Syria: Al-Nusra With "Chemical Weapons" Sourced From Turkey

8 May 2013 — Moon of Alabama

[As ever MofA is carrying some excellent analysis of the situation in Syria. WB]

One of the three alleged “chemical weapon” attacks in Syria was done by chlorine on a checkpoint of the Syrian army. Fifteen soldiers died.

Two other attacks which Israel Britain and France alleged were done by the Syrian army and were somewhat mysterious. With collaboration of two bloggers and a photographer the incidents are now likely to be interpreted very different than Israel, Britain and France alleged.

Eliot Higgins, who blogs as Brown Moses, analyzed pictures of ammunition debris found at the two alleged attack sides.

The photographer Jeffry Ruigendijk photographed a salafist Al-Nusra fighter carrying a riot control gas canister that looks very similar to the ammunition debris found at the attacked places.

Small arms expert N.R. Jenzen-Jones identified the producer of these canisters and the likely way they found their way into Al-Nusra hands:

[T]he munitions do appear quite similar to those produced by the Indian Border Security Force’s Tear Smoke Unit (TSU), at their plant in Tekanpur, Madhya Pradesh. Several of their production items appear to share physical similarities with the unidentified grenade, but the closest visual match is their ‘Tear Smoke Chilli Grenade’, seen below. This grenade contains a combination of CS gas ( 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile) and ‘synthetic chilli’ (likely a synthetic capsaicin, such as nonivamide) – both common riot control agents.

Riot control agents like tear gas or pepper spray can be deadly when, for example, used in closed rooms. They symptoms vary (pdf) but there are usually respiratory problems just as those described by those people who were under the alleged “chemical weapons attack.

So how did the Al-Nusra fighters get their hands on a Indian Border Security Force’s Tear Smoke Unit grenade?

This Indian news article notes that Turkey purchased 10,025 munitions from TSU in 2007, which may indicate a possible avenue of supply, particularly if the grenades were in the hands of rebel forces, as the image at top appears to indicate.

The “chemical weapon” attacks were not done by the Syrian army. They were done by so called “rebels” with chlorine and with riot control agents by jihadist insurgencies who sourced the gas by stealing it from a Syrian factory and somehow obtained riot control agents from official Turkish state stocks.

The Israeli, the British and the French government tried to instigate a wider war on Syria by making false allegations about “chemical weapon” attacks by the Syrian army. The U.S. nearly joined them in their allegations. Will all those op-ed writers and tried to use the “fact” of chemical weapon usage now call for all out war on Al-Nusra?

Don’t bet on it.

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