chemical

The outrage and empathy on behalf of the civilians in Syria that was expressed by politicians and media personalities alike when they found an opportunity to blame a chemical attack on Assad’s government was a distant memory this week. Instead, reports that a US-backed coalition dropped a cluster of airstrikes containing illegal chemicals on a city housing 200,000 people was almost completely ignored by western media.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) broke into the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa for the first time on Tuesday. While popular outlets such as Reuters reported that “as artillery and coalition aircraft pounded targets in the city, SDF fighters moved in small groups into the district,” there were some key aspects they appeared to leave out.

International outlets and witnesses on Twitter noted that some of the airstrikes resembled cluster bombs or white phosphorus, both of which are internationally banned on residential areas.

Xinhua News, China’s state press agency, reported that Tens of civilians were killed on Thursday when the U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syria’s northern city of Raqqa with white phosphorus,” citing a report from Syria’s Sham FM radio.

Russia’s Riafan.ru reported that “Coalition forces led by the United States of America shell Raqqa and suburbs of white phosphorus munitions,” citing reports on Twitter, which said the U.S.-backed coalition conducted 20 air raids.

Although the total number of civilian deaths has not been confirmed, early reports suggest that nearly 50 people were killed. The U.S. has yet to acknowledge whether white phosphorus was used during the raids.

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White phosphorus is described as an “incendiary and toxic chemical substance used as a filler in a number of different munitions that can be employed for a variety of military purposes.”

The chemical was banned internationally after the 1980 Protocol on Incendiary Weapons restricted the “use of incendiary weapons as a means or method of warfare during armed conflict.”

The use of chemical weapons is clearly prohibited in international armed conflicts. The International Committee of the Red Cross noted that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

If the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are successful in regaining control of Raqqa from ISIS, then the question remains of who will control the city moving forward. The SDF announced plans in April to run the city using a civilian council—with the help of more than 3,000 U.S. ground troops—which would further a divided Syria, and would keep the U.S. is at odds with Assad’s government.

The same president who claimed to be heartbroken over the “innocent babies” who were reportedly killed in April in a chemical attack that was immediately blamed on Assad’s government—despite evidence that suggested otherwise—has said nothing about the reports that suggest his country could be guilty of the same crime he condemned.

While it is not likely that the United States will fully address the reports, it should be noted that by remaining silent, the mainstream media is also reminding the public of its hypocritical nature.

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The same MSM that provides obsessive coverage of everything President Trump posts on Twitter, has seemingly ignored the flurry of Tweets from various users suggesting the use of chemical weapons by a U.S.-backed coalition.

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Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.
  • Tim Hadfield

    The USA is evil, and we go along with their evil, like good little dogs.

    • Steve Rusk

      Conservatives are only the obvious hypocrites, Liberals are the subtle, devious ones.

  • PJ London

    Notice to Trump : As Commander in Chief you are personally responsible for the war-crimes that are committed by the troops under the command of the US army.
    You will be personally held responsible at the the war crime trial, that will be held as soon as your empire is defeated.
    And yes it will be within your lifetime.
    The judges will don the black caps and pronounce “Hang by the neck until dead.”
    Just imagine that it was Melania and Barron forced to live in Raqqa.
    You are some sick person.

    • billdeserthills

      Good One!
      You are really very funny, can you name any president ever who was punished for enriching the bankers?

      • PJ London

        Milosovic.

        • junktex

          Milosevic was ultimately proven innocent.

          • PJ London

            ‘We never said you did it, we said we are gong to blame you.’

  • Lorne Allen

    White Phosphorous is not a chemical weapon. It is a chemical and is used to create a smokescreen. Gasoline is a chemical but it is not a chemical weapon. White Phosphorous, like gasoline, should not be discharged on to people, especially civilians. War is Hell.

    • PJ London

      ‘No it’s not forbidden by the CWC if it is used within the context of a military application which does not require or does not intend to use the toxic properties of white phosphorus. White phosphorus is normally used to produce smoke, to camouflage movement.
      Comment : [In this case, that was clearly not the purpose]
      If that is the purpose for which the white phosphorus is used, then that is considered under the convention legitimate use.

      If on the other hand the toxic properties of white phosphorus are specifically intended to be used as a weapon, that of course is prohibited, because the way the convention is structured or the way it is in fact applied, any chemicals used against humans or animals that cause harm or death through the toxic properties of the chemical are considered chemical weapons.’

      ‘The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, not the Chemical Weapons Convention, goes on, in its Protocol III, to prohibit the use of all air-delivered incendiary weapons against civilian populations, or for indiscriminate incendiary attacks against military forces co-located with civilians.’

      Comment : [ Whilst its use is not banned under Chemical Weapon conventions, it is banned in these circumstances, under Conventional Weapon conventions such as the Geneva Convention.]

      ‘The use of this weapon may technically have been legal, but its effects are such that it will hand a propaganda victory to the insurgency. The denial of use followed by the admission will simply convince the doubters that there was something to hide.’

      ‘… the 1999 ST 100-3 Battle Book, a student text published by the U.S. Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, states that “It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets’

  • Brian King

    msm where art thou