U.S., Russia dispute if Syrian rebels used chemical weapons

Syria’s Assad regime has accused the rebels of launching a chemical weapons attack in the two of Aleppo that killed 25 people — an accusation the rebel fighters have strongly rebuked.

President Obama has said the “red line” to which the U.S. would send forces to Syria would be the use of chemical weapons. However, it was assumed the Assad regime would be the ones using their chemical weapons stockpile, not the rebels.

A Reuters photographer in Aleppo said he could pick up the faint smell of chlorine, however, other media agencies have thus far been unable to confirm the report because of media restrictions.

The debate has extended to the U.S. and Russia. The Russian foreign ministry has said it has enough information to confirm the rebels launched the chemical attack. Of course, Russia has supported and armed Assad in his fight with the rebels.

Meanwhile, U.S. government leaders have said they have not found any evidence of a chemical attack.

“We’ve seen reports from the Assad regime alleging that the opposition has been responsible for use. Let me just say that we have no reason to believe these allegations represent anything more than the regime’s continued attempts to discredit the legitimate opposition and distract from its own atrocities committed against the Syrian people,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. “We don’t have any evidence to substantiate the regime’s charge that the opposition even has CW (chemical weapons) capability.”

In fact, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the accusations made by Assad could be an attempt to cover up his own potential attacks. Such an attack on civilians would mean the U.S. would send in troops, according to Obama’s previous statements.

Adm. James Stavridis, commander of U.S. European Command, told the Senate Tuesday that his command has started to make plans should an attack be necessary.

“We are prepared if called upon to be engaged,” Stavridis said.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have consistently called for the U.S. to do more to quell the fighting in Syria. On Tuesday, the two Republican senators issued a statement saying the red line had been crossed and action was demanded.

That should include the provision of arms to vetted Syrian opposition groups, targeted strikes against Assad’s aircraft and SCUD missile batteries on the ground, and the establishment of safe zones inside Syria to protect civilians and opposition groups,” the statement read.

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • BlackOwl18E

    I think we should try to convince Russia to intervene…

    Just kidding.

  • WPG

    Who knows what to believe anymore……

    • Last I heard the rebels (AlQ – you know, our syrian “buds”) took a chem base. But, a false flag would work just as well ’cause TBTF want this one.

  • Taylor

    During the Cold War it was common for the Russians to accuse us of what they were actually doing. It put us on the defensive and got us off of their case, like with WPG above. The Syrians are almost certainly getting advice from the Russians on how to deal with us.

  • Lance

    I dont put it past Islamist to use chemical weapons the rebels lack training to use them so I can see a attack not working. Both ways we got both sides are bad guys and use any WMD for them to kill all who oppose them. Maybe Blackowl18E is right let Russia clean this out.

    • jhm

      Don’t feel like seeing T80s and T72s rumbling through the streets of Damascus. Or howitzers pummeling the cities to rubble… Chechens would attest to that…

      • Restore Palestine

        That’s the Stalin era. The criminal is long dead. Now the US has taken over all the business of meddling in small countries’ internal affairs and stealing their natural resources.

      • Lance

        Syria does not use or have T-80s.

  • Rob

    None of the issues in ANY of the worldly disputes are being resolved with negotiations. It may be time just to call a draft and declare World war 3. After all the major countries, ( including Russia, China and USA are destroyed, let the surviving countries decide the future for the planet.

    Nonetheless, I’ve heard reports that Iran and Hezoballah are preparing 50k troops for Syria and that Russian Marine groups are now more active in government held area’s. Maybe time to offer the rebels safehaven if we are not going to help more.

  • Uncle Bill

    In WW3 when Moscow is nuked, Russia is gone, when beijing is nuked, China is gone, When Washington DC is nuked most Americans won’t even notice, Most will be better off.

    • USS ENTERPRISE

      Sorry, but no. Americans WOULD notice, look at 9/11. But the question remains who does the first nuking, and why. Also, you took out the Americans and Chinese economies. These are the powerhouses of the world. The world would hardly be better off.

      • Rob

        What we have is relative to what we need. If all warring parties are destroyed, the remaining peaceful would remain peaceful, at least for awhile.

        There many not be cheap cellphones or gas but the world was no worse without them.

        World powers always become stuck with a bully title. Much of the world sees us as the bully now. It usually means that someone will rise up to try to put us down. Same as in Syria. Their government has become a bully to a group of their people. And even worse, after all this time we still do not even know what % support their government.

        I was not alive for cold war in the 60’s but I feel we are closer to WWIII then anytime in my life.

    • orly?

      You seriously think there are only a handful of nukes in the world?

      • Rob

        I know there are 10’s of thousands. But there will only be a % of those able to be launched before either communications are down, orders cannot be given or that some of those launchers would be destroyed in initial strikes.

