This new sarin gas attack, at 3:00am in Ghouta, Damascus appears to be far more massive than any earlier Syrian chemical weapons attacks and there can be little doubt that it has been spurred on my this recent announcement that the Syrian people could expect no protection from the US. Obama has already shown that his "red-line" against Assad chemical weapons use was only so much hot air and on Monday Dempsey wrote:
"We can destroy the Syrian air force… The loss of Assad's air force would negate his ability to attack opposition forces from the air, but it would also escalate and potentially further commit the United States to the conflict.AP is reporting:
Clearly, humanitarian concerns are not at the top of the US list. Neither is the question of what is best for the Syrian people. They will support the side that best serves US [imperialist] interests and that ain't the people fighting Assad. The US could stop these air attacks, including this chemical attack, but it doesn't see it in its interest to do so. It took just two days for the Assad regime to receive this messase and respond accordingly.
Dempsey: Syrian rebels wouldn't back US interestsBRADLEY KLAPPER
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is opposed to even limited U.S. military intervention in Syria because it believes rebels fighting the Assad regime wouldn't support American interests if they were to seize power right now, according to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Effectively ruling out U.S. cruise missile attacks and other options that wouldn't require U.S. troops on the ground, Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a letter to a congressman that the military is clearly capable of taking out Syrian President Bashar Assad's air force and shifting the balance of the Arab country's 2½-year war back toward the armed opposition. More...
Assad may have launched these chemical weapons last night but we all know it's the world who gave him the green light #syria CC @barackobama
— Faress Jouejati (@farGar) August 21, 2013
Opposition says as many as 1,300 killed in gas attack near Damascus
By Dominic Evans and Khaled Yacoub Oweis
BEIRUT/AMMAN | Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:32am EDT
Syria's opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad's forces of gassing many hundreds of people - by one report as many as 1,300 - on Wednesday in what would, if confirmed, be the world's worst chemical weapons attack in decades.
Western and regional countries called for U.N. chemical weapons investigators - who arrived in Damascus just three days ago - to be urgently dispatched to the scene of one of the deadliest incidents of the two-year-old civil war.
Images, including some taken by freelance photographers and supplied to Reuters, showed scores of bodies including of small children, laid out on the floor of a clinic with no visible signs of injuries.
Reuters was not independently able to verify the cause of their death. The Syrian government denied that it had used chemical arms.
George Sabra, one of the leading opponents of Assad, said the death toll was 1,300 killed by poison gas rained down on suburbs east of Damascus.
"Today's crimes are ... not the first time the regime has used chemical weapons. But they constitute a turning point in the regime's operations," he told a news conference in Istanbul. "This time it was for annihilation rather than terror."
An opposition monitoring group, citing figures compiled from medical clinics in the Damascus suburbs, put the death toll at 494 - 90 percent of them killed by gas, the rest by bombing and conventional arms. The rebel Syrian National Coalition said 650 people had been killed.
If the cause of death and the scale of the killing were confirmed, it would be the worst known use of chemical weapons since Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds in the town of Halabja in 1988.
Activists said rockets with chemical agents hit the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar during fierce pre-dawn bombardment by government forces.
The Damascus Media Office monitoring center said 150 bodies were counted in Hammouriya, 100 in Kfar Batna, 67 in Saqba, 61 in Douma, 76 in Mouadamiya and 40 in Irbib, all suburbs of Damascus. More...
Syria chemical weapons allegations
21 August 2013 Last updated at 08:27 ET
The BBC has seen video and eyewitness testimony that appears to corroborate allegations of chemical weapons' use in the Syrian town of Saraqeb. So what do we know about the alleged instances of chemical weapons use in the conflict so far? More...
The New York Times is reporting:
Syrian Rebels Accuse Government of Chemical Attack
By BEN HUBBARD and HWAIDA SAAD
Published: August 21, 2013
BEIRUT, Lebanon — Antigovernment activists accused the Syrian government of pounding areas east of the capital, Damascus, with rockets carrying poison gas early Wednesday, saying that people had been killed in their sleep and that local hospitals were filled with casualties.
Amateur videos posted online showed medics, with hand-pump respirators, trying to revive people laid out on floors and hospital gurneys, along with images of rooms full of bodies. The source of the images could not immediately be verified, and the government of President Bashar al-Assad denied the allegations of a chemical weapons attack. More...
UPDATE 9:00 pm pst
Brown Moses has posted a play-list of 131 YouTube Videos relate to this attack. He also talks about the munitions that might have been used in his blog today:
Are These The Munitions Used In Today's Alleged Chemical Weapon Attack?
