chemical

Syria — Amid a blackout by U.S. corporate media — who are now unironically waging a war against ‘fake news’ — Syria handed over evidence to an international watchdog organization reportedly proving rebels used chemical weapons against civilians.

Syrian authorities gave documents and samples evincing the use of mustard gas by rebels to the mission of the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) — a group of eight experts from the United States, the U.K., Australia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, who have been stationed and working in Damascus at the behest of the Syrian government since December 12.

“We have provided all the documents to the mission, they were vetted and accepted,” Samer Abbas, spokesman for the Syrian National Authority monitoring the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, said in a statement. “The mission will come to Syria one more time to collect samples, which will be subsequently analyzed.”

In January, the samples will be delivered to the Hague — site of OPCW headquarters — via a charter flight.

In an email, OPCW confirmed to The Free Thought Project it had indeed received the materials from Syrian authorities, stating,

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Members of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) were recently deployed to the Syrian Arab Republic where they received materials from the Syrian Authorities that are reportedly related to alleged use of chemical weapons in the area of Aleppo. The FFM will analyse these materials in accordance with the established procedures and report the outcome to the States Parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Further plans of the FFM cannot be shared due to operational reasons.

An undetonated, homemade 240-millimeter mortar shell containing the chemical agent, sulfur mustard, was found in the village of Maarat Umm Hawsh in Aleppo province by Russian experts removing mines in the area on November 16. According to reports from Russian media, chemical experts tested and confirmed the presence of the liquid form of mustard gas — which has been banned since 1923.

Investigators believe the shell had been used in an attack on the village on September 16, when around 40 people were injured and later had to be treated for symptoms of mustard gas poisoning at a military hospital in Damascus.

In late November, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov asserted, “Russian specialists found that militants in eastern Aleppo used ammunition with poisonous substances, with the ammo targeting western Aleppo. The collected samples leave no doubt that it’s a toxic agent.”

Russia has pleaded with OPCW to investigate its evidence of chemical weapons — until now, to no avail — due to what is believed to be pressure from the West and U.S.

As the OPCW Director-General said in a recent statement on allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria, all State parties “to the Chemical Weapons Convention deem the use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances as reprehensible and wholly contrary to the legal norms established by the international community.”

While the West continues to accuse the Bashar al-Assad Syrian government of using chemical weapons against civilians — an allegation vehemently denied by both Syria and its ally, Russia — no solid evidence has yet been discovered suggesting as much. Daesh, the self-titled Islamic State, is widely suspected to have used chemical weapons; but the evidence given to the OPCW mission was believed to have been used by anti-government rebels — as in, the laughably-monikered ‘moderate rebel’ terrorists trained and supported by the U.S. to fight the former.

“Basically, there have been many allegations of chemical use by the Syrian government; it’s been used for numerous years to demonize the Syrian government,” Rick Sterling of Syria Solidarity told RT. “When there have been serious investigations, for example, in spring 2013, the UN official Carla del Ponte said that the evidence pointed to the rebels having used it, despite Western media claiming that it was clearly the Syrian government. There have been numerous accusations that the Syrian government used chlorine gas, including the times when the chlorine gas manufacturing plant was actually controlled by [al-Qaeda offshoot al-] Nusra. So, there’s been a steady stream of accusations against the Syrian government, and it’s good to see this emerging.”

In August, the United States tacitly admitted to supporting al-Nusra Front during an awkward press conference in which Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook evaded direct answers but hinted American forces might shoot down Russian or Syrian jets attempting to target al-Nusra fighters.

Then, the following month, al-Nusra commander Abu Al Ezz flatly told a German media outlet, “The Americans are on our side.”

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Thus, U.S. support for anti-Syrian government rebels has by degrees included acceptance of the use of toxic chemical agents on civilians trapped in the morass — all because the goal of regime change has not been reconsidered.

For those unfamiliar with mustard gas, it can be horrifically harmful to humans. According to the OPCW website:

“Mustard agent was produced for the first time in 1822 but its harmful effects were not discovered until 1860. Mustard agent was first used as a CW agent during the latter part of the First World War and caused lung and eye injuries to a very large number of soldiers. Many of them still suffered pain 30-40 years after they had been exposed, mainly as a result of injuries to the eyes and chronic respiratory disorders […]

“Mustard agents are usually classified as ‘blistering agents’ owing to the similarity of the wounds caused by these substances resembling burns and blisters. However, since mustard agents also cause severe damage to the eyes, respiratory system and internal organs, they should preferably be described as ‘blistering and tissue-injuring agents’. Normal mustard agent, bis-(2-chloroethyl)sulphide, reacts with a large number of biological molecules. The effect of mustard agent is delayed and the first symptoms do not occur until 2-24 hours after exposure.”

Mustard gas, devastatingly, isn’t the only nightmarish chemical used against Syrian civilians.

“Officers from the Russian Radiological, Chemical and Biological Defense troops in Syria previously produced evidence of chlorine and white phosphorus usage by militants in Aleppo province. In November, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the expert found ‘nine selected samples which confirmed [that the terrorists] had used chlorine and white phosphorus munitions to fill their ammunition.’ The traces of the agents were on the fragments of mines, shells and soil from the craters to the southwest of Aleppo, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said,” according to RT.

Civilians are now fleeing Aleppo in droves, thanks to the efforts of Russia and Syria — although U.S. and the West have attempted to fully propagandize the situation and have criminally misrepresented what is actually taking place. Flagrantly false reports of genocide and brutality by Syrian government forces against civilians are thought to be the last gasps of the American regime change agenda in Syria — but if Russia is correct, and the Hague agrees about the use of mustard gas against innocent people, the whole plot could be for naught.

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Claire Bernish began writing as an independent, investigative journalist in 2015, with works published and republished around the world. Not one to hold back, Claire’s particular areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, analysis of international affairs, and everything pertaining to transparency and thwarting censorship. To keep up with the latest uncensored news, follow her on Facebook or Twitter: @Subversive_Pen.