Who’s behind alleged Aleppo chemical weapons attack?
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units said they came under a chemical weapons attack on Tuesday, allegedly launched by several Islamist opposition groups in the city of Aleppo. The YPG released unverified footage showing what is believed to be cloud of yellow phosphorous. Kurdish forces didn’t mention ISIS or Al-Nusra among those armed radical groups.
RT: Assuming the claim from the YPG is true, who do you think may have been behind this chemical weapons attack?
Coleen Rowley: I don’t know. It could probably be anyone, our own US national intelligence director James Clapper testified to a congressional committee about three weeks ago that IS has access to chemical weapons. And not only has access to chemical weapons – he mentioned chlorine, mustard. He also mentioned that they have access to precursor chemicals to make their own chemical weapons. And I would imagine that if IS has access, many of these other groups could have access to them as well.
RT: Back in the summer of 2014 the last chemical weapons were supposedly shipped out of Syria for destruction. How are extremist groups able to get hold of them?
CR: This is the Syrian government that destroyed its own weapons. If you go back to 2013 the US government was blaming Assad for having used sarin on his own people. Even though James Clapper and John Brennan, the then CIA director, have now admitted – three years later – that ISIS has access to chemical weapons, they have never really explained that possibly even back in 2013 it was the terrorist groups that staged that attack of sarin in order to get the US to enter into the fray in Syria. This is something that should be investigated internationally; human rights groups and the UN should be investigating right now. It is a good thing there is a ceasefire, and it is a bad thing that some elements want to stop that ceasefire and get back to having war.
RT: Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was not specifically mentioned but ISIS has been accused of using chemical weapons in the past. Are they becoming increasingly widespread among extremist groups?
CR: It sure seems that way. There has been information that you’re able to get precursor chemicals through Turkey. This goes back a couple of years and it came from different sources. It looks like, yes, many groups have access to chemical weapons. Now, the Syrian government apparently does not have access because they did destroy their weapons. But these groups that are not covered by the ceasefire seem to want to break up the ceasefire.
RT: What impact could this have on the peace process?
CR: Let’s hope that the cooler heads: the US, Russia, Iran – some of these other countries that have interest now in Syria – will not let these attacks end the efforts at peace negotiation. That is the reason for them. They are trying to not have any kind of peace process. But these other groups that are not covered by the ceasefire probably are trying to disrupt it. We have to hope that the diplomats will understand that and will say:“We’re going forward nonetheless,” and that there can be some investigation to find out who exactly was responsible.
U.S. special forces captured the head of the Islamic State group’s unit trying to develop chemical weapons in a raid last month in northern Iraq, two senior Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press, the first known major success of Washington’s more aggressive policy of pursuing the jihadis on the ground.
The Obama administration launched the new strategy in December, deploying a commando force to Iraq that it said would be dedicated to capturing and killing IS leaders in clandestine operations, as well as generating intelligence leading to more raids.
U.S. officials said last week that the expeditionary team had captured an Islamic State leader but had refused to identify him, saying only that he had been held for two or three weeks and was being questioned.
The two Iraqi officials identified the man as Sleiman Daoud al-Afari, who worked for Saddam Hussein’s now-dissolved Military Industrialization Authority where he specialized in chemical and biological weapons. They said al-Afari, who is about 50 years old, heads the Islamic State group’s recently established branch for the research and development of chemical weapons.
He was captured in a raid near the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, the officials said. They would not give further details.
The officials, who both have first-hand knowledge of the individual and of the IS chemical program, spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to brief the media. No confirmation was available from U.S. officials.
gee..i wonder who?
syria has none..they didnt use any before all of their stash was destroyed and they certainly cant use any now..its always been the black flag wavers..and now its become factual..
“If you go back to 2013 the US government was blaming Assad for having used sarin on his own people. Even though James Clapper and John Brennan, the then CIA director, have now admitted – three years later – that ISIS has access to chemical weapons”
we called it a false flag then..and it was..