Damascus (GPA) – In a press conference today, the Syrian government claims to have found western made chemical agents in abandoned rebel arms depots.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal Mekdad, told a press conference today that rebels in Syria and Iraq have been found to be in possession of chemical weapons manufactured in the US and U.K.. Allegedly the rebels left behind a stockpile of weapons in recent retreats which include grenade launchers and grenades loaded with CS and CN irritant agents.
CS and CN are both abbreviations of the two major chemical compounds commonly found in tear gas. While tear gas is primarily used for crowd control and isn’t a lethal chemical agent, it is quite likely that – if the western powers did supply it directly to non-state actors – it would be a violation of some international law.
Mekdad also asserted that, if these claims turn out to be true, “we can say for sure that the US and UK, as well as its allies in the region, violate the Chemical Weapons Convention.” Mekdad also pointed out that this is all in addition to the public knowledge that the US illegally supplies conventional weaponry to anti-Assad forces.
Mekdad also told the reporters the exact defense contractors who manufacture the chemicals supposedly found. The list included U.K. based Cherming Defense as well as US corporations Federal Laboratories and NonLethal Technologies.
So far, only Cherming Defense has issued a reply to questions from journalists. A Cherming spokesperson told Sputnik reporters that “Chemring Defence doesn’t manufacture chemical weapons or components that can be used in anything like that, so I suggest you might want to check your source to see if they know what they’re talking about,” just hours after Damascus made today’s accusations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also addressed these new claims on Facebook earlier today saying of the US: “Here you can see all their commitment to international law and the triumph of democracy. Supplying chemical agents to terrorists and using photos of killed children as a pretext is beyond one’s comprehension.”
It’s not really clear under international law if CS and CN are treated the same as nerve agents such as sarin would be, but this makes sense when you consider international law is heavily biased towards the US. The US has no problem using these agents on unruly crowds at home or shipping them abroad to protect the oppressive regimes they like.
Regardless of how you classify the gas, it doesn’t belong in the hands of violent takfiris in Syria or Iraq. Let’s face it, Ahrar al Sham and co. aren’t in any situation where they need to preserve law and order with weapons made for crowd control.
There is a possibility these are weapons previously sold to and stolen from an entity like the Iraqi army. If that’s the case, the US would be wise to reconsider sending weapons like these since they always either seem to end up in “rebel” hands or fired at the “rebels and protesters” the US supports against governments that have fallen out of favor with Washington.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.