Syria: use of chemical weapons in 2013

EXCLUSIVE

ALAFF continues to post the translation of chapters from the newest book of Russian diplomat Maria Khodynskaya-Golenischeva. The first part of the translation (chapter on the internal Syrian opposition), as well as information about the book and other details, can be read here.

The second part of the translation (chapter revealing the motives and goals of Russian intervention in the Syrian conflict) can be found here.

The following chapter reveals “the history” of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the strategy of the West to use this problem to discredit the Syrian government and force intervention in the Syrian conflict, the arguments of the opposite camp, insisting on the innocence of the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic and the obvious provocative nature of chemical attacks beneficial to the “moderate opposition” (and their curators).

The explanations in square brackets are ALAFF’s additions (except footnotes).

As before, the necessary clarification — using the term “regime”, the author implies a form of state-political structure.


 

The use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013 and the prerequisites for Russian-American cooperation to destroy it.

The theme of the use of chemical weapons in the SAR was of particular importance in the Syrian crisis. It was the “chemical issue” that was pre-selected by the United States and some Washington allies as a possible excuse for military intervention to overthrow the B. Assad regime.

Syria’s “chemical” problem was initially perceived by the United States and its allies as one of the main elements of pressure on the SAR authorities. This topic was brought into the public space back in 2012, long before poisonous substances were used in Syria. Leading Western media prepared the world community for the fact that chemical weapons could be used during the Syrian crisis. In the context of the conflict, the threat of the entry of chemical warfare agents into the hands of terrorists became actual. The experts also argued whether it would be beneficial for the ruling regime in the SAR to use methods of warfare using weapons of mass destruction, in which case Damascus would decide to take this step, and what would be the consequences. Arguments were grouped around the thesis that if the SAR authorities feel that they are losing “on the ground”, they can go on the local use of chemical weapons, and then hide in the Alavite coastal provinces of the country, in Lattakia, and wage a guerrilla war from there [1]. Another scenario considered by Western analysts is the transfer of biological weapons by Iran and Syria, which they allegedly created with the involvement of Russian specialists, to HAMAS and Hezbollah.

It was on the “chemical” topic that the important geopolitical thesis of the United States was based — the so-called “B. Obama’s red line”. On August 20, 2012, the US president issued a well-known statement on “the red line”, noting that if chemical weapons are used in Syria, this will “change his calculations significantly” [2]. It was obviously a matter of the fact that in this case the force scenario would be realized [3]. At the same time, the head of the United States referred to the fact that the “line of no return” was drawn by the world community [4].

Following B. Obama, this thesis was adopted by other Western leaders: British Prime Minister D. Cameron made it clear that the use of toxic substances will force Western capitals to reconsider actions on Syria [5]. French President F. Hollande emphasized that the use of chemical weapons in the SAR will give the international community “a legitimate reason to carry out direct intervention in Syria” [6]. It is noteworthy that neither the United States nor its allies admitted that the armed opposition or terrorists could use the poisonous substances in the SAR.

This, as well as the fact that the above statements were made long before chemical weapons were used in Syria, suggests that the West considered the use of chemical weapons as a tool to discredit the Syrian government, and also — in the long term — an excuse for carrying out a military intervention.

For the first time, chemical weapons were used on March 19, 2013 in the village of Khan al-Asal (Aleppo province). People with symptoms of suffocation were admitted to nearby hospitals. Mostly the Syrian troops and civilians were killed.

The next day — March 20, 2013 — Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs W. Muallem sent a letter to the UN Secretary General demanding that Ban Ki-moon promptly organize an independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the incident, which would reveal the perpetrators of the crime [7]. In Damascus, they were ready to facilitate the work of investigators whom the Secretary General would appoint. At the same time, the letter indicated that, according to the estimates of the Syrian government, the rocket attack on Khan al-Asal was carried out by militants from the Hvar Dael region.

In response to a request from the Syrians, Ban Ki-moon took the initiative to send an expert technical mission to Syria to conduct an investigation into the Khan al-Asal incident under the auspices of the UN. The team included investigators from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the World Health Organization (WHO), who were supposed to collect samples and probes and conduct laboratory tests. The UN Secretary General informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the SAR, W. Muallem, about this in a reply letter on March 21, 2013 [8].

