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Syria: NO facts re gas attack as thousands flee

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Syria: NO facts re gas attack as thousands flee

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:52 pm

70 people killed countless wounded in a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun

Hundreds suffered symptoms consistent with reaction to a nerve agent after what the opposition and Western powers said was a Syrian government air strike on the area on Tuesday morning.

The Syrian military denied using any chemical agents, while its ally Russia said an air strike hit a rebel depot full of chemical munitions.

What happened?

Activists and witnesses say warplanes attacked Khan Sheikhoun, about 50km (30 miles) south of the city of Idlib, early on Tuesday, when many people were asleep.

Mariam Abu Khalil, a 14-year-old resident who was awake, told the New York Times that she had seen an aircraft drop a bomb on a one-storey building.

What was in the building?

Image

The explosion sent a yellow mushroom cloud into the air that stung her eyes. "It was like a winter fog," she said. She sheltered in her home, but recalled that when people started arriving to help the wounded, "they inhaled the gas and died".

Hussein Kayal, a photographer for the pro-opposition Edlib Media Center (EMC), told the Associated Press that he was awoken by the sound of an explosion at about 06:30 (03:30 GMT). When he reached the scene, there was no smell, he said. He found people lying on the floor, unable to move and with constricted pupils.

Mohammed Rasoul, the head of a charity ambulance service in Idlib, told the BBC that he heard about the attack at about 06:45 and that when his medics arrived 20 minutes later they found people, many of them children, choking in the street.

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), which funds hospitals in rebel-held Syria, said three of its staff in Khan Sheikhoun were affected while treating patients in the streets and had to be rushed to intensive care.

Victims experienced symptoms including redness of the eyes, foaming from the mouth, constricted pupils, blue facial skin and lips, severe shortness of breath and asphyxiation, it added.

A Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) medical team supporting the Bab al-Hawa hospital, near the Turkish border, confirmed similar symptoms in eight patients brought there from Khan Sheikhoun.
.............................................................................................................................

How many victims?

Rescue workers and opposition activists posted photos and videos on social media that showed victims exhibiting the symptoms described by doctors, as well as many people who had died.

The EMC posted photos showing what appeared to be at least seven dead children in the back of a pick-up truck. There were no visible traumatic injuries.

Another photo published by the group showed the bodies of at least 14 men, women and children on a street outside a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun.

The opposition-run health directorate in Idlib province, which is almost entirely controlled by rebel fighters and al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, says at least 70 people were killed, while the Syrian Observatory put the death toll at 72, including 20 children and 17 women.

However, some fear the death toll will rise, with the UOSSM saying at least 100 people had died and 400 others had suffered respiratory problems.

It was also not immediately clear whether anyone was killed when Khan Sheikhoun's main hospital was struck by a rocket on Tuesday afternoon.

The source of the projectile was not clear, but the EMC said warplanes had targeted clinics and the headquarters of the Syria Civil Defence, whose rescue workers are known as the White Helmets.
.............................................................................................................................

What were they exposed to?

The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that the likelihood of a chemical being responsible was "amplified by an apparent lack of external injuries reported in cases showing a rapid onset of similar symptoms, including acute respiratory distress as the main cause of death".

"Some cases appear to show additional signs consistent with exposure to organophosphorus chemicals, a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents."

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expressed serious concern about the reports and said a fact-finding mission was "in the process of gathering and analysing information from all available sources".

The OPCW will not be able to confirm anything until samples are tested at an accredited laboratory, but a doctor at a hospital in the town of Sarmin who treated some of the casualties believes it was the nerve agent Sarin.

"All the patients had the same symptoms - difficulty in breathing, weakness," Dr Abdulhai Tennari told the BBC. "They had very huge secretions in their respiratory tracts, which induced suffocation."

He noted that when the most serious cases were given an antidote for Sarin poisoning, atropine, their conditions became stable and they survived.

MSF said the patients' symptoms were "consistent with exposure to a neurotoxic agent such as Sarin". Its medical teams also reported that victims smelled of bleach, suggesting they had been exposed to chlorine as well.
.............................................................................................................................

What does the Syrian government say?

A Syrian military statement published by state media categorically denied the use of any chemical or toxic substance" in Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday, adding: "It has never used them, anytime, anywhere, and will not do so in the future."

Russia, which has carried out air strikes in support of President Assad since 2015, meanwhile said the Syrian air force had struck Khan Sheikhoun "between 11:30am and 12:30pm local time" on Tuesday, but that the target had been "a large terrorist ammunition depot" on its eastern outskirts.

"On the territory of the depot, there were workshops which produced chemical warfare munitions," it added, without providing any evidence. "Terrorists had been transporting chemical munitions from this largest arsenal to the territory of Iraq."

The ministry said the chemical munitions had also been used during the final stages of the battle for control of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo last autumn, asserting that the symptoms of the victims were "the same".
.............................................................................................................................

Is Russia's explanation credible?

Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer of the British Armed Forces Joint Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) Regiment, said it was "pretty fanciful".

"Axiomatically, if you blow up Sarin, you destroy it," he told the BBC.

"It's very clear it's a Sarin attack," he added. "The view that it's an al-Qaeda or rebel stockpile of Sarin that's been blown up in an explosion, I think is completely unsustainable and completely untrue."