The Guardian thinks this attack is for real:
Chemical weapons experts say strike near Damascus fits with lethal toxin useAnalysts say videos of attacked rebel-held areas show asphyxiations and emergency staff overwhelmed with victims
Peter Beaumont and Ian Sample
Wednesday 21 August 2013 16.11 EDT
Experts who have examined the first video footage of the immediate aftermath of the attack on people on the outskirts of Damascus Wednesday morning believe it shows the most compelling evidence yet consistent with the use of a lethal toxic agent.
Among those interviewed by the Guardian were analysts who had previously raised questions over the authenticity of previous claims or who had highlighted contradictions.
If confirmed, the attack, quickly blamed on the regime of Bashar al-Assad by Syrian opposition sources, would be the worst involving chemical weapons in decades. Estimates of the fatalities ranged between 100 and 1,300 people.
As the White House appealed to the UN for an immediate investigation,it was reported that three separate strikes involving suspected chemical weapons had occurred within a three-mile radius, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, in the rebel-held areas of Jobar, Zamalka and Ein Tarma.
"The video footage and pictures this time are of a far better quality," said Jean Pascal Zanders, a former analyst with the chemical and biological warfare project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who has worked in the field of chemical, biological and nuclear proliferation since the mid-1980s and has questioned some previous claims.
Zanders said: "You can clearly see the typical signs of asphyxiation, including a pinkish blueish tinge to the skin colour. There is one image of an adult woman where you can see the tell-tale blackish mark around her mouth, all of which suggests death from asphyxiation.
"What is also different in this footage is that we are seeing the chaos of the first response to what occurred. We are seeing the emergency services being overwhelmed by the innocent victims. It feels very authentic." More...
Human Rights Watch issued this report today:
Syria: Witnesses Describe Alleged Chemical AttacksGovernment Should Give UN Investigators Immediate Access
August 21, 2013
(New York) – Witnesses in Eastern and Western Ghouta, outside Damascus, described symptoms and delivery methods consistent with the use of chemical nerve agents during attacks by government forces on August 21, 2013. The attacks killed several hundred people and injured hundreds more.
Seven residents and two doctors who were first responders told Human Rights Watch that hundreds of people, including many children, appeared to have been asphyxiated in the attacks that began in the early hours of August 21. The killing of civilians on a large scale in a single incident raises concerns that serious crimes were committed. The government denied on its state TV channel that it had used chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta, an area largely controlled by the opposition.
“A huge number of people in Ghouta are dead, doctors and witnesses are describing horrific details that look like a chemical weapons attack, and the government claims it didn’t do it,” said Joe Stork, acting Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. ”The only way to find out what really happened in Ghouta is to let UN inspectors in.” More...
From Syria Freedom Forever we have this:
Statement of the Revolutionary Left Current in Syria on the massacre in the region of East Ghouta resulting from the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime
21 Aug 2013
Killing and coercion of our people continue, perpetrated by the machine of death and destruction of a regime that exceeds fascism by its savagery. It is a tragedy that the world has not known for a long time, the tragedy of a people revolting for freedom and liberation from the clutches of a dictatorship, from its savage repression and from its savage exploitation of the oppressed in our country, serving the interests of a narrow bourgeois clique.
Our revolution has no sincere ally, except the popular revolutions of the region and of the world and of all the militants struggling against regimes of ignorance and servitude and exploitation. This crime is part of the criminal and terrible actions of the ruling juntas against the masses of our people of unarmed civilians in shocking disregard for the human conscience and at a time when the forces of counter-revolution organized an offensive against the revolutions in the region, led by Saudi Arabia and its allies, the regime has found an opportunity to commit the heinous massacre. Yet our rebellious and determined people, proven by his injuries, will continue its resistance against the criminal tyrants, they will inflict a defeat and punishment they deserve for their crimes.
We bury our dead and will look after our wounded. We will only be more determined and resolute in our struggle for the fall of the murderous and destructive regime and the victory of our people’s revolution.
For the edification of Syria for freedom, justice, equality and social justice
No to Washington! No to Moscow!
No to Riyadh! No to Tehran!
Glory to the martyrs and healing for the wounded and victory of the popular revolution all the power and wealth of the people
Revolutionary Left Current in Syria Damascus on August 21, 2013
For more on Obama's real Syria policy, see these other posts by me:
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad Exposed!
Obama "green lights" Assad's slaughter in Syria
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
Chemical weapons use in Syria, Has Obama's red-line has been crossed?
AP weighs in on Obama's Green Light for Assad's slaughter in Syria
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
SecState John Kerry and his "dear friend" Bashar al-Assad
How Obama's 'No MANPADS for you' policy in Syria is backfiring
More thoughts on Obama's 'No MANPADS for you!' policy
Obama: Did the CIA betray Assad's opposition in Syria?