Defector says he has evidence of March 19 Syria chemical attack

1 / 2
2 / 2
Updated 13 September 2013
0

Defector says he has evidence of March 19 Syria chemical attack

ISTANBUL, Turkey: A Syrian forensic expert who defected to Turkey last month said on Tuesday he had documents confirming President Bashar Assad’s government had used chemical weapons near Aleppo in March, and called their use “cold murder.”
Abdeltawwab Shahrour, head of the forensic medicine committee in Aleppo, appeared in public for the first time since his defection to Turkey was confirmed by the Istanbul-based Syrian opposition coalition a week ago.
In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Syria has stockpiled about 1,000 tons of numerous chemical agents including sarin and mustard gases.
Kerry told US lawmakers that some of the agents were unmixed “binary components” while others were probably stored in tanks.
Shahrour failed to show up at a planned news conference last Tuesday due to concerns over his safety, the coalition said.
He told reporters in Istanbul that he had evidence of the March 19 chemical attack in Khan Al-Assal near Aleppo.
Washington is considering military strikes over a another alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus last month that killed hundreds of people, although Russia this week proposed an alternative plan to win Syria a reprieve.
“We have examined thousands of bodies of victims which the head of forensic medicine received in Aleppo,” Shahrour said. “I thought that was cold murder. I contacted some of the rebels and documented these crimes.
“One of the most horrific attacks was Khan Al-Assal. Many victims showed nervous symptoms, like convulsions. Results show that they have been exposed to poison gas,” he said, adding that he had documents showing the government was behind the attack.
The attack at Khan Al-Assal in the northern province of Aleppo killed more than two dozen people. Both the government and rebels have blamed each other for what they say was an attack involving chemical weapons.
Russia, which alongside Iran is Syria’s closest ally and chief arms supplier, said in July its own scientific analysis indicated the attack had involved the nerve agent sarin and had most likely been carried out by the rebels.
Shahrour said he decided to defect 10 months ago but only managed to begin his escape on Aug. 15, when he was brought to a safe house inside Syria in cooperation with the rebels. He arrived in Turkey three days later.
Rebels fighting Assad’s forces brought his family to Turkey later. He denied reports he had been kidnapped.


Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

Pro-government forces stand in the destroyed Thalateen Street in the Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp on the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus on May 24, 2018, as civilians return to see their homes after the regime seized the camp and adjacent neighborhoods of Tadamun and Hajar al-Aswad earlier in the week from the Daesh group. (AFP / LOUAI BESHARA)
Updated 27 May 2018
0

Assad accused of ‘using urban development law to carry out ethnic cleansing’

  • he so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.
  • Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

JEDDAH: The Assad regime in Syria was accused on Saturday of using a new law on urban development to carry out and rid the country of all political opposition.

The so-called “Law 10” allows the regime to acquire previously private property in which to create zoned developments, and to compensate the owners with shares in the new projects.

However, after a seven-year war that has created more than 5 million refugees and 6 million internally displaced people, property rights are in a state of confusion. Many of the displaced have lost the necessary paperwork, are struggling financially or may not learn of the legal requirements in time.

The Assad regime is using the confusion to create a suitable environment for demographic change, Syrian opposition spokesman Yahya Al-Aridi told Arab News. 

“The regime has a two-fold goal,” he said. “First, terrorize the opposition and supporters of the Syrian revolution so that they lose the right to their properties.

“Second, there is talk of reconstruction in Syria now. This law sends out a message to investors that their interests lie with the regime. It is an attempt to tempt companies and business people to support the regime, because the regime is the only party that approves bids and gives grants and contracts. All this merely adds to the Syrians’ plight and misery.”

Al-Aridi said the attempted land grab was being resisted by European countries, especially France and Germany. “The Syrian Negotiating Committee is also exerting a very important effort so that such an evil act will not happen,” he said. 

Also on Saturday, the US warned Damascus it would take “firm action” if the regime violates a cease-fire deal, after Syrian aircraft dropped leaflets on a southern province in advance of an expected offensive.

Al-Aridi said any such offensive would be a breach of agreements between Russia and the US on de-escalation zones, and he warned the regime and Iran against “playing games” with the US. “Such threats are part of a response to the two unanswered Israeli attacks on Iran’s military positions in Syria,” he said.

“They area also meant to divert attention from the American-Israeli intent to kick Iranian militias and forces out of Syria.”

He said the regime and Iran could do nothing without Russian support. “We don’t think the Russians are willing to provide such support, or to mess with the US or Israel. Parallel to such threats, Assad is trying to make certain reconciliation agreements with what they call ‘Syrians in liberated areas.’ We believe that they cannot do anything of the sort.”