Claims that the Syrian Arab Army has used chemical weapons on a gross scale near Damascus the day after UN officials arrived to investigate previous claims, should break our belief in the stories of the Syrian Opposition and its network of supporters. But far from it – not only are these claims repeated by Western mainstream media, they are validated by the responses of our leaders who cite them as the determining proof of Assad’s vileness and crossing of Obama’s red line.

 So certain are these leaders of the truth of the claims – more certain than even the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – that one can only conclude that their desire to assist the rebellion now extends to full media support. Having so recently demonstrated what they think of ‘alternative’ views, as in “You’ve had your fun – now you don’t need to say anymore”, while laying into the offending data with an angle grinder in the Guardian’s basement…
WILLIAM HAGUE: ” I hope this will wake up some who have supported the Assad regime to realise its murderous and barbaric nature, a government that cares so little for the lives of the people of its own country.”

Adding to the feeling that the staging of this ‘attack’, which any impartial observer can easily dismiss as either fabricated or false flag – is actually a planned and staged action coordinated with cooperative Western governments, it appears that some leaders are now going to hold it up as the red line for the intervention they have so long sought. Australia’s PM Kevin Rudd, who has been largely silent on events in Syria, has today called this an atrocity which demands action, and has written to the UNSC. Till now, Australia has stated that it is against any military intervention, and in favour of the process of dialogue. But as long as it maintains the position of support for the unelected and unrepresentative Opposition Syrian National Council it is clearly committed to finding ways to remove the Assad government. Using these mercenaries and jihadist as proxies, by any means to this end, is the goal all these “Friends of Syria” share.

For a reasonable report on this incident,  ICH has collected information from various sources:

We cannot say the same for the report currently on the Guardian website, from the usual reporters Martin Chulov and Mona Mahmoud, which starts with:

“Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in an apparent gas attack on rebel-held parts of eastern Damascus that is thought to be the most significant use of chemical weapons since thousands of Kurds were gassed by Saddam Hussein in Halabja 25 years ago.

Medics, as well as opposition fighters and political leaders, said the death toll had reached 1,400 and was likely to rise further with hundreds more critically wounded in districts besieged by the Syrian military. Other estimates put the current death toll at between 200 and 500. None of the figures could be independently verified.

Clearly the time is overdue for Western media to heed the message of Step Back, and start reporting all the sources who are denying that there is real substance in these unsubstantiated claims; ones on which we are prepared to ‘ACT’ without verification.
   As detailed elsewhere on this site, the key question that should be asked about the use of Chemical Weapons in Syria is on motivation. Early reports on this incident did note the glaring contradictions in the ‘activists’ claims that the Syrian government had used CWs against them – that it seemed ‘surprising’ the Syrian army would choose to do such a thing on the day the UN inspectors arrived. But rather than following on from this question they passed on it, and twelve hours later it was forgotten as the media storm focussed on increasingly excessive claims, and later on the so-called ‘defiance’ of the Syrian government to calls for free access for the UN inspectors.
But the question remains, and must be answered: What motive could the Syrian government possibly have to launch such an attack at this time?
Not only has it been steadily reclaiming areas around Damascus from the grip of the rebels and terrorist groups – Al Nusra front is strong in the area where the CWs were allegedly used – but at this time it has every reason not to do such a thing, as the reaction of the Western world has demonstrated so clearly.
When we have failed to answer this question we should then direct the hysteria and outrage against those responsible – rebel or terrorist groups and their foreign backers. If the claims about the deaths are true then the atrocity is far greater – because one must conclude that rebel groups have launched a Chemical attack against their own supportive population, not for the purpose of eliminating them, but  merely to use as propaganda.
This is surely a war crime of astonishing proportion, and it is one in which Western powers are entirely complicit.