Mr de Bretton-Gordon also noted that chlorine was the only chemical believed to been used in attacks in Aleppo over the past year.

A recent report by Human Rights Watch said government helicopters had dropped bombs containing chlorine on rebel-held areas of Aleppo on at least eight occasions between 17 November and 13 December, killing nine civilians.

Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, called Russia's claim a "lie" and said rebel fighters did not have the capability to produce nerve agents.

The UK's representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, also told the Security Council that his country had seen nothing to suggest that any non-state actors in Syria had the sort of chemical weapons that would have been consistent with the symptoms.

Francois Delattre of France meanwhile said there was "no fire" after the air strike, even though a strike on an ammunition depot "would have caused a fire".

It was also not clear why there was several hours' difference between the time of the strike reported by multiple witnesses and that stated by Russia.

Moscow's short account gave no evidence for its suggestion that a group was sending chemical weaponry to Iraq. The so-called Islamic State group, which has used sulphur mustard in Syria and Iraq, is not present in Khan Sheikhoun.
.............................................................................................................................

What is Sarin?

Sarin is highly toxic and considered 20 times as deadly as cyanide.

As with all nerve agents, Sarin inhibits the action of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme, which deactivates signals that cause human nerve cells to fire. This blockage pushes nerves into a continual "on" state. The heart and other muscles - including those involved in breathing - spasm. Sufficient exposure can lead to death via asphyxiation within minutes.

Sarin is almost impossible to detect because it is a clear, colourless and tasteless liquid that has no odour in its purest form. It can also evaporate and spread through the air.

Link to Article - Photos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39500947
Last edited by Anthea on Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:45 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Syria: NO facts re gas attack as thousands flee

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Re: Syria chemical attack: What we are TOLD may not be true

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:06 pm

With recent scientific advancement - it is now possible to tell exactly where the Sarin comes from and, possibly, even which factory it was manufactured in.

The media should STOP it's speculating and finger pointing until the full results are known

All the media is doing, is increasing the tension in an already volatile situation X(

This is a war - war kills innocent people and innocent animals

The media only seems to notice when large numbers of innocent people are needlessly slaughtered in a single attack - they pay NO attention to all the THOUSANDS who are being slaughtered individually or in small groups X(
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Re: Syria chemical attack: What we are TOLD may not be true

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:47 pm

Chemical attack probe aided by presence of victims in Turkey

Investigators have rushed to Turkey to examine survivors of the chemical attack in neighboring Syria and collect samples that could reveal the nature of the toxins, the means of delivery and, ultimately, who was responsible for one of the war's most disturbing atrocities.

The victims' presence in Turkey offers a way around a problem that has bedeviled past investigations and sown confusion for policymakers: limited access to attack sites. The byproducts of the nerve agents suspected in Tuesday's attack can remain in the bloodstream long after the effects have worn off.

"Whoever wants to find out the truth and the weapon that was used has enough evidence" in Turkey, said Dr. Osama Abo Elezz, a physician from Khan Sheikhoun, the opposition-held town where the chemical attack took place. "This has not happened before."

In this photo taken on late Wednesday, April 5, 2017 and made available Thursday, April 6, World Health Organization experts work as they take part in an autopsy conducted in a hospital in Adana, Turkey. Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said autopsy results show Syrians were subjected to chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria, on Tuesday. (DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

But even with the heightened media attention and the anguish the attack has provoked in the highest offices in the U.S. and other Western capitals, the inspectors have been hamstrung by a thicket of rules and precautions that could frustrate even the most determined investigators.

Witnesses described pandemonium at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, where medical staff, terrified of exposure to toxins, donned hulking hazmat suits and pushed victims on gurneys to a decontamination tent. Even second-hand exposure to sarin, the nerve agent suspected in the attack, can produce symptoms leading to death.

In the past, Turkish authorities have not always facilitated weapons probes, according to two doctors who cross regularly from Turkey into Syria to treat patients.

"Turkey's hesitation is nothing new. Turkey has never wanted to be involved in the operations," said Dr. Hossam Nahas, the lead coordinator for the chemical weapons response team of the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, a network of Syrian doctors that provides support to medical staff in rebel-held areas.

Another physician, Dr. Zaher Sahloul, who is Syrian American, said he has detected little appetite among Turkish officials to investigate allegations of war crimes they were powerless to stop.

"If they think a sample is coming, they will block it," Sahloul told The Associated Press in the wake of reports last week that patients in the central Syrian town of Latamneh were arriving at hospitals with muscle spasms and foaming at the mouth - signs that a nerve agent might have been dispersed in a presumed government or Russian airstrike in the area.

That suspected attack was five days before the more dramatic assault Tuesday in Khan Sheikhoun. The quick global response to the latest attack, as well as the rush of victims to the Turkish border may have compelled Turkish authorities to open the border and offer greater cooperation, Sahloul said Thursday.

"There are several reasons for the change in response. The first is the scale of the attack and the fact that many victims are children and women. And the public outrage, globally," Sahloul told the AP by phone from the Chicago hospital where he works. "All of these factors have been changing the level of seriousness they take in these attacks."

In February, Russia and China vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing punitive actions against the Syrian government after a joint investigative team from the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons watchdog group concluded that the government carried out chlorine gas attacks three times in 2014 and 2015.

