In an exclusive story that has yet to surface in mainstream media, an independent online news organization called MintPress News is carrying an alarming report: The chemical weapons attack that left close to 1,500 citizens of Syria dead, thought to be sanctioned by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may have been nothing more than a “mishandling” of nerve gas rockets by militants fighting against the Syrian government.
The MintPress News carried the exclusive report on Aug. 29.
For weeks, calls for a military response, led by the U.S., have captured news headlines. President Obama has formally petitioned Congress to authorize and support a strike against the Middle Eastern country. The U.S. has been moving destroyers and other warships into the waters of the Red Sea in anticipation of an air assault.
Assad has continued to deny any involvement, demanding that the U.S. and its allies produce proof of the alleged connection of al-Assad’s government in the Aug. 21 sarin gas attack in Damascus, calling Obama “weak.”
“For us, a strong man prevents, rather than starts a war. Obama is weak because he is facing pressure from within the United States,” Assad said in an interview Monday with French newspaper Le Figaro.
“Those who make accusations must show evidence. We have challenged the United States and France to come up with a single piece of proof. Obama and [French president François] Hollande have been incapable of doing so,” Assad said. “We shouldn’t just talk about a Syrian response, but what will happen after the first strike. Everybody will lose control of the situation when the powder keg blows. There is a risk of a regional war.”
MintPress News Middle East correspondent, Yahya Ababneh, who also writes for The Associated Press, interviewed Syrian officials and citizens in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital.
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the deadly gas attack,” says Ababneh’s report.
Radicals within Syria, who have been fighting a two-year civil war, purportedly were provided with “tube-like structures” containing “huge gas bottles” by Saudi militants sympathetic to the cause to unseat Assad.
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of one of the rebels, who was killed along with 12 others inside of a weapons cache.
In the interview, Syrian insurgents, who would refer to themselves only as the letters ‘J’ and ‘K,’ said the weapons came from Saudi Arabia, and were not used by Assad and the Syrian government against innocent men, women and children.
“[The Saudis] didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained the female fighter ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she added.
A male fighter, ‘J,’ agreed, adding that the gas attacks were set off “improperly.”
"We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions." -- Syrian insurgent 'J'
In a Business Insider article, veteran reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war.
“Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad,” says the MintPress.
As the United States braces for what seems to be an imminent strike against Assad and the Syrian government, based on this report, it could be that the U.S. is targeting the wrong culprit.
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