On the same day, delegations from the UK and France formally approached the UN Secretary General with information that there had allegedly been two more chemical attacks in Syria earlier — in Homs on December 23, 2012 and in Uteiba on March 19, 2013 [9], which, in their opinion, also needed to be thoroughly investigated. The time chosen by the British and French to inform the UN Secretary General of these incidents (several months after their occurrence) was very remarkable. No evidence was presented, which could indicate an attempt to load experts with additional tasks and distract them from a focal investigation of the circumstances of the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Asal.

At the same time, Russian diplomats had a conversation with Ban Ki-moon in New York. The Secretary General confirmed that the agreements reached with the leadership of the SAR to investigate the incident in Khan al-Asal remain in force.

However, literally after 24 hours, the UN Secretary General’s spokesman announced the need to investigate all three cases using the newly created mechanism [10]. It was obvious that he and the UN Secretariat were pressured by western members of the Security Council [11]. All attempts by Russian diplomats to convince Ban Ki-moon that it is impossible to delay the investigation of the incident in Khan al-Asal, since the evidence may disappear, have proved futile. The UN Secretary General demanded that Damascus provide experts with unlimited access to Syria [12]. Moreover, the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, A. Kane, in a letter to W. Muallam dated March 28, 2013 put forward a number of demands on the SAR authorities as part of a future investigation. The Syrian government was to provide inspectors with “full and unrestricted freedom of movement, including access to the incident sites and all other areas that will be identified by the head of the Mission as necessary for a quality investigation” [13]. Damascus was to provide the Mission with unrestricted access “to all relevant persons, victims and witnesses — as determined by the Mission” [14]. In a letter dated April 12, 2013, she demanded that the SAR government provide the Mission with urgent access to both Khan al-Asal and Homs [15].

The Syrian leadership was willing to compromise and agreed to allow the Mission to other sites after the Khan al-Asal incident was investigated [16]. However, this did not suit the Western members of the UN Security Council, demanding that the experts be given an unlimited mandate, including the right to choose priority incidents for investigation.

Between March and June 2013, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France regularly sent letters to the UN Secretary General about alleged incidents involving the use of chemical weapons in Syria (in Daraya, Adra, Seracab, Sheikh Maksoud, Qasr Abu Samra, Jaubar). Most of them were not confirmed, which was subsequently reflected in the report of a group of UN experts on the investigation of allegations and the use of chemical weapons in Syria, headed by O. Selström [17].

Thus, the Western states prevented the operational dispatch of a UN mission of experts to Syria, which by that time had already been formed and was awaiting instructions on leaving to the country. Due to the politically motivated maneuvering of the Secretariat and pressure on the UN by Western members of the UN Security Council, the opportunity to examine verifiable information was lost.

On June 21, 2013, Syrian militants captured Khan al-Asal. It is possible that they took measures to destroy evidence of their use of chemical weapons.

Under these conditions, in Moscow it was decided to send Russian experts to Syria to conduct an investigation. In accordance with the OPCW criteria, large-scale work was carried out to collect and verify evidence and study the terrain. Samples taken were tested at an OPCW certified laboratory. A detailed report containing the results of the investigation was presented to the UN Secretary General, Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, A. Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and A. Ozumju, Director General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat. Based on the relevant expertise, Russian experts proved that a low-quality artificially crafted sarin was used in Khan al-Asal, and a home-made shell was used.

The SAR authorities collaborated with the UN to organize an investigation into the incident. On July 24-25, 2013, in Damascus, Syrian officials held talks with the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs A. Kane and the head of the UN expert group to investigate allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, O. Selström [18]. Based on the results, a fundamental agreement was reached on an investigation in the SAR. On August 25, 2013, a “Common Understanding” document was signed between the government of the SAR and the UN, which regulated the activities of inspectors in the SAR [19].