The OPCW, which has the international authority to investigate such incidents, said Thursday it was "already collecting and analyzing information" about Tuesday's attack, and had initiated contact with the Syrian authorities.

Residents, however, said they have yet to see any international observers arriving in Khan Sheikhoun. Video from the town, distributed Thursday by the activist-run Syrian Institute For Justice, showed residents wearing gloves and dust masks collecting samples from the crater where it was believed the missile carrying the toxins struck.

Nahas said it was crucial that inspectors be allowed into the attack site to counter claims by the Russian and Syrian governments the chemicals were released when a Syrian airstrike struck a rebel munitions and chemical factory.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said the Syrian government might authorize an investigative team to enter the town on the condition it travels from Damascus, not Turkey. He said Syria would also need assurances any investigation would be impartial and non-politicized.

The Turkish Health Ministry, meanwhile, said Thursday its own examinations of victims "suggest that the patients were exposed to ... sarin." It said it would allow the OPCW to take samples for its own investigation to The Hague, Netherlands.

The international chemical weapons watchdog sets the gold standard for chemical weapons investigations, but for many Syria observers, its work is frustratingly slow.

"I appreciate the international community have wanted to wait for the full due process and the full chain of evidence," said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former British army chemical weapons expert and director of Doctors Under Fire. "But that takes years, and we're not four years down the line from chemical weapons usage and it is now the norm."

To de Bretton-Gordon, as well as intelligence officials and political leaders in the West, it is already clear from video of the aftermath of Tuesday's attack that the victims were exposed to sarin gas.

"I'm absolutely convinced," Bretton-Gordon said. "For those who don't die immediately, it's the convulsions and pinpoint pupils. Because nerve agents basically attack your nerves and stop them working, which is why your eyes don't work. ... Because the nerve in the eye is dead."

Moreover, the government claim that it struck a rebel warehouse storing toxic gas does not hold water, he said. Sarin is not stable enough to withstand the intense heat or pressure of a bomb blast.

"That is how you destroy sarin - you burn it or you blow it up," he said.

Also, if patients were exposed to sarin from a warehouse explosion, he said, they would have shrapnel wounds, as well as symptoms of nerve poisoning.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/art ... urkey.html
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Re: Syria chemical attack: What we are TOLD may not be true

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:12 pm

if patients were exposed to sarin from a warehouse explosion, he said, they would have shrapnel wounds, as well as symptoms of nerve poisoning


UNTRUE - nerve gas covers a much larger area than shrapnel

The media should STOP spreading lies X(

FACT: If someone has inhaled sarin and survived they were certainly NOT close enough to the source to receive any injuries from shrapnel
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Re: Syria chemical attack: What we are TOLD may not be true

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:59 am

US launches cruise missiles at Syrian air base

Fifty Tomahawk cruise missiles launched at Syria after suspected chemical attack in Idlib province

The OPERATIVE word here is SUSPECTED, much as I personally believe some form of chemical weapon or mixture of chemicals killed all those people, I firmly believe testing would have revealed exactly what happened.

The chemicals used would not have dissipated within such a short peried of time without leaving any trace - in fact the chemicals used by Saddam Hussein to kill THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT KURDS have remained in the ground and cellars of HALABJA for almost 30 years

There is nowhere in the word that allows someone to take the life of another person because they suspect that person has done wrong X(

Much as I loath Assad I STRONGLY believe the US should have held off retaliating until AFTER all the testing had been completed

The United States has launched 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syrian government targets in retaliation for what the Trump administration charges was a Syrian government chemical weapons attack that killed scores of civilians, US officials say.

The US strikes hit the government-controlled Shayrat air base in the central province of Homs, where US officials say the Syrian military planes that dropped the chemicals had taken off.

The US missiles hit at 3:45am Friday morning in Syria and targeted the base's airstrips, hangars, control tower and ammunition areas, officials said.

Trump called on "civilised nations" to join US in "seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria".

"There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council," he said.

Syrian state TV said "American aggression targets Syrian military targets with a number of missiles".

We all HATED Saddam Hussein but he DID NOT have any weapons of mass destruction
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Re: Syria chemical attack: What we are TOLD may not be true

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:38 am

Is Trump slipping into Syria quagmire?

President Donald Trump drew his sharpest distinction from his predecessor, Barack Obama, by swiftly ordering a military response to the apparent use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this week.

Unlike President Obama, who hesitated in 2013 when confronted with a clear violation of his red line, Trump did not seek allies, ask Congress for permission, or evidently worry about long-term implications.

President Trump, in brief remarks at Mar-a-Lago following a dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping, indicated that the strikes targeted the Syrian military forces that carried out the Idlib chemical weapon attack, an action he suggested "crossed a lot of lines".

The response sent a message, that the use of chemical weapons in Syria carried consequences.

While a dramatic display of military force, it is unclear what impact it will have on the ground. Fifty-nine cruise missiles are unlikely to change Mr Assad's no-holds-barred approach to the six-year old Syrian civil war.

As Mr Obama discovered after negotiating the removal of most (but evidently not all) of Syria's chemical stocks in 2013, it still leaves the Assad regime free to use conventional weapons, and chlorine barrel bombs, to continue his assault on the so-called moderate Syrian opposition and civilians, backed fully by Russia and Iran.

Given that reality, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have already encouraged the president to go further and take Syria's air force "completely out of the fight".

