If a chemical weapons “attack” comes to pass in the place it has been predicted, it would be the first such provocation blamed on Assad to take place in territory occupied by a foreign power, likely triggering an intensified military response from the U.S.
by Whitney Webb
Though last month’s unilateral bombing of Syria by the U.S., U.K. and France came and went, the threat of foreign military intervention targeting the Syrian government remains, particularly given Syria’s success in defeating the foreign-funded terrorist proxies that have prolonged the Syrian conflict for seven long years.
While Israel seems to have taken it upon itself to militarily intervene in Syria to prevent the Syrian government from continuing to reclaim its lost territory, the other major powers that have long sought the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have seemed to step back from intervening in Syria, unless another chemical weapons attack were to take place and be blamed on Assad.
For that reason, a recent article, published in early May by Russian news agency RIA Novosti, should raise concern, as it exposes alleged plans for another gas-attack provocation in Syria. According to the report, preparations for a staged chemical weapons attack began late last month as civilians were relocated to a territory near Jafra oil field in Eastern Syria, where they will participate in a staged filming of a chemical-weapons attack scene. According to South Front, a U.S. military garrison was recently established in this area. The report, based on the testimony of an anonymous member of the Syrian security services, claimed that an attack was being planned by U.S. security services and would employ “prohibited substances” against a group of civilians.
The source also noted that the operation itself was being led by a former Daesh (ISIS) militant, Mishan Idris Hamash. Though this may seem unusual, the U.S. and its proxy force in Eastern Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have been known to collaborate with former Daesh forces, including militias composed of former Daesh fighters under the SDF banner.
If this report is true, it would not be the first time that such warnings were made public prior to chemical weapons attacks in Syria that were ultimately blamed on the Syrian government. For instance, in late March, the Russian Ministry of Defense had warned that a chemical weapons “provocation” was being planned in Eastern Ghouta by rebel groups in the area as part of a last-ditch attempt to prevent being run out of the Damascus suburb by the Syrian Arab Army. Just a few weeks later, a chemical weapons attack in Douma – widely believed to have been staged – took place and, prior to any investigation, prompted the U.S., U.K. and France to bomb the Syrian government, which they blamed for the attack.
In addition, once Eastern Ghouta had returned to Syrian government control, several chemical weapon laboratories under rebel control were uncovered, revealing that the Syrian rebels are in possession of chemical weapons while chemical weapons stockpiles of the Syrian government were destroyed under international supervision in 2013.