Analyst: Chemical attack in Ghouta one of many as most go unnoticed by the world

Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons in the Syrian city of Duma (Eastern Ghouta) in order to gain control over the territory around Damascus, Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) analyst Kirill Mikhailov said in a comment to InfoResist news outlet.

According to the expert, the world media has paid attention to the new chemical attack in Syria only because it killed so many people. However, he believes that Syria has constantly been using chemical weapons.

“Makeshift chemical attacks are constantly taking place there. Near Damascus it has been repeatedly observed that balloons with chlorine are mounted on Iranian salvo missiles. Balloons with chlorine are dumped from helicopters. This is basically the same kind of tactic of theirs as dropping homemade bombs on residential quarters,” the analyst said.

Mikhailov assumes that the primary purpose of the attack was the Assad regime’s desire to take complete control over the suburbs of Damascus, which are controlled by three groups, and not to cause a reaction in the West.

“The whole time there have been three main groups: Faylaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam. After the Syrian forces, with Russian support, most likely artillery, sliced Eastern Ghouta into three enclaves, the two of them which had been controlled by Ahrar al-Sham and Faylaq al-Rahman surrendered. This was done primarily to save the lives of the civilians whom they continued to kill. They agreed to surrender and be deported to other regions of Syria, so that at least a portion of the civilian population could survive this hell.

“But Jaysh al-Islam is a special case. Firstly, it is the most powerful rebel group in Eastern Ghouta, which believed it could resist for a long time. Secondly, in Idlib, where they are usually deported to, they have serious enemies… They proposed the following course of action: they would hand over their heavy weapons and remain in Duma [with the rights of local police], as it is the largest settlement north-east of Damascus,” Mikhailov explained.

Russia, which wants to bring an end to the war in this region, was prepared to accept this arrangement, the expert noted.

“But Assad, who really does not want to share any sovereignty over Syria, begins new offensives, new chemical attacks. And what do we see? Within literally a few hours, Jaysh al-Islam agrees to capitulate unconditionally in order to be deported, and effectively hands over this city to the regime forces,” the analyst explained.

Mikhailov believes that Assad took such a course of action because the West has not normally reacted to the use of chemical weapons. However, due to the large number of victims in Duma, the situation was different. Nevertheless, it is still too early to talk of specific response measures.

“This all looks very vague, and we don’t know what the response will be. It is clear, of course, that it can only be limited, because none of the western countries in Syria have any strategy, although they declare it necessary to overthrow the Assad regime. But they don’t know how to do it. As I said, over the last seven years Assad has methodically destroyed everyone who was prepared to dispute his authority, with the support of Russia and Iran. Now there is virtually no one who could take his place,” the analyst observed.

Due to the chemical attack, the US forces will not be able to withdraw from Syria as Trump said, and they will have to do something in order to save face, Mikhailov concluded.

  Syrian Conflict, chemical attack, Assad