December 24, 2012

Breaking: Syria Allegedly Uses Chem Weapons in Attack Which Killed Seven

The original report comes from Al Jazeera (HT Gateway Pundit via frequent home blog commenter dscott), so caution is advised. But the related video appears to be from an independent source, and the IB Times in the UK is reporting the related attack as an actual event.

According to IBT: “The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been accused of resorting to chemical weapons after seven people died from poisonous gas fumes in an assault on Homs.” From what I could tell, as of shortly before 10 a.m. ET, the U.S. establishment press had not filed a story. More from IBT after the jump:

Assad’s forces sprayed the al-Bayyada rebel-held neighbourhood in the western Syrian city with a poisonous gas similar to the lethal sarin, local activists told Al-Jazeera.

“The situation is very difficult. We do not have enough facemasks. We don’t know what this gas is but medics are saying it’s something similar to sarin gas,” Raji Rahmet Rabbou, an activist in Homs, told the Qatar-based television channel.

According to Al-Jazeera dozens of people were injured in the gas attack and reported nausea, loss of muscle use, blurred vision and breathing difficulties.

Such symptoms are similar to those caused by sarin, a gas the UN has classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

A video showing Homs medics trying to revive a person suffering severe breathing difficulties has been posted on YouTube by Syrian activists, although its authenticity cannot be confirmed.

… In August, US President Barack Obama warned Assad that by using chemical weapons he would cross a “red line.”

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised. That would change my calculus,” Obama said.

If the report is indeed legitimate, the question is: Will it?

To be fair, Obama and the U.S government has recognized the opposition to Assad as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people in opposition to the Assad regime” — which poses its own very serious problems.

But at least in any visible military sense, the “moving around” part element of Obama’s “red line” statement thus far appears to have had no force. What will the response be to verified use?

The U.S. press has often reported news detrimental to the Israeli military with information far less solid.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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