The use of chemical weapons has been one of the most controversial issues during several years of crisis in Syria. These deadly weapons have been used several times so far, especially in attacks in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus outskirts on August 21, 2013, and also in Khan Shaykhun village in Idlib outskirts on April 4, 2017. But the relevant sides of the conflict have never reached a consensus on who really used these weapons. However, in recent days the Western media have quoted the American officials as saying that the Syrian government is testing and using new types of the chemical weapons. The media reports further have said that the Americans threatened to respond if Damascus uses any such weapons.
Reuters cited Yahya al-Aridi, the spokesman for the Syrian opposition body, as saying that the government has recently used poisonous gas weapons during the attacks on Eastern Ghouta. The opposition spokesman further claimed that the opposition held documents substantiating the veracity of their accusations.
On February 1, Heather Nauert, the spokesperson to the US State Department told the press about the concerns of the US government over the repeated use of suspected chlorine gas attacks in the past month in a region close to the capital Damascus.
“If confirmed, the attack is the third reported instance in the past 30 days in east Ghouta,” Nauert told the reporters.
More stances on the issue came from the American officials. The Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Saturday acknowledged that the US has no documents in hands proving that the Syrian Arab Army used Sarin factor or other poisonous gases in the recent days. He, however, warned that the US is collecting evidence on the use of this type of weapons in Syria and then will take action.
"I donít have the evidence. What Iím saying is that groups on the ground, NGOs, fighters on the ground have said that Sarin has been used," he said. "We are looking for evidence. I donít have evidence credible or incredible."
There are several points that help get the notion that the US claims are bearing hallmarks of a preplanned scenario intended to open the door for the US to increase the military intervention in Syria.
Syria chemical weapons disarmament
When it comes to of chemical weapons use in Syria, one thing should be taken into account: The international organizations and the various actors in the Syrian conflict confirm that the Syrian chemical weapons, which were essentially held to keep a kind of a balance of threat in the face of the Israeli nuclear weapons, were fully destroyed five years ago. In mid-September 2013 and after provision of documents about the use of poison agents in Eastern Ghouta assaults, the US and Russia struck a deal on handover and destruction of the weapons. The international experts began work on the process and announced on August 19, 2014 that they fully destroyed them all. Based on the UN-supervised removal process, the Syrian government holds no mass destruction weapons, though some opposition grpups argue that Damascus is secretly working on producing new chemical attacks to use them in attacks. But how true is this claim? We will find as we explore the Syrian battleground conditions.
Syria on the victory track
The battle equations are profoundly indicating the reality that at the present time Damascus, backed by its staunch allies, is having an upper hand on various frontlines over its enemies. After an onerous three-year campaign, it managed to obliterate ISIS terrorist group across the country and thus vast swaths of the seized territories returned to the control of the central government. Further land was even released as the army apparently dealt fatal blows to other takfiri terrorists. All these wins changed the course of developments on the ground. And as the anti-terror push unwaveringly unfolds, the remaining territories will be reclaimed. With this in mind, even if we suppose that the government has chemical weapons, it by no means needs to use the chemical agents as it keeps to have an edge over its opponents. After all, use of these weapons, the Syrian leadership understands, could fuel the crisis, take the foreign and domestic opponents of Damascus off the stalemate they are living, and give the US the much-awaited excuses to directly strike Syria. Naturally, no rational calculations at the present time will justify the use of the weaponized poisonous agents by Damascus. In 2013, the alleged Eastern Ghouta chemical attack took place while the armed opposition was having tough conditions under army encirclement and the UN experts had just arrived to accomplish a supervisory mission and were residing in a hotel only a few kilometers away from the incident site. All these factors strengthen the theories about the fabrication of Syria chemical strikes.
US facing dead end in Syria
For Seven years, the US and its regional allies like Saudi Arabia went to great lengths to oust the government of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. They provided Assad’s opponents and a litany of terrorist groups with various weapons and military equipment and put to work heavy diplomatic efforts only to discover that they were to meet their failure after Damascus allies directly stepped in and helped it turn the tide to its advantage. The campaign made the Western-Arab-Israeli camp’s schemes look like a real fiasco. Now, finding themselves ending up with seriously limited game cards to influence the path of Syria future developments especially after successful Astana and Sochi peace talks brokered by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the anti-Syrian camp is struggling to cultivate the conditions for broader military interference.
Fake use of the chemical weapons can efficiently give the US pretexts to retry implementation of its failed plan in Syria by garnering international legitimacy and support. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Americans have a certain principle in dealing with the Syrian crisis: When they go under pressure in diplomatic and military terms in Syria, they resort to the chemical weapons excuses to change things to their advantage on the one hand and distract the public from the realities like defeat of the US interventionist strategy in Syria on the other hand.
Washington’s call for the extension of the mission of the chemical weapons inspectors in Syria, which was vetoed by Russia, can be read as part of this US tactic. Moscow officials questioned the independence of views of the inspectors on the field probe and called on the Security Council to devise a mechanism to block any intervention in the work of the inspectors. This Russian proposal was sent to the UNSC on January 24. The resolution, calling for the UN’s new probe mechanism on chemical weapons, suggested that the new investigative mechanism, dubbed United Nations Independent Mechanism of Investigation or UNIMI, be charged with conducting "a truly impartial, independent, professional and credible" investigation of chemical incidents on the basis of "credible, verified and corroborated evidence, collected in the course of on-site visits.
But the US rejected the bid and thus it was driven out of the UNSC schedule. Russia blamed the US for killing the resolution. By disapproving of the Moscow-drafted resolution, Washington showed that the Trump administration is not interested in an independent probe to discover the reality if chemical weapons were genuinely used in Syria attacks, and if yes, which side to blame for them.