Evidence Calls Western Narrative About Syrian Chemical Attack Into Question
- Evidence Calls Western Narrative About Syrian Chemical Attack Into Question
The April 4th, 2017 incident at Khan Sheikhoun has provoked an emotional response around the world after images began to emerge showing civilian adults and children apparently suffering from the effects of chemical weapons. President Donald Trump has stated that the attack has totally changed his views towards the Syrian civil war, and may alter his intended strategy there.
Although Western media immediately accused Bashar al-Assad of participating in a gas attack against his own people, the evidence indicates that the intended target was not immediately in a civilian area and was in fact a location where Syrian White Helmets were on the scene with rebel groups at what observers have claimed was a storage facility for conventional and chemical munitions. Additionally, evidence indicates that rebel groups may have had prior knowledge of the attack and knew that there was a risk of chemical weapons being unleashed. The attack also came in the aftermath of a trip by Senator John McCain to meet with groups known to associate with radical jihadist factions in Syria, at a time when the United States government has been engulfed in a power struggle between different political factions who disagree strongly over what should be appropriate policy in regards to the Syrian civil war.
I. Evidence From Khan Sheikhoun Does Not Support Assertions Of Airborne Chemical Weapons Use
Evidence which has emerged in the aftermath of the attack at Khan Sheikhoun indicates that not only was the nature of the attack misreported by the media, but that certain individuals on the ground in Syria may have had foreknowledge of the attack up to several days before it happened. On April 3rd, 2017, an anti-Assad journalist tweeted that the next day he would be launching a media campaign to cover airstrikes on the Hama countryside, including the use of chemical weapons. It is not clear how the reporter was able to know that chemical weapons would be used an entire day before the attacks occurred.
Observers further noted that on April 1st, 2017, a doctor on the ground in Khan Sheikhoun, Dr. Shajul Islam, had received several shipments of gas masks in the days running up to the chemical incident. The revelations on Twitter fueled speculation that opposition figures were aware of the chemical attack days before it actually happened, contesting the narrative that the Syrian government was responsible. Daily Mail has reported that Dr. Shajul Islam was at one point sought by the British government in connection with the abduction of two journalists in Syria, and security services have stated that Islam and his brother may have had ties to ISIS executioner “Jihadi John.”
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