On August 21, 2013 — the day UN experts arrived in Syria — chemical weapons were used again in the suburbs of Damascus (East Ghouta district). The numbers of the dead varied: from 300 to 1.5 thousand people [20]. In a published statement by the NGO “Doctors Without Borders” it was noted that on August 21, 2013 within a few hours, the medical institutions that collaborated with this organization received 3600 patients — most of them civilians — with neurotoxic syndromes (convulsions, excessive salivation, reduced pupils, blurred vision, difficulty breathing). 355 of them died. The statement noted: NGO do not have confirmed data indicating the cause of the syndromes or identifying the perpetrators of the attack. The organization cannot ascertain the use of chemical weapons [21].

Indeed, to establish the fact of the use of toxic substances and the guilty party, an expert assessment was required, including a laboratory study. The incident was to be investigated by UN experts who arrived in the SAR. It is worth taking a look at how the discussion developed around the topic of the use of chemical weapons in the SAR in public space. Two approaches are expected to clash here.

On the one hand, the West pursued a line to secure a setting of the fact that chemical weapons were used in Syria by the authorities. One of the topics that attention was paid to in this regard was the attitude that the USSR allegedly had towards Syria gaining a chemical arsenal. The Russian side refuted these arguments with the thesis that the basis for the creation of the chemical industry of Syria in 1970-1980 was not Soviet, but Western technology and the supply of chemical compounds-precursors, including dual-use [22].

The German magazine “Focus”, citing a report by the American NGO “Center for Strategic and International Studies”, confirmed this version by publishing information that from the 1980s to the 1990s, German firms supplied the H. Assad government with chemicals and equipment for the production of poisonous chemicals , including sarin. Damascus acquired laboratory equipment and specialized tubes for Syrian defense chemical plants from “Schott” company. “Leifeld Weber” supplied the Syrians with high-temperature furnaces, tanks and hot isostatic furnaces. Damascus purchased reagents for the manufacture of dichloride (a substance necessary to obtain sarin) from “Gerrit van Delden” company. From “Sigri” concern — equipment and tools with Teflon coating used in chemical laboratories. The same company provided the Syrians with logistical support and assistance in the design of production lines. The source material for sarin was transported to Syria on German ships. Moreover, the company “Rose”, which collaborated with M. Gaddafi, could give Damascus the documentation for the construction of a gas absorption treatment plant [23].

Western leaders, for their part, made public statements that the blame for the use of chemical weapons rests with the Syrian government. On August 26, 2013, a press conference was held by J. Kerry, during which the Secretary of State laid the blame on the B. Assad regime for “the brutal murder of civilians, women, children and innocent citizens accidentally found in the place” [24]. Confirming the authenticity of the video in which the victims of the chemical attack were captured, the Secretary of State referred to “Doctors Without Borders” (NGO publicly denied that the organization’s statement could serve as evidence for accusing a certain party of the conflict of using chemical weapons [25]). The Secretary of State also condemned the Syrian government for allegedly deliberately dragging experts into the Ghouta region in an attempt to hide evidence and expressed concern that “expiration date” of these evidence might expire (in contrast, the American side did not have similar concerns during the period when Washington blocked the sending of experts to investigate the Khan al-Asal incident). It is worth noting that the speech of J. Kerry was reminiscent of the speech of Senator H. Clinton in October 2002, when she convinced Congress that S. Hussein’s palaces were huge complexes in which he placed laboratories for the production of weapons of mass destruction and its storage [26].

In this context, it is worth mentioning a post on Twitter by the US Permanent Representative to the United Nations, S. Power: “The verdict is clear: Assad used chemical weapons in violation of international law” [27], “we are considering the possibility of retaliation and are consulting with our allies and partners in New York and around the world. Everywhere — anger and the demand for accountability” [28]. In the same vein, S. Power continued to speak in September 2013: “B. Assad’s regime has sarin and applied it, while there is no evidence that the opposition has it” [29].

In the same context, it is worth mentioning the letter of the opposition National Coalition addressed to the UN Secretary General distributed in the UN Security Council on August 21, 2013, on the day of the chemical attack, by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations. In it, the representative of the National Coalition, N. Gadban, claimed that “the Syrian regime carried out a series of bombings of opposition-controlled suburbs of Damascus, which included firing rockets stuffed with toxic substances in civilian areas in East Ghouta, more precisely, in Jobar, Zamalka, Ain-Terma and Maadamia” [30].

