As Western powers and the Obama administration in particular beat the war drums on Syria claiming the Assad regime used chemical weapons, experts, governments, and analysts continue to raise serious doubts about who was behind the attack. More than a few sources have even suggested the massacre outside Damascus may have been perpetrated by establishment-backed Islamist “rebels” to spark overt foreign military intervention in the years-long battle against Syrian authorities. For now, despite official U.S. allegations about “undeniable” evidence, the truth about the chemical attack remains shrouded in uncertainty.
A court in Iran has denied the appeal of a U.S. citizen and pastor who was sentenced in January to eight years in an Iranian prison.
As the crisis in Syria heats up amidst allegations that the government has used chemical weapons against civilians, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel — speaking on August 26 at a news conference in Jakarta, Indonesia — said that the United States is “looking at all options” concerning a possible U.S. response.
Two reports in recent days have suggested that establishment-backed Syrian “rebel” forces trained and led by American, Israeli, and Jordanian commanders entered Syria and began pushing toward the capital city of Damascus this month. According to sources cited in the international reports, the foreign-led opposition fighters began the latest offensive in mid-August, prior to the reported chemical-weapon attack in the Ghouta region of Syria widely said to have claimed hundreds of civilian lives so far.
President Assad’s regime is being accused of launching a chemical attack on the Syrian opposition, but impartial experts are casting doubt on the veracity of those claims.