        There is also a % of those missiles that will be shot down, misfire, duds, malfunction, miss their target or plunge into the ocean.

        There is also the unknown of which side would surrender first and how fast. It may even just take only a handful in the end.

        Only in worse case scenario would the world really be destroyed. Most nukes are also not MEGA nukes. 100? global tests and planet still here.

        And in places like Syria, Nukes really do not solve anything. If they do resort to chem or bio weapons, it’s going to get ugly fast.

  • Uncle Bill

    Such silly assumptions, removing the chicom gov would not remove the chicom economy, nor USA’s. A nuke war, even all out, would not destroy the world. This is a theory from the sixties (you know, you can’t hug a child with nuclear arms) that is embraced by idiots i.e, journalists and academics. Speaking of theories embraced by idiots remember all the “scientists” who declared consistently and repeatedly that it was impossible to hit a bullet with a bullet? How the left’s best weapon, ridicule, was brought to bear about “Star Wars”? Notice how those idiots are now wetting their pants and askijng for more protection from nukes.

  • Assbestos

    The sad fact is that if you don’t help them someone will. Like jihadist militants, who will then recover these chemical weapons. Before you know it some subway station in a major city is on the news in the worst way.

  • orly?

    “Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have consistently called for the U.S. to do more to quell the fighting in Syria. On Tuesday, the two Republican senators issued a statement saying the red line had been crossed and action was demanded.” – Article

    I am curious on their suggestions.

    • justsaying

      lol John McCain is losing his mind a bit, if he was president we would have troops on the ground and in the middle of every conflict on Earth

  • riicky

    Can’t we just let another country deal with it.

  • Uncle Bill

    Lots of unpleaseant people here. Let me just say this to the palestinian troll. If the U.S. was actually guilty of all the evil in your anti-semite masturbation fantasies why would the puny ignorant palestinians even continue to exist? Nobody needs them or wants them and they would be soooo easy to eliminate.

  • STemplar

    What an odd discussion. You’ve got restore palestine continuing to audition for the Broadway version of Team America. This fella rob that seems to think a WW3 leads anywhere other than the end of human civilization and maybe humanity period.

    How about some talk about chemical weapons in Syria and possible US involvement.

    I personally would err on the side of caution in military involvement. I do see keeping chemical weapons out of idiots hands as important, but we need to tread lightly. We don’t need to get into another occupation. Rolling airstrikes to get rid of Assad’s missiles, planes, and some limited airmobile/airborne ops to seize stockpiles, but no grand invasions please.

    Seems like if we just blast his planes and missiles, that would even things up with the opposition in a hurry. Plus seize the chemical weapons. We probably should have moved as soon as they started moving weapons around.

    Team Obama really backed themselves into a corner with their ‘Red line’ now even their lib buddies in the media are asking hard questions. Plus he’s on his grand tour in the middle east so he really can’t play the role of the wimp at the moment.

    • Anon

      Much agreed, but there are a number of media outlets worldwide that would take any move by the US to seize stockpiles and run it as another regime-changing invasion. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, just that we won’t because world opinion is more important to us than national security….

    • BAJ

      Agreed, STemplar. I would also like to add the question of where these chemical weapons came from. I recall two weeks leading up to the Iraq invasion, masses of truck shipments being made into Syria. If these were in fact the smoking gun that lead us (USA) into that quagmire, no win situation, they need to be documented and neutralized. I don’t care about vindication at this point, mistakes were made in Iraq for sure, but we need to insure these weapons are dealt with, preferably in a tactical means as STemplar describes above.
      What a g_d awful mess.

    • USS ENTERPRISE

      Yeah, carpet bombing is not the answer. And Obama’s plan wasn’t thought through well. Personally, I have to side with the Pentagon. Wait until we have confirmation on the chemical weapons, then consider destroying.

    • WhatDidHeJustSay?

      Who supplied these chemical weapons to Syria?? Russians need to retrieve all the weapons sold/or given to Syria, The United States needs to retrieve all the weapons given to the rebels, give both sides swords only, and see what happens.I bet people wouldnt be so quick to fight

  • Sev

    I’m sick of us wasting time and money helping these islamofacists who have nothing but hate for us! Spend the money here! If you want to intervene somewhere, intervene in the country with the crazy dictator who has nukes and says he will launch a nuclear strike on the US. Not if, but he will.

  • BiggerPicture

    Lets not forget islamofascists were funded and trained by the yankeefascists to supply weapons and funding to the Mujahideen (you might know them as Taliban now) in the 80’s. From this directly grew Al Qaeda. Its time for America to STFU and butt out, they have caused more than enough trouble and have shed more than enough innocent blood either directly or through their proxies. Read, learn and understand – or conversely just stamp about on places like this and act like the mule brains you appear to be.

