Iran thinks rebels behind chemical attack in Syria

Jerusalem Post:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday for the first time that chemical weapons had killed people in ally Syria and called for the international community to prevent their use.

Rouhani stopped short of saying who he thought had used the arms, but Iran's Foreign Ministry on Saturday said evidence pointed to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Tehran has previously accused Syrian rebels of being behind what it called suspected chemical attacks.

Rouhani did not mention the international furor around Syrian opposition reports that government forces had killed as many as 1,000 civilians with gas in Damascus on Wednesday.

"Many of the innocent people of Syria have been injured and martyred by chemical agents and this is unfortunate," recently elected Rouhani was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

"We completely and strongly condemn the use of chemical weapons, because the Islamic Republic of Iran is itself a victim of chemical weapons," he said, according to the agency.

Iran suffered chemical weapons attacks by Iraqi forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

"The Islamic Republic gives notice to the international community to use all its might to prevent the use of these weapons anywhere in the world, especially in Syria," Mehr news agency quoted Rouhani as saying.

Syria's government denies using such weapons and Iran's foreign minister said on Thursday that groups fighting Assad's forces in a two-year-old rebellion must have been behind what he then said was just a suspected gas attack.

Russia, another major ally of the Syrian government, has suggested rebels could be behind the attack.
There is much more.

It would not surprise me if either side used the weapons.  They appear to be from the government stockpile, but things in the country are such that the rebels could have gotten access to them too.   Their use showed just how indiscriminate the weapons can be creating a high number of non combatant casualties.  Al Qaeda is known for its "involuntary martyr" strategy in an attempt to create chaos.  The attack with the UN observers in the area also suggest someone was trying to call attention to Syrian use of the weapons.  Within days of the attack there was also a rocket attack on Israel from Lebanon in an attempt to pull the Israelis into the conflict.


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