Almost exactly a year after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad insisted that a gas attack carried out by government forces on civilians was a “fabrication,” another horrific, suspected chemical attack has only made conditions more miserable for civilians caught in the country’s civil war. On Sunday, the BBC reported that over 70 civilians have died and scores more were wounded from a helicopter-dropped barrel bomb (thought to contain the nerve agent Sarin) in Ghouta, a rebel-held town in eastern Syria.
The number of dead is expected to rise as rescuers dig through rubble in the coming days. CNN describes graphic photos (which have not yet been authenticated) of dead victims, many who are children, and doctors have reportedly witnessed convulsing and paralyzed patients at hospitals. Again, Syria is calling these reports fake (last April, some pro-government conspiracy theorists said those photos were staged by the “deep state” as a false flag).
However, the U.S. State Department has swiftly condemned the Assad regime for this new attack and blamed main Syrian ally Russia (which is also calling the attack a “fabrication”). The U.S. says Russia “ultimately bears responsibility” for this attack:
“We have seen multiple, very disturbing reports this afternoon regarding another possible CW (chemical weapons) attack near a hospital in Douma, Syria. The regime’s history of using chemical weapons against its own people (is) not in dispute, and in fact began with a sarin gas attack in Eastern Ghouta on August 21, 2013 which killed over 1,000 Syrians.
“As we’ve said, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the brutal targeting of countless Syrians with chemical weapons. Russia’s protection of the Assad regime and failure to stop the use of chemical weapons in Syria calls into question its commitment to resolving the overall crisis.”
Rex Tillerson previously called Russia “incompetent” for failing as guarantor in holding Syria to its 2013 agreement to destroy its chemical weapons, and previous investigations have dug into how Russia has failed to curb the Syrian government’s infatuation with attacking its own people.
The Associated Press has tweeted that rebels have surrendered their hold on Ghouta after this attack on civilians. Yet there will likely be more U.S. retaliation, as with Trump’s previous missile strike on a Syrian airbase, which led to Russia teaming up with Iran with a threat if Trump decided to cross red lines again.
On Twitter, Trump has expressed outrage for this atrocity, yet he also blamed President Obama for failing to take out “Animal Assad” years ago.