"with some degree of varying confidence"
Thanks to the Israeli web site YNet we have some updates on the alleged use of chemical munitions that Syrian dictatorship of Assad resorting to the most drastic measure, again, so it is alleged.
1. "Obama: Syrian government use of chemical weapons a 'game changer'".
"Obama dubs chemical arms use 'game changer' as White House reiterates 'all options to respond' in Syria still on the table; however, pending further assessments, administration still reluctant to present timetable "
Allegation of Syrian chemical weapon use [sarin nerve gas] hard to prove?
"However, assertions of chemical weapon use in Syria made by Western and Israeli officials citing photos, sporadic shelling and traces of toxins fail to meet the standard of proof needed for a UN team of experts waiting to gather their own field evidence."
"Weapons inspectors from the Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will only determine whether banned chemical agents were used if they are able to access sites and take soil, blood, urine or tissue samples and examine them in certified laboratories"
I would strongly suspect that NO SUCH obtaining sample and testing in a "certified" laboratory is EVER going to occur.
The descriptions of the victims, those Syrian rebels subject to attack alleged having dilated pupils and foaming at the mouth. The classic signs and symptoms of nerve gas poisoning.
2. "Hagel: Syria has used chemical weapons"
"Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, defense secretary[Hagel" says US intelligence concluded with
However, assertions of chemical weapon use in Syria made by Western and Israeli officials citing photos, sporadic shelling and traces of toxins fail to meet the standard of proof needed for a UN team of experts waiting to gather their own field evidence."
"US intelligence has concluded 'with some degree of varying confidence,' that the Syrian government has used sarin gas as a weapon in its two-year-old civil war, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday."
"Following Hagel's comments, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Capitol Hill that there were two instances of chemical weapons use. that Assad regime used sarin gas"
Three international "red lines" have now been drawn and one of them crossed?
Those three "red lines" being:
* Iran will not be allow to have nuclear weapons.
* North Korea will not be allowed to become a nuclear power.
* Syria will not be allowed to use chemical weapons.
The indicators have suggested for some time the Syrian dictator contemplating the use of deadly chemical munitions on his own populace.
Indicators to include:
* Purchase of 3 million gas masks from Russia.
* Deployment of chemical munitions from depot to the field.
* Issuance of chemical suits to the loyal Syrian army.
* Issuance of nerve gas antidote by the Israeli to the Syrian rebels.
AND NOW casualties exhibiting the traditional and classic symptoms of nerve gas poisoning.
And if the "red line" is crossed, the response will be? If it is as if the Syrian dictator is daring you. He is taunting you an pushing the limits to the very edge and beyond, but so far in a measured and calculated manner, attempting to gauge the response.
TO MY KNOWLEDGE SARIN OR VX NERVE GAS HAS NEVER BEEN USED IN A COMBAT SITUATION!
Intervention by a major power or combination of major powers only INVITING A MORE MASSIVE AND UNPREDICTABLE USE OF CHEMICAL MUNITIONS?
All options are open but none of them are good. Assad too very clever and cagey, using chemicals in a discrete way, not openly and massively, guileful and malevolent once at the same time.
P.S. "TO MY KNOWLEDGE SARIN OR VX NERVE GAS HAS NEVER BEEN USED IN A COMBAT SITUATION!" In this regard I might be wrong. It may be nerve agent was employed against the Kurd during the Halabja Massacre. The Iraqi used a variety of chemical weapons that might have included nerve agent. But this seems unclear?
"Survivors said the gas at first smelled of sweet apples . . . It is believed that Iraqi forces used multiple chemical agents during the attack, including mustard gas and the nerve agents tabun, sarin and VX some sources have also pointed to the blood agent hydrogen cyanide."