In the same vein, a letter was written to the President of the UN Security Council, signed on August 21, 2013 by the head of the Qatar Mission to the UN. In it, citing “credible reports”, the Syrian government was accused of committing a chemical attack in East Ghouta [31].

Washington introduced the so-called evidence of the involvement of the B. Assad regime in the use of chemical weapons. The White House prepared and submitted to Congress a four-page document, which included the phrases: “in the United States they evaluate with a high degree of certainty”, “we assume that”, and was stated that it was the Syrian government who used the chemical weapons [32].

This document could hardly serve as a serious evidence base. Its lack of development raised questions against the backdrop of the fact that the United States had a good intelligence resource in Syria. The “evidence” selection did not contain technical information that could be verified.

The rhetoric of Western officials was becoming more uncompromising. B. Obama announced a “change of strategy” for Syria [33]. Western leaders noted that the “red line” is passed [34]. Experts predicted the possibility of delivering attacks not on chemical, but on military targets [35], including command posts, airfields, and weapons depots [36]. The possibilities of introducing a no-fly zone were discussed [37].

The headlines of newspapers and publications that appeared in those days sounded in the same vein: “America must respond to the atrocities in Syria” [38], “This is not the time to look through one’s fingers at what is happening in Syria” [39], “It’s time to make a decision on Syria” [40], “The President of Syria has used chemical weapons” [41]. The anti-Syrian information background was also supported by Western human rights structures. For example, Human Rights Watch stated in a report that the SAR authorities were responsible for the use of chemical weapons in East Ghouta [42].

The second group of experts and politicians sought to prove that the SAR government was not involved in the incident, suggesting that the use of chemical weapons in East Ghouta could have been a planned provocation of militants.

A recording of an intercepted telephone conversation between two Syrian militants was released, in which militants discussed the details of obtaining chemical components and plans for their use. In the Jobar region (adjacent to East Ghouta), a cache of chemicals of Saudi origin for the production of toxic substances was discovered [43]. The Syrian military in Jobar showed signs of suffocation.

Own investigation of the circumstances of the chemical attack on August 21, 2013 was carried out by activists of the human rights movement “Musalakha” (the founder — abbess of the monastery of St. Jacob in the Syrian city of Kara, Agness Mariam al-Salib). Based on its results, it was concluded that the shocking videos were shot in advance.

In particular, it was found that the video was posted on the Internet 19 hours before the attack [44]. The people who provided assistance to the affected people did not have personal chemical protective means (thus, it could be about using either chemical handicrafts or substances used to disperse demonstrations in a concentrated dose).

Human rights activists suggested that Alavi children who were taken out of Lattakia by armed groups in August 2013 were used for the staged video. In an interview, a representative of the terrorist organization “Jabhat al-Nusra” confirmed that more than 150 women and children were abducted and taken away from 11 villages in Lattakia for subsequent exchange [45]. Representatives of the NGO “Musalakha” contacted the relatives of the abducted people — many of them recognized their relatives on video [46]. A comprehensive comparison of shots of improvised morgues in Arbin, Kafr Batna, Jobar, Zamalka and the Douma confirmed that mostly children were killed [47]. Most were not identified (thus they were not locals). Moreover, photos of the victims of the riots in Rabiha al-Adawiya Square in Cairo were used for staged materials [48]. The testimonies of the doctors did not coincide (according to some, people were hiding in the basement, according to others — on the roof) [49]. Not all surviving children mentioned gas [50].

The well-known journalist, Pulitzer Prize laureate S. Hersh published a “Whose Sarin?” report in December 2013, stating that the Obama administration was informed that radical groups in the SAR had the ability to produce and use sarin (in June 2013, a telegram was sent to the Deputy Director of the Intelligence Directorate of the US Department of Defense that the militants had mastered the technology for producing sarin and were able to use it [51]).

