Syrian chem wep hype a ‘cover-up for rebels using chemical weapons’
Recently, the US, the UK and Israel have repeatedly brought the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces into the spotlight. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu had to order his ministers to cease making public comments on the Syrian conflict, reportedly not to give the impression of Israel openly pushing for an armed intervention in Syria.
A London-based member of the Syrian Social Club Ammar Waqaf believes that the hype around the stalled investigation over chemical weapons might be serving as a cover-up for the use of such weapons by the Syrian rebels, as well as a distraction from the fact that Al-Qaeda affiliates are fighting side by side with the rebels in Syria.
RT:What do you make of the latest rebel tactics in their fight against Pro-Assad officials?
Ammar Waqaf: What we’ve seen in the past few weeks really is certain advances made by Syrian army in areas around Damascus, encircling the rebels in area west of Homs near the Lebanese border. Probably, had the Prime Minister been assassinated today, that would have given those rebels a large boost of morale… The tactics have always been there, you know: let’s get rid of some top officials of the Syrian government, and let’s give some people on the ground that morale to continue to fight against the Syrian army and the Syrian government.
RT:Massive bombings, like today’s, have been a trademark of Islamist radicals fighting alongside the Syrian rebels. Just how big is the role of extremists in the Syrian conflict today?
AW: Since the video that was issued by [current Al-Qaeda leader] Ayman al-Zawahiri in July 2011, only a few months into the crisis, calling for jihad and calling for providing aid to “brethren” in Syria against the “tyrant,” there have been many attacks. The first suicide bomb took place only five months after that specific call. That call wasn’t taken seriously by the international community… [With] the first few suicide bombs killing lots of civilians, there was some finger-pointing at the regime being complicit – up until Jabhat al-Nusra, the known affiliate of Al-Qaeda now, started to take responsibility for such attacks.
Now, these people have their own agenda, this is not about forming a democracy in Syria, or having… any simple reform, or progressive state – this is about having a state where they have Islamic, Sharia rule, and paving the way to spread that across the borders to other areas in the Middle East and possibly in Europe. These people are gaining ground every day. Now, let us remind ourselves that there’re certain Western countries that support those people. A few days ago there was a video that was leaked of an assassination of an Iraqi army officers and personnel, and in that video we had suppressed guns being used, we had night vision goggles being used… And we know that the Western governments are supposedly supplying those things to the Syrian rebels. And this could show, really, that dealing with such extremist elements, you can never guarantee that these things are not going to cross border to neighboring countries, or even into your own.
RT:Britain and America are increasingly citing evidence that the government has used chemical weapons. Is that possibly a context for the future military action, even though it hasn’t been proven?
AW: The Syrian ambassador to the UN Dr. Bashar Ja’afari did point out that probably this was a prelude for pushing the UN for sending an inspector team like… into Iraq in 2003, which would have been a prelude for interpreting, and misinterpreting their findings and going in there. But what we see on the ground is that actually there’s increased evidence that the rebels are using chemical weapons. Not only few weeks ago in Khan al-Assal chemical weapons were used, and, evidently, the Syrian government did ask the UN to come and investigate. But actually a few days ago in the neighborhood of Barzeh – outskirts of Damascus – there was an attack on the army posts with chemical weapons and about 13 people were killed. And nobody is talking about this. What we hear is that there’s a suspicion that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons. This really might serve as a covering-up for the rebels using some chemical weapons.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.