Damascus and Mouadamiya to the south-west.
The Assad regime, while admitting that it had launched an offensive, denied that it had used chemical weapons. However, the evidence is overwhelming, as most chemical weapons experts agree, Opposition groups would not have the facilities to prepare chemicals on this scale or be deliver them in such a co-ordinated fashion.
The symptoms of the victims, which included pin-point pupils, breathing difficulties, foaming at the mouth, floppy limbs and convulsions, give every indication that some sort of nerve agent was used. Channel 4 has a news report, HERE:
The gas seems to have dissipated in around 30 minutes, though most victims died sleeping in basements where the poison, heavier than air settled.
One chemical weapons expert who had studied the videos said that the chemicals used, “May well be …. some kind of an Assad home brew where he has managed to get elements of an organophosphate, mix it with other chemicals, and then delivered it onto these people.”
Organophophates are highly toxic substances typically used in insecticides in the West, which can affect the human nervous system in concentrated doses. Al Jazeera has a video report, HERE:
The only way to find out for sure what has been used is to get hair, and blood samples from alleged victims, and bring them to a laboratory as quickly as possible.
More Child Victims of Chemical Attack
At the moment there is no proof who delivered these deadly chemicals but the one thing that is clear is that given the amount of chemicals used, all at one time, then the originator has to be military.
“This is obviously a concentrated, well-organized attack by a significant player, said one chemical weapons expert.
Supporting that theory, the affected suburbs were pounded by conventional shells for the whole of Wednesday in an effort to drive out or destroy Opposition fighters (and the evidence) and the Syrian Army has tried to invade the some districts, the 4th Division attempting to get into Mouadamiyeh this morning, HERE:
SICK SUPPORTERS OF ASSAD HOLD “CELEBRATION” PARADE AFTER REPORTS OF TOXIC GAS ATTACK SPREAD:
Air strikes on all the affected suburbs are also being reported this morning, making the supply of aid to replace used up stocks of atropine, needles & oxygen and just access extremely difficult.
Assad Supporters in Damascus
As reports of the mass killing spread, sick supporters of President Assad were seen in a parade of vehicles in central Damascus “celebrating”, honking horns and waving regime flags.
Ironically, the UN chemical weapons inspectors, who have just been allowed into Syria to inspect 3 sites of earlier claimed attacks, are in their hotel in Damascus, just 10 miles from the Ghouta district where most of yesterday’s attacks took place.
The UN Security Council has called for an investigation but it is unlikely that the Syrian Government will deviate from its previously agreed plan to only allow inspectors into the 3 agreed sites.
A STREAM OF CONDEMNATORY WORDS FROM INTERNATIONAL POLITICIANS ON GAS ATTACK – BUT WILL THEY ACTUALLY TAKE ANY ACTION?
International condemnation of the attack has been widespread from the Arab League to the White House, human rights groups, the German, Turkish and British Foreign Ministers and the EU.
Mother Prepares A Child for Burial
The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, has called for “outside powers” to use “force” if the use of chemical weapons is confirmed, though he specifically ruled out “boots on the ground”.
Israel’s Minister for Intelligence and Strategic affairs, said their “intelligence estimates” concluded that chemical weapons had indeed been used and described the Assad regime as “exceptionally cruel.”
Al Jazeera has a video report on international reaction,HERE:
Not unexpectedly, Iran, China and Russia have all blamed the chemical attacks on “the Opposition” and “terrorists”.
Ironically, reports this morning say that Opposition fighters have moved closer to loyalist lines, partly to be in a safer position in case of another chemical attack.
The last word goes to Syrian artist Anwar Al-Eissa, who made this grim image to protest against yesterday’s events (courtesy of @jenanmoussa):
Anwar Al-Eissa: Image of a Gas Attack