US Warns of More Strikes v. Assad Regime’s Chemical Attacks

A young victim of the Assasd regime's chemical attacks on Douma, April 7, 2018

UPDATE 1500 GMT: Iran has provided cover for its ally by insisting that there is no evidence of a chemical attack on the East Ghouta area near Damascus

The Supreme Leader’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, who toured East Ghouta and saw Bashar al-Assad last week, proclaimed on Sunday that the Iranian delegation saw nothing indicating a chemical assault.

Velayati said the accusation of the regime’s involvement was merely a pretext for aggression.

UPDATE 1430 GMT: The UN Security Council will meet on Monday to discuss a US-UK-French resolution for elimination of the Assad regime’s covert chemical stocks, and an independent investigation into chemical attacks.

Under the resolutoin, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will report within 30 days whether the Assad regime has refused to fully disclose chemical weapons despite a 2013 mandate — after the regime’s sarin attacks near Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people — for their removal.

UPDATE 1310 GMT: The opposition site Nedaa Syria, citing local sources, says Russian military police have taken “three to five” doctors, who refused to leave the city of Douma, to the al-Khatib Investigations Branch for interrogation.

The sources claim Russia offered to “resolve the situation” of the doctors, with no further questioning, in exchange for denying a chemical assault on Douma on April 7 if they are interviewed by the inspectors of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

If the doctors refuse, they will be arrested, the sources said.

One of the doctors who was taken, featured in a video from Russian State outlet Sputnik:

UPDATE 1300 GMT: Trying to show defiance of the airstrikes, the regime is circulating a video with extracts of Bashar al-Assad’s comments to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday.

The US has warned that it will carry out further airstrikes if the Assad regime again resorts to chemical attacks in Syria’s conflict.

Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, said Saturday at an emergency session of the Security Council:

If the Syrian regime uses this poisonous gas again, the United States is locked and loaded. When our President draws a red line, our president enforces the red line.

The US, UK, and France struck three Assad regime military complexes on Saturday: the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Centre in the Damascus suburb of Barzeh; the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Storage Facility, 20 km (12.5 miles) west of Homs; and the Him Shinshar Chemical Weapons Bunker Facility, about 7 km (4 miles) from the storage facility. There were also claims some of the 105 missiles hit bases and depots used by elite army divisions in southern Damascus.

Haley said the three countries “acted not as revenge” but to “deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime responsible for its atrocities against humanity”.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, still denying the chemical attacks by Moscow’s ally, called on the Security Council to condemn the US-UK-France strikes: “Today is not the day to shirk your responsibilities. The whole world is looking at you. Take a principled stand.”

But a Russian motion of condemnation was supported only by China and Bolivia. Eight countries voted No, and four abstained.

Bashar al-Ja’afari, the Assad regime’s ambassador, noted that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons had finally reached Douma in East Ghouta, hit by two regime chemical attacks on April 7 as part of an attempt to force surrender.

“My government will, of course, provide every support to this delegation for it to carry out its mission successfully,” Ja’afari said.

He did not note that the OPCW has been blocked by Russia for assigning responsibility for the attacks with chlorine and a stronger agent, which local doctors have assessed as an organophosphate.

Meanwhile, the head of the opposition High Negotiations Committee, Nasr al-Hariri, called for action to stop conventional as well as chemical assaults:

All attacks against Syrian civilians by the Assad regime and its allies must be stopped, whether these are launched with the use of chemical or conventional weapons. The number of Syrian civilians who were killed by barrel bombs, cluster munitions, rockets and other weapons is many times the number of those who were killed in chemical weapons attacks.

The Assad regime may not use sarin again, but it will not hesitate to use the weapons that the international community has allowed it to use, such as barrel bombs, cluster munitions, rockets, and toxic chlorine in small quantities.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. Syrian Ambassador al-Ja’afari: US Attacked Facility Confirmed by OPCW as Having No Chemical Weapons:

    “If they knew the location of supposed chemical weapons centres, why didn’t you share it with the OPCW BEFORE attacking my country?” Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari highlighted that this very building was inspected by the OPCW twice in 2017 and that the OPCW found no evidence of any chemical weapons nor the tools with which to make them.”