Mr Obama feared just such a slippery slope. He chose to define America's vital interest in Syria more narrowly, defeating the so-called Islamic State without getting more deeply involved in another costly Middle East quagmire.

Ironically, until today, so did Mr Trump, who opposed military action in 2013 and was elected to fix problems in America, not Syria. As he acknowledged, he is now responsible for the situation in Syria. But beyond appearing decisive, it's doubtful he yet knows what to do about it.

P.J. Crowley is a former US Assistant Secretary of State. He is now a professor at The George Washington University and author of Red Line: American Foreign Policy in a Time of Fractured Politics and Failing States.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-39525268

In my valued opinion - crossing the 'Red Line' is something that happens every time an innocent person is killed X(
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Re: Syria chemical attack: US bomb without waiting for proof

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:07 pm

Syrian state media: 'Civilian casualties'

Nine civilians including four children were killed in the US missile attack on a Syrian airbase near the city of Homs on Friday, the Syrian state news agency Sana is reporting.

Sana said the civilians died in villages near the airbase and seven more people were wounded.

It is not clear whether this figure includes any of the six dead announced by the Syrian army earlier.

Separately, a Russian Defence Ministry spokesman said four Syrian soldiers had been killed in the airstrikes, two were still missing and six sustained burns.
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Re: Syria chemical attack: US bomb without waiting for proof

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:20 pm

World reaction to US missile attack

World leaders have been responding to US President Donald Trump's overnight missile strikes on a Syrian government air base suspected of launching a chemical attack on a rebel-held town on Tuesday.

Syria

President Bashar al-Assad's office has spoken out against the US airstrikes.

"What America did is nothing but foolish and irresponsible behaviour, which only reveals its short-sightedness and political and military blindness to reality," it said.

Russia

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian President Vladimir Putin, described the US air strikes on the Shayrat airbase as "an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext".

His statement said Washington's actions had "dealt a serious blow to Russian-US relations, which are already in a poor state".

The strikes would "create a major obstacle to the establishment of an international counterterrorist coalition", it added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called it "an act of aggression under a completely invented pretext".

"Everything resembles the situation of 2003, when the USA, the UK and several of their allies invaded Iraq without the UN Security Council's approval - a grave violation of international law - but at that point they at least tried to show some material evidence."

UK

The UK government said it fully supported the strikes and had been in close contact with the US government beforehand.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC: "The Americans believe they've exhausted all possible diplomatic and peaceful ways of dealing with the use by the regime of chemical weapons and they have been determined to try to prevent future attacks like this so they've taken this action today."

He said the US "hasn't declared war" on Syria and the UK had not been asked to get involved.

European Union

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, tweeted his reaction to the unilateral airstrikes.

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, said in a statement: "The US has informed the EU that these strikes were limited and seek to deter further chemical weapons atrocities."

"The repeated use of such weapons must be answered."

Nato

Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of defence alliance Nato, said in a statement: "The Syrian regime bears the full responsibility for this development.

"Any use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, cannot go unanswered, and those responsible must be held accountable."
France and Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande issued a joint statement in response to the US air strike.

It said: "President Assad alone bears the responsibility for this development. His repeated use of chemical weapons and his crimes against his own people demand sanctions which France and Germany already asked for in the summer of 2013 after the massacre at Ghouta."

Iran

A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, quoted by ISNA news agency, said: "Iran strongly condemns any such unilateral strikes ... such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria... and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region."

Israel

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement: "President Trump sent a strong and clear message today that the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated."

"Israel fully supports President Trump's decision and hopes that this message of resolve in the face of the Assad regime's horrific actions will resonate not only in Damascus, but in Tehran, Pyongyang and elsewhere."

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has said it fully supports the US military strikes, praising what it described as "the courageous decision" by US President Trump.

Turkey

Turkey's foreign ministry said on Friday it viewed US missile strikes against a Syrian air base "extremely positively" and added that Turkey would fully support steps that would ensure accountability for the Syrian regime.

Meanwhile Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman called for the creation of a no-fly zone and safe zones within Syria.

China

"What is urgent now is to avoid further deterioration of the situation," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a regular press briefing.

"We oppose use of chemical weapons by any country, organisation or individual in any circumstance, for any purpose."

Japan

The Japanese government has said it supports the US government's determination to oppose the spread and use of chemical weapons.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said: "We understand the US government's strikes this time are to prevent further deterioration of the situation."

He said he valued the president's "strong commitment" to "maintaining international order as well as peace and security with US alliances and the world".

Australia

"The Australian government strongly supports the swift and just response of the United States," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said.

"This was a calibrated, proportionate and targeted response. It sends a strong message to the Assad regime."

Italy

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that the US strikes were a "motivated response to a war crime" that the Syrian regime was responsible for.

Mr Gentiloni added that he hoped the strike "should accelerate chances of political negotiations for a long lasting solution" to the Syrian crisis.

Poland

Poland's President Andrzej Duda expressed his full support for the military operation in a statement.

"President Donald Trump's decision to attack one of the Syrian air bases was a reaction to the use by Assad's military regime of chemical weapons against civilians. The civilised world could not be indifferent to this act of unimaginable barbarity."
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:00 pm

UN emergency talks after US missile strikes

The UN Security Council has heard sharp exchanges over the US bombardment of a Syrian air base suspected of using chemical weapons.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged restraint as Russia accused the US of encouraging "terrorists" in the region with its unilateral actions.

