Reuters reports: Russia suggested on Wednesday it would publicly stand by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite outrage over a chemical weapons attack, setting Donald Trump’s new U.S. administration on course for a head-on diplomatic collision with Moscow.
Western countries including the United States blamed Assad’s armed forces for the chemical attack, which choked scores of people to death in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in a rebel-held area of northern Syria hit by government air strikes.
Washington said it believed the deaths were caused by sarin nerve gas dropped by Syrian aircraft. But Moscow offered an alternative explanation that could shield Assad: it said it believed poison gas had leaked from a rebel chemical weapons depot struck by Syrian bombs.
Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, called the Russian statement a “lie”.
“Everyone saw the plane while it was bombing with gas,” he told Reuters from northwestern Syria.
“Likewise, all the civilians in the area know that there are no military positions there, or places for the manufacture (of weapons). The various factions of the opposition are not capable of producing these substances.” [Continue reading…]
In 2013, after Seymour Hersh ignorantly claimed, “It’s not hard to make sarin. You could mix it in the backyard. Two chemicals melded together,” I wrote a post on how in fact it’s not easy to make sarin.