  • Zak

    Regardless of whether chemical weapons are being used, we should not get involved in this civil war – it isn’t our fight.

    • Simple

      So if the leaders of Syria support terrorists that has nothing to do with the US?? Syrian government has money, they fund terrorists with weapons and ammo, it’s only a matter of time before a terrorist group gets ahold of a nuclear bomb.

    • Benjamin

      Biological weapons have no ability to differentiate between who they were originally targeted at and the person who lives a thousand miles away. That is reason enough to intervene

  • Benny

    Everyone in the world will come to regret a rebel takeover in Syria. They are just as mean, vicious and murdering types as are Assad’s troops, maybe even moreso. And when they eventually do succeed, you will have another base for the Taliban, AlQaeda, and every other terroists group known. Women will lose all rights. Nonmuslims will be exterminated, etc. I say arm BOTH sides to the teeth and let them kill each other until noone is left. I predict that eventually the WWIII will be a muslim vs nonmuslim war. China will stay out of it.

  • exartym109a6
  • codejack

    So, are we all just supposed to pretend that Wikileaks doesn’t exist? We know what is actually going on in Syria, and every time someone posts one of these bull$hit propaganda pieces while pretending that we in the U.S. are unbiased observers you do nothing but ruin your own credibility.

    Look at how all of the former Iraq war hawks are swearing up and down that they opposed the war, or had reservations, or whatever else they can claim to make it seem as if they were not knowingly complicit in the lies our foreign policy has been based on for over a decade, now.

    Well, a decade from now, after those plucky rebels have overthrown the dictator Assad… only to find him replaced with hard-line Islamists even more opposed to our interference in their affairs than the nationalist regimes we are so busily replacing across the Middle East, this author will be writing pieces about how we didn’t know and he was misled.

    But the fact of the matter is that he knows, now, and he wants the conflict to escalate to justify more war against the “enemy,” even if we have to build our enemies from the ground up.

    • Restore Palestine

      The US govt is not, and has never been concerned about “dictators” or “democracy”. No high-ranking US politician has ever advocated regime change in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain. What have US politicians done when police beat up, jail or kill protestors / democracy advocates in those two countries? Certainly nothing like what they were doing in the case of Libya.

  • john fedup

    Let them fight until there are no Syrians left.

  • Taylor

    We already know that the Syrian rebels are as hostile to Israel as Assad is. They and Turkey complained that Assad didn’t shoot down the Israeli jets destroying missiles bound for Hezbollah. Any military aid money should go to our real friends in Israel and not to the rebels, in my opinion.

    • Rob

      It’s so complex and most any direction we go, people will die.

      To boost Isreal anymore only makes them have to expand which adds to the problem.

      I say it’s time we help Palestine hold it’s ground and prevent further loss.

      What many fail to realize is Isreal is only the size of New York City or Toronto Canada by land mass. Syria is only slightly bigger then New York state.

      It makes us seem very weak if we cannot even make a difference unless we use military force.

      • IKnowIT

        Any thing that’s good for Israel is not a policy.

    • Benny

      Look Taylor. Israel is not our friend. They are freinds to no one except themselves. They do not want peace. They want wars. They are expansionists in the NTH degree. They need land and the only way to get iy is take it. They need to be pushed back to the 1963 borders. And they are always trying to drag us into their selfmade problems. They treat the Palestinians just like the Nazis treated them THEY LEARNED WELL. Kidnap tem torture them, take their property, etc They are taking over the Middle East like Hitler took over eastern Europe. We only support Israel because of the massive Jewish influence in the US. We’re planning to furlough all DoD workers but we did not cut foreign aid to Israel.

  • Rob

    Easy solution is to do nothing until regional allies choose to fight.

    Rebels may lose but they chose to fight Assads government.

    If a group of kids were attacking teachers and the teachers subdued them all would we go in and kill the teachers? no. We’d help the kids recover, and have the teachers punished if any wrong doings were proven to happen before the fight.

    Otherwise, both sides would be given warnings & fines and have to get back to work to pay for it anyways.

    Same tactic should apply.

  • xarkey

    I have come to the illogical but inevitable conclusion that a Glass City in both Iran and North Korea would put a BIG lid on all kinds of hostile groups and their whining. I think if it were done discretely and couldn’t be “attributed” to any one nation, a great calm would settle over the entire Mideast. I don’t believe any great power (Russia, China, France UK or any other ) would intervene. I do believe it would give anyone with world dominion on their mind pause, at least for awhile.

  • IKnowIT

    You guys need to stop responding to trolls that come up on here and are obviously baiting you with stupid comments that don’t further any conversation

  • IKnowIT

    Guys please read this if you dont know what a troll is
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

  • Mark

    It is easy to tell if they used chemical weapons. You have some 27 different chances to get it right. The people who died can reveal how they were killed. It is called an autopsy.

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