Russia has promised to strengthen Syria's anti-aircraft defences.

US officials say the base was used to launch a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians on Tuesday.

In the first direct US military action against Syria's government, at least six people are reported to have been killed.

Idlib's opposition-run health authority says 89 people, including 33 children and 18 women, died in the suspected nerve gas attack in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. Syria denies using nerve gas.

Russia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Safronkov, told Friday's session in New York the US military's "illegitimate" missile strikes had encouraged "terrorists" in Syria.

"When you take your own path, this leads to horrible tragedies in the region," he told America.

US ambassador Nikki Haley said America had acted to ensure President Assad would never use chemical weapons again.

She blamed Iran and Russia for standing by the Syrian government when it committed crimes. "Strengthening Assad will only lead to more murders," she said.

The UK ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, said the US strikes were a "proportionate response to unspeakable acts".
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:15 am

Take your best shot, Donald: Syrian warplanes take off from airbase targeted by US cruise missiles just hours later as Assad mounts new attacks on town he gassed

    Syrian aircraft took off the the al-Shayrat military airfield on Friday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas nearby

    It came hours after the US launched Tomahawk missiles at the Syrian airfield

    New images from the DoD show how badly the airfield was damaged in Thursday's strike

    The satellite pictures show damaged and destroyed aircraft shelters and massive blast marks on the ground

    The US attack was in retaliation to Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas on Syrian civilians, killing 80, including kids

Syrian warplanes took off from the same airbase hit by US missiles on Friday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, including the town targeted in a chemical attack.

The aircraft took off from inside the Shayrat base just hours after the US strike and struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a a monitoring group.

The Syrian airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns.

The aircraft targeted territory controlled by the Islamic State jihadist group, which holds parts of the central Syrian province of Homs.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war using sources on the ground, could not specify whether they were Syrian or Russian planes, but said they were Sukhoi jets, which both Damascus and its ally Moscow use.

There were no reported injuries in Khan Sheikhoun but at least 10 people were killed in Hish, while a woman and two children died in Irbin, the Daily Beast reports.

The news came as images from the US Department of Defense showed how 59 powerful missiles obliterated the airfield that was allegedly being used by Bashar al-Assad's regime to mount chemical attacks.

Observers said al-Sharyat Air Base was 'almost completely destroyed' by the 1,000lb warheads in a 30-minute barrage of destruction that is said to have destroyed 20 planes, a dozen aircraft hangars and a fuel depot, as well as ripped up runways.

The missiles were launched from US destroyers 150 miles away in the Mediterranean Sea in response to Assad's Sarin gas attack in Idlib on Tuesday, which killed 80 civilians, including children.

But while the US and a number of its allies say the attack was justified, it has enraged Russia, which backs Assad's regime.

Footage and photos from the ground Friday morning showed some of the aircraft shelters - which appear to be made of thick concrete, with feet of sand piled on top - partially or fully collapsed.

Others had sunlight shining in through holes in their roofs, and black scorch marks on their walls.

'Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment at Shayrat Airfield, reducing the Syrian government's ability to deliver chemical weapons,' said Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis.

Two senior defense officials told Fox News that about 20 Syrian jets were destroyed in the strike, although footage screened on Russian television suggested that at least two had escaped the destruction.

Early reports put the figure at nine destroyed jets.

The US officials said that none of the planes had been able to scramble before missiles hit, and that no Russian aircraft were at the airfield. No helicopters were struck during the destruction, they said.

When asked why Russian TV footage showed an undamaged shelter and two apparently intact jets, an expert told CNN that the US had been precise in its targeting due to the size of the airfield so as not to waste missiles, and so not every area would be accounted for.

Syria claimed that at least seven of its soldiers were killed and nine wounded in the airstrike. According to US intel, there were 12-100 personnel on the site that night. Efforts were made not to hit barracks, officials said.

SANA, Syria's state media, also claimed that nine civilians, including four children, were killed - even though the airbase was attacked at 3:45am local time.

The satellite photos show a considerable distance between the base's perimeter and the nearest built-up area.

The US said that only one of its missiles failed to land on-target after being launched by the USS Ross and USS Porter, although Russians released their own counter-claims, saying that only 23 of the 59 rockets hit the base.

But the photos released by the Department of Defense suggest that that the missiles - at least, the ones involved in the damage seen in the satellite images - were closely clustered around the aircraft hangars.

The US said the base was being used to store chemical weapons, like those used on civilians in the city of Idlib on Tuesday.

That attack, which killed 80 civilians and injured many more, was the fourth such atrocity in Syria since the conflict began in 2011. One chemical attack has been blamed on ISIS and the other three on Syrian forces.

An hour after the attack, Trump, speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where he is hosting the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng as part of a two day summit, said the US had to act after the Syrian dictator launched the 'horrible chemical weapons attack' on innocent civilians.

'Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,' he said. 'It was a slow and brutal death for so many. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.'

He added: 'There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the UN security council.

'Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.

'As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

'Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.'

Putin this morning denounced the strike as an 'illegal act of aggression' and also ripped up an agreement to avoid mid-air clashes between Russian and US fighter jets over Syria.

