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This report details two alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria on the opposition-controlled Damascus suburbs of Eastern and Western Ghouta, located 16 kilometers apart, on the morning of August 21, 2013. The attacks killed hundreds of civilians, including large numbers of children. Human Rights Watch analyzed witness accounts of the rocket attacks, information on the likely source of the attacks, the physical remnants of the weapon systems used, and the medical symptoms exhibited by the victims of the attack as documented by medical staff. Our investigation finds that the August 21 attacks were likely chemical weapons attacks using a surface-to-surface rocket system of approximately 330mm in diameter—likely Syrian-produced—and a Soviet-era 140mm surface-to-surface rocket system to deliver a nerve agent. Evidence suggests the agent was most likely Sarin or a similar weapons-grade nerve agent. T
reply to post by canucks555
The evidence examined by Human Rights Watch strongly suggests that the August 21 chemical weapon attacks on Eastern and Western Ghouta were carried out by government forces. Our basis for this finding is:
The large-scale nature of the attacks, involving at least a dozen surface-to-surface rockets affecting two different neighborhoods in Damascus countryside situated 16 kilometers apart, and surrounded by major Syrian government military positions. One of the types of rockets used in the attack, the 330mm rocket system – likely Syrian produced, which appear to be have been used in a number of alleged chemical weapon attacks, has been filmed in at least two instances in the hands of government forces. The second type of rocket, the Soviet-produced 140mm rocket, which can carry Sarin, is listed as a weapon known to be in Syrian government weapon stocks. Both rockets have never been reported to be in the possession of the opposition. Nor is there any footage or other evidence that the armed opposition has the vehicle-mounted launchers needed to fire these rockets. The August 21 attacks were a sophisticated military attack, requiring large amounts of nerve agent (each 330mm warhead is estimated to contain between 50 and 60 liters of agent), specialized procedures to load the warheads with the nerve agent, and specialized launchers to launch the rockets.
reply to post by DexterRiley
Agreed. This is the very first information that even remotely makes the case against the Assad forces. For me personally, this changes things. I'm far less sure it was the rebels.
One disturbing fact, however. On page 4 of the report HRW mentions that the 140mm soviet rocket used in the attack has a chemical weapons payload that contains 2.2kg of sarin. Coincidentally, that is exactly the amount of sarin Turkey discovered in the apartment of known Syrian rebels.
edit on 10-9-2013 by jtma508 because: add'l info
I also feel it's a little arrogant and hypocritical to claim there is no evidence for the hypothesis of rebel responsibility. There is available evidence, and a significant amount coming from witness statements, which seems one of the main forms of evidence in the report.
Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. By focusing international attention where human rights are violated, we give voice to the oppressed and hold oppressors accountable for their crimes. Our rigorous, objective investigations and strategic, targeted advocacy build intense pressure for action and raise the cost of human rights abuse. For more than 30 years, Human Rights Watch has worked tenaciously to lay the legal and moral groundwork for deep-rooted change and has fought to bring greater justice and security to people around the world.
I should also say that I'm not saying Assad doesn't have chemical weapons..I've just heard him deny it