In the early hours of Sunday, the news headlines emerged to report a chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, with the anti-Damascus Western and Arab media pointing the fingers of blame at the Syrian government without giving any evidence. To the moment, there are no reliable reports explaining how the attack took place and how many people have died.
The alleged incident comes while on the Eastern Ghouta while firstly, the Syrian army has made considerable advancement against the terrorists in Ghouta frontlines, located in the east of the capital Damascus, with Douma being last bastion of Jaysh al-Islam terrorist group; and secondly, a Russian mediation contributed to an agreement between the central government and the armed group according to which the militants were planned to leave Douma towards Jarabulus in northern province of Aleppo. However, the terrorists breached the relocation deal by carrying out mortar attacks on the capital on Saturday, killing four people, and injuring 30 others.
A couple of days earlier, Russia had warned about a false-flag chemical attack scenario by the terrorists to put the blame on the government. Such a failed scenario is the last desperate effort of the takfiri terrorists who wish stay longer in Syria. The Year 2018, in fact, marked the start of the end of the terrorist factions in the crisis-hit country. Apparently aware of the fact that they have no place in the future Syrian equations, these groups are struggling to engage the world community in a confrontation of the government to help turn the tide to their advantage. But such a scenario was tested several times and met its failure to their disappointment, making it easy to envision their imminent obliteration.
No need for unconventional weapons amid anti-terror progression
The most substantial reasoning to refuse the terrorist claims about the government’s use of chemical weapons is Damascus’s upper hand in the battlefield and failure of the armed groups to provide valid evidence for their past claims about use of unconventional weapons by the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
In the past few weeks, the government troops regained control of large pockets of territory in Eastern Ghouta, held by the anti-government armed groups for nearly over five years. They have, additionally, tightened their siege on Douma. Russian-brokered agreement, in place until April 5, opened the way for thousands of militants and their families to leave the encircled outskirt, while others are still in the city as the negotiations reached a dead end. While the Damascus government is closer than ever to the full recapture of the Eastern Ghouta, including Douma, the claims about the Syrian forces use of unconventional arms do not look rational.
Over the past few years, the government has been facing Western accusations of using chemical weapons against the civilians. But none of the allegations was so far supported by any piece of evidence. The Russians, on the other side, even blame the terrorists for such attacks. The Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, addressing his ministry’s chiefs, said on March 21 “the possibility of the use of chemical agents by militants persists with a view to accusing Syrian troops of using chemical weapons in the future. Three such attempts have been foiled over the past week.” He said that the terrorists wanted to blame the attacks on the Syrian armed forces.
Iran and Russia argue the over the past few years the militants several times launched poisonous gas attacks on the civilians as well as the army personnel, killing dozens and injuring more. They deny that the Syrian government was behind the attacks as it fully destroyed its chemical weapons in 2013 under international supervision. The early warnings make it clear that Iran and Russia were able to predict such terrorist scenario and have apparently prepared measures to counter the impacts.
Damascus strongly rejects it was responsible
The Syrian government has strongly rejected that it was the side to blame for the incident, saying that the Jaysh al-Islam group was the party behind it because such scenario could serve its agenda as it struggles for presence in the Damascus suburban areas. Soon after Western media reports about the development, the Syrian state media reflected the denials of the government officials who held the terrorists accountable.
Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), citing sources in the government, maintained that Jaysh al-Islam which is in control of Douma is spreading the fake news about the nerve agent attacks in a bid to overshadow the fast progress of the army forces in the area. Syria Now news website has reported that the terrorists are disintegrating as the army strikes continue. This situation, the news outlet stated, was the key drive behind the Jaysh al-Islam media wing to charge the Syrian forces with the use of chemical weapons in an effort to force-stop the operation by arousing international solidarity. The news website continued that the army pressed forward with its strong recapture push and that it did not need unconventional weapons, and that this was a terrorist propaganda.
Other media outlets quoted officials at the Syrian government as saying that chemical attacks scenarios and putting the blame on Damascus comes while the terrorists and their backers have failed to make gains from similar propaganda in the past in other areas as the Syrian Arab Army is firmly resolved to put an end to the terrorism in each and every spot of Syria.
West’s fishing in troubled waters
The Russian-American contest in Syria is vividly going in favor of Moscow. Soon after word of the chemical attack spread, the US rushed to follow the case seriously and of course this time, too, the Syrian government was in the center of the Washington blame. Americans are desperately in the quest for legitimate intervention in Syria possibly for another strike against government targets. Last year, Trump ordered missile strikes on Syrian government’s Sharayat air base short after allegations of chemical weapons attack in Khan Shaykhun town in Idlib.
The US Department issued a statement on April 7, saying “We continue to closely follow disturbing reports on April 7 regarding another alleged chemical weapons attack, this time targeting a hospital in Duma, Syria. These reports, if confirmed, are horrifying and demand an immediate response by the international community.”
The State Department further stated that the government’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people is not in dispute, and added that Russia with its “unwavering support” ultimately bears responsibility for the attack against the civilians. Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the State Department, told the media that the world community should immediately act if the attack is confirmed. The US remarks, the experts believe, signal Washington’s will to build the ground for another anti-Damascus military action under the ruse of chemical weapons use.