He also ordered his Admiral Grigorovich frigate - armed with cruise missiles and a self-defense system - from the Black Sea to dock in-between the Syrian mainland and the US ships that launched the attack.

Russia has also said it will further strengthen Syrian air defenses.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin regarded the US action as 'aggression against a sovereign nation' on a 'made-up pretext' and as a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq.

Russia's foreign minister says no Russian servicemen have been hurt in the bombing raid. Its security council said it regretted the 'harm' done to relations between Washington and Moscow.

The country also demanded a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss what it called 'aggression against a sovereign state'.

The meeting, called by Bolivia on Friday afternoon, saw Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Lorenti denouncing the United States as acting like 'investigator, attorney, judge and executioner'.

The US was defended by France and Britain.

British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft praised President Trump's decision, saying the attack was 'an appropriate response to such a heinous crime, a war crime.'

And French Ambassador Francois Delattre expressed hope the US action would be a 'game changer and help boost the political negotiations'.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged restraint and a renewed push for peace in Syria, saying in a statement that 'there is no other way to solve the conflict than through a political solution'.

He said: 'For too long, international law has been ignored in the Syrian conflict, and it is our shared duty to uphold international standards of humanity. This is a prerequisite to ending the unrelenting suffering of the people of Syria.'

    PRO ASSAD

    Russia - Gives military support, condemns the US airstrikes and suspends deal not to clash mid-air

    Iran - Close strategic allies with Syria and has provided significant support including $8.69billion

    North Korea - UN probe found that North Korea was supplying arms to Syria

    Iraq - The Iraqi Government provided financial support and transported supplies

    Algeria - Rumours suggest Algerian military aircraft is regularly landing in Syria

    Venezuela - The South American country has shipped tens of millions of dollars worth of diesel to Syria

    Lebanon - Police arrested family after they protested about the Syrian Government

    Belarus - President Alexander Lukashenko supported Moscow's involvement and offered air strike

    Lebanese Hezbollah Party - Involvement has been substantial and has deployed troops since 2012

    ANTI ASSAD

    US - President Donald Trump launched first airstrikes since six-year civil war started

    UK - Supports US cruise airstrikes as Theresa May said chemical attack was 'despicable'

    France/Germany - Both of the countries today said Assad bears 'sole responsibility' for US strike

    Turkey - Opposed to Assad but objects to Syrian rebels and wants control of Kurdish area

    Canada - Canada gave more than $4.97million to the Syrian opposition in 2013

    Saudi Arabia - The Middle East country is the main group to finance the rebels and has provided a large amount of weapons

    Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first to praise the US's retaliatory attack, saying he 'fully supports' Donald Trump's decision to launch the cruise missile attacks

    Qatar- It was reported Qatar gave the Syrian rebels $2.98 billion at the start of the civil war in 2011

The US was also branded 'a partner of ISIS' by al-Assad's spokesman, calling the missile strikes 'reckless and irresponsible.'

He also accused Trump of 'naively falling' for a 'false propaganda campaign' about the Idlib Sarin massacre.

A Pentagon official told DailyMail.com that the president 'is dead-set against letting Assad labor under the illusion that the Syrian army can murder innocent people with impunity.'

A Syrian military source also claimed on Friday that Syria had already 'learned of the American threat' and that precautions were taken - but it did not say how they found out, or from whom.

'We took precautions in more than one military point, including in the Shayrat airbase. We moved a number of airplanes towards other areas,' the official said, adding they were forewarned 'hours' before the strike.

Those claims were belied by photographs and video that emerged Friday showing burned out planes underneath the targeted shelters.

Some planes - several of which had apparently been left out in the open air, at least two of which were still in shelters - were undamaged but on the base.

America had used a special military-to-military hotline to warn Russia about the airstrike around 30 minutes in advance - but the Trump administration did not ask Moscow for permission.

It is likely Russia alerted the Syrians about the incoming strikes but this has not been confirmed.

The US has been supported by some of its foreign allies.

In a joint statement on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said, 'President Assad bears sole responsibility for this development.

Hollande added that the US strike was what France had been calling for in the wake of another chemical attack in 2013.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, speaking alongside German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, added that they hoped this would not spiral into further conflict.

'We do not want an escalation,' Ayrault said. 'We have to stop the hypocrisy. If Russia is acting in good faith it should stop and negotiate.'

Britain also stood staunchly behind its long-time ally and what it called an 'appropriate response.'

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Theresa May said: 'The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.'

EU President Donald Tusk said in a tweet that 'US strikes show needed resolve against barbaric chemical attacks. EU will work with the US to end brutality in Syria.'

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that 'in both word and action' Trump 'sent a strong and clear message' that 'the use and spread of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

Predictably, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was less enthused.

He took to Twitter on Friday to denounce the strikes, saying: 'Not even two decades after 9/11, US military fighting on same side as al-Qaeda & ISIS in Yemen & Syria. Time to stop hype and cover-ups.'

And Iranian news agency ISNA quoted foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying: 'Such measures will strengthen terrorists in Syria... and will complicate the situation in Syria and the region.'

Iran is a long-time supporter of the Assad regieme.

There has also been debate at home, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle complained that the Commander in Chief had authorized military action without consulting Congress.

'The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate,' said Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Libertarians such as Representative Justin Amash, a House Freedom Caucus member, want to stick tightly to the Constitution, which he argued on Twitter had been violated by Trump's actions.