Of interest is also the study of R. Lloyd, a specialist in warhead design, and T. Postol, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Specialists studied the evidence, including video and photos, and came to the conclusion that the opposition could use chemical weapons in Syria [52]. The projectile could have been produced in a mechanical workshop, and the range of such an improvised missile would not exceed 2 km. Thus, the shot was fired from positions controlled by militants.

Also worthy of attention is the report of the Israel Institute for Combating Terrorism. It follows from the document that in two Syrian cities, facilities for the production or storage of chemical weapons for some time passed under the control of rebels [53], which also did not exclude the possibility of the use of poisonous substances by illegal armed groups. The video and photo of the effects of the chemical attack in East Ghouta was studied by G. Winfield, Editor-in-Chief of CBRNe World, a magazine specializing in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. According to the expert, it could be about the use of a substance used to disperse demonstrations. In Egypt, the use of tear gas at the time led to the deaths of 36 people [54].

The fact that opposition groups that received chemical weapons from Saudi Arabia could have been behind the attack in Ghouta on August 21 was evidenced by material published by American journalist D. Gavlak, who worked for 20 years in the Middle East as an Associated Press and BBC correspondent. According to D. Gavlak, the infection could have occurred as a result of manipulations with chemicals that fell into the hands of militants. In her opinion, these could be chemical warheads transferred to the militants through the KSA special services [55].

Y. Bodansky, who served as director of the US Congress Counter Terrorism Working Group from 1988 to 2004, was more straightforward and claimed that the chemical attack in East Ghouta was “a provocation of rebels carried out with the knowledge of the United States” [56].

H. Manaa, the head of the foreign wing of the Syrian opposition National Coordinating Committee for Democratic Change, posted a video showing the militants of the “Liwa al-Islam” group shelling chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus. The first two videos were shot in Kabun, the third — in Jobar. All videos dated August 21, 2013. One featured militants of the “Kibat Rih al-Sarsar” group included in “Liwa al-Islam”. They fired shells using D-30 howitzers. It was these howitzers that were captured by the illegal armed groups on the base of the 46th regiment of the SAR Armed Forces near Aleppo and used in Hama (“Moawia Ben Abu Sufyan” gang), Lattakia and Khan al-Asal (“Al-Faruk” group). The presence in the suburbs of Damascus of the “Liwa al-Islam” militants — up to 16 thousand militants — was recognized, including by the Western media [57].

Attention is also worthy of a statement by a member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry in Syria, Carla del Ponte, who pointed to Syrian militants as being responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria [58]. Serious pressure was exerted on the head of the Independent Commission, Paolo Pinheiro, as a result of which he was forced to dissociate himself from the statement of Carla del Ponte [59], as well as to withdraw from the draft report of the Commission on the Situation in Syria to the UN Human Rights Council the data she voiced.

Finally, the reports of the UN mission prepared by O. Selström based on the analysis of samples taken at the site of the use of chemical warfare agents in East Ghouta contained highly controversial statements. The corresponding final document of December 21, 2013 concluded that chemical weapons were used in East Ghouta on August 21, 2013 [60]. The authors’ confidence that the M-14 unguided missile manufactured in 1950-1960 with non-standard Cyrillic marking elements (the set of letters, according to experts, was purely arbitrary) was actually used as a means of delivery of toxic substances was of doubt. Fragments of ammunition, as noted in the report, were carried by the “local residents” from the crash site and were subjected to [external] influences. Thus, there was a likelihood that the poisonous substances were deliberately selectively applied to the fragments of the projectile after it burst. This could be evidenced by a laboratory analysis of samples taken on August 26 at the site of explosion of ammunition. Of the 13 treated samples, only in one case (soil) was a positive result obtained for the presence of the decay product of sarin. In the rest, the results were negative or ambiguous (in the event of a chemical munition explosion, traces of sarin would have to be traced everywhere).

Let’s note that the reports and materials both in favor of the version of the Syrian government’s involvement in the chemical attack in East Ghouta and refuting it could not replace the official investigation that the UN was supposed to conduct. However, the very fact of the split of the world public space into actually two equivalent camps was very remarkable and testified to the loss by the West of a part of the monopoly over information flows. The situation — political and informational — resembled the one that preceded the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.


