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New ‘evidence’ may show rebel forces behind Sarin attack, not Syrian regime


Russia claims to have received ‘evidence’, which it will hand over to the UN security council, implicating the Free Syrian Army behind the August 21st Sarin attack

By Muneer Huda, Staff Writer

As if the situation in Syria wasn’t complicated enough, now Russia claims to have proof showing that the Syrian rebels were behind the August 21st Sarin attack.

Things have been topsy-turvy in the political world in and around Syria for the last few weeks. First, a US attack seemed imminent after traces of Sarin were found in the attack near Damascus. But President Barrack Obama decided to put military action to the vote, where it seemed likely he would be defeated in congress. In another turn of events, Russia, Syria’s strongest ally in the UN, proposed an alternative: a resolution that would see Syria gives up its stash of chemical weapons.

While US military action against Syria is still possible, negotiations over the draft resolution for the chemical weapons handover have hit a wall. Britain, France and the US want the resolution to clearly state the possibility of military action should Syria fail to comply with the terms. However, Russia wants the option of an alternative diplomatic resolution.

Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, stated the need for strong action against Syria: “For a crime of this magnitude, it is not enough to say ‘chemical weapons were used,’ any more than it would have been enough to say that ‘machetes were used’ in Rwanda in 1994. We must condemn the user.”

The US’s stance against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is clear. But now that Russia claims to have proof implicating the rebel forces behind the Sarin attack, it could change everyone’s stance. If there is substantial evidence against the rebel forces, this would put the US and other nations that have been opposed to President Assad’s regime in a tight position. The US was already supporting rebel troops in other ways prior to the August 21st incident. What will President Obama do if it’s shown that it was the rebel troops that crossed his redline and not the Syrian regime?

But it is unlikely that Russia will have sufficient proof in favour of the regime. Several independent investigations, including one conducted by the Human Rights Watch, have already stated that evidence suggests Syria’s regime to be behind the attack. And while the UN report released on Monday doesn’t point the finger at President Assad’s troops directly, others seem to think it is implicit in the report. “The technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack,” says Samantha Powers.

Meanwhile, people continue to die in Syria every day, with over a 100,000 dead and millions displaced from their homes.

Muneer Huda writes out of Waterloo, Ontario. He enjoys all kinds of writing, but has a special love for speculative fiction. He aspires to support himself solely through his writing one day. http://muneerhuda.com

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