Chemical Weapons Used in Syria — By the Rebels…
This according to the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which has considerable investigative ability. Reuters:
(Reuters) – U.N. human rights investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical staff indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin, one of the lead investigators said on Sunday.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has not yet seen evidence of government forces having used chemical weapons, which are banned under international law, said commission member Carla Del Ponte.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Del Ponte said in an interview with Swiss-Italian television.
“This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added, speaking in Italian.
Recent news reports indicate that the Obama administration has been rethinking its opposition to arming the Syrian rebels. The Commission’s revelations, if true, not only complicate that idea but also deprive those who (in my view misguidedly) want to invoke the responsibility to protect to justify military intervention in Syria of one of their most potent rhetorical weapons. It’s easy to justify intervening in a civil war when one side is “good” and the other is “bad.” The situation is much more complicated, however, when a civil war involves two bad sides, even if one side — here, clearly the Syrian government — is worse than the other.
PS. As Ty McCormick points out at FP.com, the Commission’s findings would seem to validate Obama’s unwillingness to conclude — as demanded by the British, French, and Israelis — that the Syrian government has been responsible for using chemical weapons.