[1] Syrian Regime Will Deploy Chemical Weapons as Last Resort // The Telegraph. 2012. 19 September.

[2] Remarks by the President to the White House Press Corps. The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. 20 August, 2012.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/20/remarks-president-white-house-press-corps

[3] Shawna Th. Obama draws ‘red line’ for Syria on chemical and biological weapon / Th. Shawna. NBC News. 20 August 2012.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-chemical-weapons-in-syria-are-a-red-line/

[4] Kessler G. President Obama and the ‘red line’ on Syria’s chemical weapons / G. Kessler // Washington Post. 2013. 6 September.

[5] Finaud M. Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Force of Law or Law of Force? / M. Finaud. GCSP Policy Paper 2012/10. P.2.

[6] Finaud M. Syria’s Chemical Weapons: Force of Law or Law of Force? / M. Finaud. GCSP Policy Paper 2012/10. P.2.

[7] Letter by His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister to H. E. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, 20 March 2013. Document PM/2013-401. P.1.

[8] Letter by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 21 March 2013. P.1.

[9] United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. UN Document S/2013/735; Letter by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 21 March 2013. P.1.

[10] Note to correspondents on Syria. New York. 23 March 2013.

https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/note-correspondents/2013-03-23/note-correspondents-syria

[11] Commentary by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman A.K. Lukashevich regarding the investigation of the chemical weapons incident in Syria. 25 March 2013.

https://www.mid.ru/kommentarii_predstavitelya/-/asset_publisher/MCZ7HQuMdqBY/content/id/117310

[12] Letter by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 21 March 2013. P.2.

[13] Letter by Angela Kein, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 28 March 2013. P.3.

[14] Letter by Angela Kein, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 28 March 2013. P.4-5.

[15] Letter by Angela Kein, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs to His Excellency Mr. Walid al Muallem, Deputy Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 12 April 2013. P.1.

[16] Speech of and answers to questions of mass media by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during joint press conference summarizing the results of negotiations with UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, Sochi, 17 May 2013.

https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/foreign_policy/un/-/asset_publisher/U1StPbE8y3al/content/id/109558

[17] United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. UN Document S/2013/735. P.5-8.

[18] Letter by Angela Kein, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs to His Excellency Mr. Faisal Mekdad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic. New York. 12 August 2013. P.2.

[19] (text in Arabic)

Common Understanding. 25 August 2013.

[20] Une Attaque au Gaz Aurait Tué 1300 Syriens // Tribune de Genève. 2013. 22 Août.

[21] Syria: Thousands suffering neurotoxic symptoms treated in hospitals supported by MSF. Geneva/Brussels. 24 August 2013.

https://www.msf.org/syria-thousands-suffering-neurotoxic-symptoms-treated-hospitals-supported-msf

[22] Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the statements by Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski, to the mass media on Syrian chemical weapons. 3 September 2013.

https://www.mid.ru/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/98150

[23] Reference «On the role of Western countries in the receipt of chemical weapons by the Syrian Arab Republic». 23 February 2016 // Center for the operational response to violations of the cessation of hostilities (Geneva).

[24] Remarks. John Kerry. Secretary of State Press Briefing Room. Washington, DC. August 26, 2013.

https://2009-2017.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/08/213503.htm

[25] Disclaimer on Syria. 2 September 2013. Medecins Sans Frontieres.

https://www.msf.org/en/msf-activities-syria-2013

[26] Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on S.J. Res. 45, a Resolution to Authorize the Use of US Armed Forces Against Iraq. As delivered. October 10, 2002.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132×4020176

[27] @AmbassadorPower: Haunting images of entire families dead in their beds. Verdict is clear: Assad has used CWs against civilians in violation of int’l norm. 27 August 2013.

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmbPower44/status/372195568627376128?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

[28] @AmbassadorPower: We’re reviewing response options & consulting w/allies & partners in NY & around the world. Widespread outrage & desire for accountability. 27 August 2013.

https://mobile.twitter.com/AmbPower44/status/372196807415066624?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

[29] Remarks by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a Stakeout on Syria. New York. September 16, 2013.

https://2009-2017-usun.state.gov/remarks/5809

[30] Letter by Special Representative of the Syria Coalition to the United Nations Dr. Najib Ghadbian to H. E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 21 August 2013. P.1.

