In an interview with Dale Gavlak, a Middle East correspondent for the AP and Mint Press News, Syrian rebels tacitly implied that they were responsible for last week’s chemical attack. We couldn’t independently-verify some of the information. Gavlak wrote, “From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters, and their families… 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”. The rebels noted it was the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them.
Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta, said, “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry”. As Gavlak reported, Abdel-Moneim said that his son and 12 other rebels died in a weapons storage tunnel. The father stated the weapons were provided to rebel forces by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, describing them as having a “tube-like structure”, whilst others were like a “huge gas bottle”. A female fighter named “K” complained, “They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them. 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, like other Syrians, doesn’t want to use her full name for fear of retaliation.
Gavlak also referred to an article in the Daily Telegraph about talks stating that Prince Bandar threatened President Putin with terror attacks at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if Russia doesn’t agree to change its stance on Syria. The article stated, “Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad régime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord”. Prince Bandar allegedly told Putin, “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. We control the Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games”. Mint Press News stated that it couldn’t independently-verify some of the information and pledged to continue providing updates on this topic.
A recent VOR post provoked a strong commotion among internet users; some of them claim that VOR’s reports are more credible than the US government’s allegations against the Syrian government. DylanJamesCo on Reddit wrote, “It’s more credible than the USA saying we have real evidence of Assad using them [chemical weapons]. Assad doesn’t get weapons from Saudi Arabia. They don’t have ties. The USA will use any reason it can to go to war. Even if it means creating one”. Meanwhile, not everyone shares such this point of view. KoreyYrvaI wrote, “VOR wants us to believe that the Rebels totally were responsible for the chemical attack, and it was an accident… because Russia has been impartial throughout all of this and I don’t think America (or anyone) needs another war, but this is hardly credible”. However, one thing unites users… they believe that the US government wants and needs another war in the Middle East. NineteenEightyTwo wrote, “America is just getting better at proxy wars. They have firm ties with the Saudis, and they’d have no problem destabilising Syria if it meant the USA could eventually target Iran and its oil reserve”.
30 August 2013
Voice of Russia World Service