We all know those people who only provide one side of the story. We soon stop listening to them and, oftentimes, leave the friendship, partnership, business, etc. Sadly, this sometimes happens when you have absolutely no control to leave–that is, unless you want to be an expat.
The United States has condemned the Assad regime in Syria for many reasons. One of them is Assad’s control and employment of chemical weapons on their citizens and cities.
However, this narrative becomes complicated by a recent State Department warning that indicates the Assad regime is not the only actor in the region employing chemical weapons.
The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria…The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable. Violent conflict between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is a serious risk for kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism…
…Terrorist and other violent extremist groups including…Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (dominated by al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusrah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization), operate in Syria. In July 2017, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham consolidated power in Idlib province after it clashed with other armed actors. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham control over Idlib threatens the ability of NGOs and states to deliver humanitarian aid to Syrians residing in Idlib. Moreover, Russia and/or the Syrian government initiated airstrikes in Idlib in September, which resulted in significant damage to medical facilities and dozens of civilian casualties. Tactics of ISIS, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and other violent extremist groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, small and heavy arms, improvised explosive devices, and chemical weapons. They have targeted major city centers, road checkpoints, border crossings, government buildings, shopping areas, and open spaces, in Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr provinces.
What raises our eyebrow in this newly updated release by the State Department?
The same State Department who told us that the Assad regime was the only group to have and deploy chemical weapons is now telling us that other groups have chemical weapons.
Rebels that our government provided weapons and aid in their fight against Assad. They are the ones using the chemical weapons and causing untold suffering for civilians.
According to Zero Hedge:
The armed opposition group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is referenced early in the document…HTS is the group now holding Idlib province, which it captured in 2015 as part of a coalition of armed groups given direct support from a US-led operations room in southern Turkey – this according to prominent pro-opposition analyst Charles Lister.
…Hayat Tahrir al-Sham along with other Salafi-Jihadi terror groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, were in control of the Idlib province town of Khan Sheikhoun when the group alleged that Syrian jets launched a massive Sarin gas attack on civilians last April. Relying chiefly on YouTube videos uploaded by “activists” associated with the al-Qaeda linked groups, media and government officials in the West immediately blamed Syria and Russia for the incident which possibly resulted in up to 74 civilian deaths. The White House’s own four page assessment released in the wake of the incident relied heavily on, in its words, “a wide body of open-source material” and “social media accounts” to find the Syrian government “guilty” – which means that essentially YouTube videos were used as justification for Trump’s subsequent punitive strike on Shayrat military airfield in Syria (a strike which turned out to be largely symbolic for the sake of “doing something”).
Meanwhile, HTS and their affiliates prevented any and all international monitoring groups from entering Idlib to access the site of the alleged attack – a reality which continues to this day. The OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons), for example, acknowledged that, “For security reasons, the FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] was unable to visit Khan Shaykhun.”
If this doesn’t cause discomfort, I’m not sure what does. When it is convenient, the United States government shares truth. At other times, it hides those inconvenient truths.
Was this lack of disclosure a justification to attack the Assad regime, to continue backing the rebels despite their use of chemical weapons?
Are YouTube videos enough to justify attack?
Do you agree with Zero Hedge’s assertion?