[31] Letter by Chargé d’Affaires Yousef Sultan Laram to H. E. Mrs. Maria Christina Perceval, President of the United Nations Security Council. 21 August 2013. Document QUN/482/2013.

[32] Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013. The White House Office of the Press Secretary. August 30, 2013.

https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/30/government-assessment-syrian-government-s-use-chemical-weapons-august-21

[33] McGregor R. Obama Signals Shift in Strategy / R. McGregor // Financial Times. 2013, 27 August.

[34] Knowlton B. Western Leaders Prepare their Nations for an Attack / B. Knowlton // International Herald Tribune. 2013. 28 August.

[35] Shanker T. Obama Weights Targets in Syria / T. Shanker // International Herald Tribune. 2013. 28 August.

[36] Allemand A. Cibler les Sites Chimique? Impensable / A. Allemand // Tribune de Genève. 2013. 28 Août.

[37] Ziadeh R. Decision Time on Syria / R. Ziadeh // International Herald Tribune. 2013. 28 August.

[38] Haass R. America Must Respond to the Atrocities in Syria / R. Haass // Financial Times. 2013. 23 August.

[39] No Time to Turn a Blind Eye to Syria // Financial Times. 2013. 23 August.

[40] Ziadeh R. Decision Time on Syria / R. Ziadeh // International Herald Tribune. 2013. 28 August.

[41] Alman A. Samantha Power: Syrian President Has Used Chemical Weapons / A. Alman // Huffington Post. 2013. 28 August.

[42] Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack. New Evidence based on Rocket Analysis, Witness Accounts. Human Rights Watch. 10 September 2013. P.21.

[43] Speech and answers to questions from the mass media by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during the press conference on the topic of chemical weapons in Syria and the situation around the Syrian Arab Republic, Moscow, 26 August 2013.

https://www.mid.ru/web/guest/foreign_policy/international_safety/conflicts/-/asset_publisher/xIEMTQ3OvzcA/content/id/98738

[44] The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.43.

[45] The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.43.

[46] Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. The Chemical Attack on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.44.

[47] The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.39.

[48] Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. The Chemical Attack on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross. International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.22.

[49] The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria // International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.23.

[50] The Chemical Attacks on East Ghouta to Justify Military Right to Protect Intervention in Syria. — International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights. 2013. P.18.

[51] Arian Lee. Seymour Hersh Alleges Obama Administration Lied on Syria Gas Attack / Lee Arian.

https://news.yahoo.com/seymour-hersh-alleges-obama-administration-lied-syria-gas-204437397.html

[52] Chivers J. New Study Refines View of Sarin Attacks in Syria / J. Chivers // The New York Times. 2013. 28 December.

[53] The Strategic Significance of Syrian Regime’s Chemical Attacks (2014). May.

https://www.academia.edu/15074054/The_Strategic_Significance_of_Syrian_Regimes_Chemical_Attacks_2014_

[54] Mezzofiore G. Syria: Chemical Attack in Ghouta ‘an Accident Caused by Free Syrian Army / G. Mezzofiore. 21 August 2013.

https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/syria-chemical-attack-accident-caused-free-syrian-500506

[55] Gavlak D. Syrian in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack / D. Gavlak. 29 August 2013.

[56] Bodansky Y. Did the White House Help Plan the Syrian Chemical Attack? / Y. Bodansky. 1 September 2013.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/did-the-white-house-help-plan-the-syrian-chemical-attack/5347542

[57] Barthe B. Syrie : la Mosaïque Rebelle, des Groupes aux Intérêts Parfois Opposés / B. Barthe // Le Monde. 2013. 27 Septembre.

[58] Allemand A. Les Rebelles Syriens Ont Utilisé du Gaz Sarin / A. Allemand // Tribune de Genève. 2013, 7 mai.

[59] Press release from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria (chemical weapons). 6 May 2013.

https://newsarchive.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13298&LangID=E

[60] United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. 13 December 2013. UN Document A/68/663-S/2013/735. P.21.

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