A rather dangerous article has come out written by Simon Tisdall in the Guardian calling for a full western military intervention after the Douma chemical attacks. What would be the benefit of such a move? Have we learned nothing from Libya, Iraq, etc? As usual the facts on this attack are very muddled. Russia warned of an imminent false flag chemical attack occuring right about now, a statement largely ignored by the western media. Also what would be the benefit to Assad in carrying out such an attack? Apart from Rojava, state control is within his grasp. These attacks also tend to happen when FSA territories are on their last legs like in Aleppo and Ghouta. Is Assad that much of a monster to make this his trademark in putting the final tack into a rebel held territory? It's likely but you have to look at the other side of the coin.
How does a situation like this benefit the FSA? After every chemical situation there is an outcry for full, western boots on the ground intervention. As the opposition, this is exactly what they want. So the west ups the game, destroys the country even further and kills Assad, then what? FSA takeover? Note the FSA started out as a genuine movement to overthrow a tyrant leader and turn power to the Sunni majority but without the full support of their fellow countrymen or serious hardware at their disposal, they started dragging in dozens of Jihadi groups no different to Al Q and daesh. FSA ain't what they used to be and in my opinion aren't the answer and are incredibly irresponsible.
Take the Afrin situation. Afrin which hosts a Kurdish majority population was attacked by Turkey in January who recruited several factions from FSA and former ISIS fighters who 'surrendered' to them. The Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces initially took them on but with the level of indiscriminate airstrikes targeting civilians and ethnic cleansing on the cards, the Kurds retreated from Afrin to prevent it becoming another Aleppo. They left the city to save the city and it's people. Over 300 civilians were killed by Turks and pals but this figure would be astronomically higher if the Kurds hunkered down, like FSA do, like they always have done, until there is nothing and no-one left.
Although the Kurds lost Afrin, them leaving the region with a bloody nose saved thousands of lives. Now the Kurds are fighting the Turks/FSA via snipers in the countryside. Why can't FSA do this? Why must they embed themselves in heavily populated areas? The war is at the stage where FSA will not, repeat WILL NOT defeat Assad and Russia.
And every beligerant in this war is pointing fingers when the chemicals come out. Truth is they're all at it. In April 2016 I witnessed Turkey, who are the FSA's major backers, using chemical weapons on a city in their own territory, Nusaybin which had tens of thousands of civilians trapped and under cerfew inside. This incident, one of many was captured by an Italian freelancer and the only news source that took his footage was Russia Today. RT have been accused of spreading fake news, as have all media outlets reporting on this war but were on the money this time round. FSA themselves have been reported to have used chemical weapons against the regime and in civilian areas but it's only when Assad is accused of doing this that the BBC and Co go into a frenzy.
So in my opinion, trying to sift through the real/fake news swamp is that Assad may have done this, but it's what the FSA wanted, they rely on fuckery like this in the hopes that the west storm in in droves and throw Syria into further disarray. But the US/UK/ Germany going up against Russia? That shit ain't happening so this current trend will continue. Was it Assad? Was it instigated by FSA to garner further western support or sympathy? Was it all just made up? None of us are there so we simply don't know. But what I do know, again my wee opinion, is that FSA must pull out of all remaining heavily populated areas and either take it to the table or take it to the hills.
Photo of Turkish chemical attack in Nusaybin 2016.
Photo © Binxet Sotto Il Confine