Rex Tillerson: Russia bears responsibility for Syria chemical attacks

Introduction — Jan 24, 2018

Tillerson chemical weapons conference
Chemical weapons attacks on civilians by Syrian government forces have repeatedly turned out to have been staged, so why is U.S. Secretary of State repeating this worn canard?
The timing of Tillerson’s comments and the conference itself are especially significant. As only the day before reports emerged of the Syrian government using chemical weapons on civilians in eastern Damascus.
It’s also worth considering whether the attacks weren’t timed to coincide with the conference? It’s quite a coincidence and as a mentor once remarked: “there is no such thing as ‘coincidence'”.
While the timing was critical, even more noteworthy was the source of the reports. One was the Syrian White Helmets, an utterly discredited group that is supposedly engaged in humanitarian rescue work, which was originally founded by James Le Mesurier, a former British intelligence officer turned freelance “security expert.
Funded by both the U.S. and British, the White Helmets have been used in staged propaganda set pieces where they are filmed rescuing civilians in the aftermath of attacks, invariably attributed to Syrian government forces.
In effect, the White Helmets are actors in stage managed propaganda.
The other source of reports referred to by Tellerson is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Like the White Helmets the SOHR sounds very laudable but like the fraudulent rescue organisation it is also funded by the British government.
Run by one man, Syrian born Rami Abdulrahman, based in Coventry, England, the SOHR is far from the frontlines. Yet it is regularly quoted as a source of information by the corporate media even though, by his own admission, Abdulrahman hasn’t been back to his native Syria in nearly twenty years.
Moreover, the SOHR has a history of disseminating reports that cast Syrian government forces and their Russian allies in a bad light.
Despite this Secretary of State Tillerson is citing reports from such sources as the basis for U.S. policy in Syria. While the following Guardian report quotes Tillerson without question and without any reference to earlier disproved claims from the same sources. Ed.

Rex Tillerson: Russia bears responsibility for Syria chemical attacks

Patrick Wintour — Jan 24, 2018

Russia bears the ultimate responsibility for suspected chemical weapons attacks committed by the Syrian regime, the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said.

Tillerson’s comments came a day after reports of a fresh chemical weapons attack in the rebel enclave of East Ghouta, which injured more than 20 people, most of them children.

Speaking at a conference in Paris on Tuesday aimed at stepping up international pressure on perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks, Tillerson condemned Russia for “shielding” its Syrian ally against punishment for its actions.

His remarks came after the US announced last week that its forces will remain in Syria indefinitely, infuriating Moscow. They are also likely to raise tensions ahead of fresh rounds of talks in Vienna and Russia over the next fortnight aiming to find a political solution for the seven-year civil war.

“Only yesterday more than 20 civilians, most of them children, were victims of an apparent chlorine gas attack,” Tillerson said of the incident, which left victims struggling to breathe. He added that such attacks “raise serious concerns that Bashar al-Assad may be continuing to use chemical weapons against his own people”.

Damascus has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons, with the United Nations among those blaming government forces for an April 2017 sarin gas attack on the opposition-held village of Khan Sheikhun which left more than 80 people dead.

Tillerson said Russia was in violation of a 2013 agreement it made with the US on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and is helping the Syrian government to breach the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans their use.

The Paris conference of diplomats from 29 countries had been convened to push for sanctions and criminal charges against the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria and other countries.

Russia twice used its UN veto in November to prevent an extension of an international expert inquiry into chemical attacks in Syria. Russia denies shielding Syria at the UN, claiming its investigations into chemical weapons attacks in Syria had not produced conclusive evidence and were biased.

“Whoever conducted the attacks, Russia ultimately bears responsibility for the victims in East Ghouta and countless other Syrians targeted with chemical weapons, since Russia became involved in Syria,” Tillerson told reporters.

“There is simply no denying that Russia, by shielding its Syrian ally, has breached its commitments to the US as a framework guarantor. At a bare minimum, Russia must stop vetoing, or at the very least abstain, from future security council votes on this issue,” he added.

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