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Did Assad’s Army Launch a Chemical Warhead on a Syrian town?

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Immediate Intelligence Bulletin

Information Date: March 19, 2013

Information Item: Did Assad’s Army launch a chemical warhead on Syrian town?

Event Date: March 19, 2013

Information Details: A Free Syrian Army official argues that Assad’s army launched a long range missile armed with a chemical warhead on the Syrian city of Han Ala’sal, located in the outskirts of Aleppo in northern Syria.

Information Platform: Arab Media

Source: Free Syrian Army

Source reliability: Unknown

Information Validity: Unknown

Relevant Information: Earlier today, Syrian national TV reported that Syrian rebels fired a chemical warhead on the town of Han Ala’sal killing 15 people and injuring dozens. That report was not confirmed.

It should be noted that in the beginning of December 2012, a Free Syrian Army spokesman argued that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons. To support that argument, the rebels published a video of alleged victims of that attack. To the best of my knowledge, the people on that video suffered breathing difficulties caused by an unidentified non-lethal material used to disperse demonstrations, and not as an outcome of a chemical weapons attack.

Assessment: To date, all reports and claims regarding the alleged use of chemical weapons in the war in Syria were not confirmed.

The Syrian TV report accusing the rebels of using chemical weapon should be viewed as unreliable. For different reasons it is very unlikely that Syrian rebels (including Islamic militant groups) would use a chemical weapon.

The fact that the Syrian TV report was aired the same day President Obama is visiting the area could indicate that the report is part of the Assad regime’s attempt to present the war in Syria as a war launched by Al-Qaida and Radical Islamic groups who threaten the stability of the region.

That being said, the Syrian TV report may be also a preliminary move aimed to justify the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in the future. That scenario is definitely not a science fiction.

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Immediate Intelligence Bulletin

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