    The OPCW visited the facility last November and found nothing suspicious in its report:

    • However, the OPCW said in the March 2018 that “the verification of the destruction of the two stationary above-ground facilities” was an ongoing process.

  2. No Evidence of Chemical Attack in Syria: Iran’s Velayati

    “The aftereffects of a chemical attack would remain in the area for a long period, but an Iranian delegation that paid a recent visit to Eastern Ghouta near the Syrian capital did not find any evidence of a suspected gas attack that Westerners have blamed on the Syrian government, Velayati told reporters after a meeting with a ranking Chinese diplomat in Tehran on Sunday.”

    The OPCW has begun investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma although its findings are not due for some time.

  3. With McCain at the helm, the other major players of the Deep State……….. Clapper, Brennan, Gates, Beacon Global Strategies. McCain, Clapper, Gates (USAF vets). All believed they were going to work with Hillary Clinton as POTUS. All promote a hard line, and hatred for Russia and Iran. Trump defeated the candidate they expected to be working with. All a bunch of old white men, doing everything they can to take down Trump, and/or infiltrate his administration. They’ve had much success. The Deep State convinced Trump to bomb Syria. Gates is keeping quiet, Brennan is on the warpath.

    The Deep State’s biggest blow was the backfire of the Kiev Coup. Aim was to get Russia out of its only warm water port……. Sevastopol. Resulted in Crimeans voting to join the RF, and of course ongoing situation with ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

    • Normally, I wouldn’t let batshit conspiracy theories through, but this one is so elaborate that I’ll allow it as a Poster Child.

    • The Crimean vote was not a free vote, and that after a good part of the Ukrainians had left Crimea due to fear and insecurity. You can’t just invade a country, conduct a fake and rigged vote, and then call the place yours. Russian imperialists should learn some international law. If not, they will learn it the hard way.

    • Yep, this is the pro-Trump position to try and sweep away the Russia investigation (as well as other questions about Trump’s competence).

      • yes, there are pro Trump sites and anti Trump sites. Both put their own twist on the issue. My observation is that there is a Deep State, and a lot of the actors are tied to Beacon Global Strategies. Clapper, Brennan and Comey are on a mission to take Trump down. Before the election, members of Obama’s team tried to take him down using FISA warrants. Clapper admitted that he unmasked Trump before the election. Comey admitted that he was the “leaker”. Brennan doesn’t hold back. He hates Trump, and he’s not afraid to say it. The only praise he gave him was for bombing Syria last week. The Deep State is bunch of old white men still living in the cold war, raving mad because of the result of the US led Kiev Coup, which they orchestrated.

        Kelley is the spy within. He worked for Beacon. Kelley doesn’t even like Trump.

        I can’t wait to read Rex Tillerson’s book. Should be very revealing. The Deep State forced him out.

  4. The Deep State and Beacon Global Strategies has two major players in the Trump admin….. Kelley and Pompeo. They will now steer Trump in a stronger anti-Russia position. Though in his administration, they want him taken down.

  5. Scott, all of the major players of the Deep State have ties to Beacon. Unfortunately, it was the men (and Hillary) of the Deep State that led Obama to several coups that ended in disaster. Let’s take a look at each one. 1. Ukraine. Yanukovych was taken down, but the end result was Crimea going back to the RF. A disaster. The geniuses in the Deep State didn’t realize the ethnic Russians in Crimea, who were responsible for the election of Yanukovych, would not accept the result of the Kiev Coup. And, there is still the issue of ethnic Russians of eastern Ukraine. This happened under the Obama administration, but you can’t blame it on him. He trusted the Deep State (Panetta and Beacon, and others). This will go down as the biggest foreign policy blunder in US history. Like I said, though it happened under the Obama presidency, he can’t take the blame because he put his trust in the Deep State. I’ll follow up with Libya, Syria and Iran, shortly.


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