'Airstrikes are an act of war' he wrote. 'Atrocities in Syria cannot justify departure from Constitution, which vests in Congress power to commence war.'

He continued: 'Framers of Constitution divided war powers to prevent abuse,' he wrote. 'Congress to declare war; President to conduct war and repel sudden attacks.'

Nancy Pelosi, the House's top-ranking Democrat, begged House Speaker Paul Ryan in a letter Friday morning to call back House members to DC as they begin their two-week Passover and Easter recess.

'The President's action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty. Congress must live up to its Constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation,' Pelosi said.

Link to Article and Photos:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... siles.html
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:29 pm

Syria 'chemical attack': What can forensics tell us?

The recent incident involving chemical weapons in Syria demands an investigation. But from a technical perspective, what kind of forensic information can be gleaned from an incident like this?

Finding evidence that connects the chemicals to the weapon system and the victims is critical to establishing a narrative that explains what happened in Idlib province.

Chemical warfare forensics is heavily affected by the persistency or lack thereof of the chemicals involved.

The nerve agents all degrade in the environment, both by evaporation and by contact with moisture or other chemicals.

Sarin evaporates quite quickly, usually faster than water.

Tabun, an older nerve agent, and Soman, a somewhat more expensive nerve agent, both evaporate slower than Sarin.

VX is highly persistent, and evaporates extremely slowly.

However, droplets get trapped in material and all of the nerve agents decompose into chemicals that are quite specifically related to them.

For example, isopropyl methylphosphonic acid (IMPA) is a specific indicator of Sarin.

When trying to detect nerve agents, there are several things to look for when analysing samples in a lab: traces of the nerve agents themselves, their logical degradation products (the chemicals that the nerve agents turn into when they age or decompose), unused precursors, by-products and impurities left over from the manufacturing process, and likely additives.

Most nerve agents are made with one or more additives, and these can be illustrative.

A good investigation will look for these traces in medical evidence, in the environment, and in the remnants of whatever device or weapon system was alleged to have been used.

Medical evidence can come in numerous forms.

Hair and clothing samples, for example, could contain useful chemicals. More importantly, there are several kinds of laboratory tests that can analyse blood samples from victims.

Levels of acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme in the human nervous system that nerve agents attach to, can establish that someone may have been exposed to nerve agents in general.

The presence of specific nerve agent decomposition products in the blood, such as IMPA, can give both generic and specific identifications of nerve agent exposure.

Another technique known as fluoride reactivation can identify specific nerve agents in blood samples, sometimes weeks after exposure.

Environmental samples from near the impact site are extremely useful. Soil samples could contain the agent, or any of the other chemicals of interest.

Samples of wastewater used for decontaminating victims could also contain valuable clues, while porous materials, particularly ones in confined spaces or out of direct contact with sunlight, may prove useful receptacles of chemicals of interest.

In the deadly Sarin attack on the Ghouta region outside Damascus in August 2013, items like a headscarf and a rubber window seal were crucial bits of evidence.

Finally, much can be learned from the fragments and residue of the weapon system itself, whether it be a rocket, shell, or improvised barrel bomb.

The size, shape, and method of dissemination (for example, explosive bursting) can give clues to how the incident happened.

Air-dropped bombs, for example, narrow the suspects to those with aircraft.

Most importantly, the presence of a chemical warfare agent on any component or fragment of a weapon, as well as degradation products, by-products, and additives, can tie the whole narrative together, linking the chemical warfare agent with the weapon and possibly the perpetrator.

In 2013, the chemical hexamine, used as an additive, was a critical piece of information linking the Ghouta attack to the government of President Assad.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39513193
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:47 pm

Sarin gas used in Syria chemical attack, Turkey says
(personally, I never believe anything Turkey says)

Sarin gas was used in a chemical weapons attack in northern Syrian on Tuesday, Turkey's health ministry confirmed in a statement today after autopsies were conducted on victims.

"According to the results of preliminary tests, the findings suggest the patients were exposed to chemical material (sarin)," the statement read.

A U.S. official told ABC News the symptoms exhibited by the victims pointed to sarin gas, a banned nerve agent.

The U.S. official said it was a Syrian military fixed-wing aircraft that dropped chemical weapons on what was an underground hospital run by an al-Qaeda affiliated rebel group formerly known as Al-Nusra Front.

Harrowing footage from the scene shows victims gasping for air and being hosed off, as well as the lifeless faces of those who didn’t survive. It's the worst chemical attack the war-torn country has witnessed since 2013.

The death toll from the attack in Syria's Idlib province has climbed to at least 86 civilians, including 30 children and 20 women, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Thirty-two victims injured in the attack were brought across the Syrian border into southern Turkey for treatment. Three of them have since died, according to the Turkish justice minister.
Possible action against the Assad regime

The White House and the Pentagon have been having discussions about possible military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, a U.S. official told ABC News, including a meeting held Wednesday night at the National Security Council.

Possible military action could include "stand-off strikes," or strikes from weapons fired from afar, the official said.

When asked if Assad should relinquish power, President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday, "I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. He's there, and I guess he's running things, so something should happen."

Trump also said that he has not yet discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took a harder stance on Assad, saying in a press conference this afternoon in West Palm Beach, Florida, “Assad's role in the future is uncertain and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people."

The process for removing Assad would require an "international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country, to avoid further civil war and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving," Tillerson said, adding that "steps are underway" to organize an international coalition to remove Assad.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/syr ... d=46617872
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:57 pm

Autopsies confirm chemical weapons were used in Syria attack

Autopsies conducted by doctors on three Syrians confirmed that chemical weapons were used in an attack that killed at least 86 people in a rebel-held town earlier in the week, a Turkish official said Thursday.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said “it was determined after the autopsy that a chemical weapon was used,” according to Turkish media.

He said the World Health Organization had supervised the autopsies after almost 60 victims from Tuesday’s atrocity in Khan Sheikhoun were evacuated to his country for treatment. Three of them died.

Early US assessments showed the use of chlorine gas and traces of the nerve agent sarin in the attack, according to two US officials who demanded anonymity.

Medical teams reported smelling bleach on survivors, suggesting the presence of chlorine gas, Doctors Without Borders said.

The attack happened just 60 miles from the Turkish border, and the Turkish government — a close ally of Syrian rebels — set up a decontamination center at a border crossing in the province of Hatay.

The deaths sparked international outrage at President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but his government continued to deny it carried out the chemical attack in the Idlib province town.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem insisted to reporters in Damascus on Thursday that his government never used — and will not use — chemical weapons.

“I stress to you once again: The Syrian army has not, did not and will not use this kind of weapons — not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that attack our civilians with their mortar rounds,” Moallem said, Agence France-Presse reported.

He reiterated the country’s contention that the deaths occurred when a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel warehouse containing “toxic substances.”

“The first air raid conducted by the Syrian army was at 11:30 a.m. on that day (Tuesday) and it attacked an arms depot belonging to Al-Nusra Front that contained chemical weapons,” he said, AFP reported.


Al-Nusra — now known as Fateh al-Sham Front — was once al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate and is the main jihadist rival of ISIS.

“Al-Nusra Front and ISIS and other organizations continue to store chemical weapons in urban and residential areas,” he added.

The Syrian government also set conditions Thursday for any international inquiry into the attack, saying it must not be “politicized” and should start work from Damascus, Reuters reported.

Moallem said the country’s past experience with international inquiries had not been “encouraging” and indicated that his government would only consider the idea of an inquiry if its concerns were addressed.

President Trump on Wednesday accused Assad’s government of going “beyond a red line,” adding that his attitude toward Syria and Assad had changed. But he gave no indication of how he would respond.

Moallem did not directly respond to questions about Trump’s comments, but said he recognized the “gravity” of recent US statements.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault urged a resumption of Syrian peace talks and said he wanted Assad’s government prosecuted over its alleged use of chemical weapons.

He told CNews TV on Thursday that a new UN resolution and Syrian peace negotiations should be a top priority — not rushing into new military interventions.

“France is still seeking to talk with its partners on the Security Council … Russia in particular,” he said. “These crimes must not remain unpunished. … One day, international justice will rule on Assad.”

Russia argued at an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday against holding Assad’s government responsible for the attack.

On Thursday, the Kremlin said US allegations that Syrian forces carried out a deadly chemical attack were not based on “objective” information, AFP reported.

“Any data that the American side or our colleagues in other countries could have cannot be based on objective materials or evidence,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, warned that the Trump administration would take action if the Security Council did not.

http://nypost.com/2017/04/06/autopsy-re ... ia-attack/
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:04 pm

In reality, as yet NOBODY knows exactly where the chemicals come from

They could come from the building that was bombed and until al Nusra allow UN specialists to enter the area NOBODY will know exactly what took place X(
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Re: World Reaction to Syria chemical attack and US bombs

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:26 pm

Take a good look at this list again

    PRO ASSAD

    Russia - Gives military support, condemns the US airstrikes and suspends deal not to clash mid-air

    Iran - Close strategic allies with Syria and has provided significant support including $8.69billion

    North Korea - UN probe found that North Korea was supplying arms to Syria

    Iraq - The Iraqi Government provided financial support and transported supplies

    Algeria - Rumours suggest Algerian military aircraft is regularly landing in Syria

    Venezuela - The South American country has shipped tens of millions of dollars worth of diesel to Syria

    Lebanon - Police arrested family after they protested about the Syrian Government

    Belarus - President Alexander Lukashenko supported Moscow's involvement and offered air strike

    Lebanese Hezbollah Party - Involvement has been substantial and has deployed troops since 2012

    ANTI ASSAD

    US - President Donald Trump launched first airstrikes since six-year civil war started

    UK - Supports US cruise airstrikes as Theresa May said chemical attack was 'despicable'

    France/Germany - Both of the countries today said Assad bears 'sole responsibility' for US strike

    Turkey - Opposed to Assad but objects to Syrian rebels and wants control of Kurdish area

    Canada - Canada gave more than $4.97million to the Syrian opposition in 2013

    Saudi Arabia - The Middle East country is the main group to finance the rebels and has provided a large amount of weapons

    Israel - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first to praise the US's retaliatory attack, saying he 'fully supports' Donald Trump's decision to launch the cruise missile attacks

    Qatar- It was reported Qatar gave the Syrian rebels $2.98 billion at the start of the civil war in 2011

ALL the above countries are contributing to the fighting X(
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