2 November 2013 — 4th Media
Testimony by a Liwa Asifat al-Shamal member implicates Saudi, Lebanese and Turkish Officials and Officers, including the Lebanese MP Saad Hariri and Saudi Arabi´s Intelligence Chief Bandar bin Sultan, in Weapons Trafficking and the Trafficking of the Nerve Agent Sarin to Mercenary Brigades in Syria. The Testimony Implicates Bandar and Hariri in the Chemical Weapons Attack in Khan Al-Assal on 5 March 2013.
A captured member of the Liwa Asifat al-Shamal or Storm of the North Brigade, Waissi Samo Kanno, admitted on Syrian television, that he had contacted Turkish and Gulf-Arab officials as well as the Lebanese Member of Parliament from the Hariri – led Future Movement, Oqab Saqr, for coordinating and conducting combat operations in Aleppo, and for receiving weapons, including the internationally banned nerve agent Sarin.
In his confession, the 40-year old Kanno admitted, that he had transferred chemicals from the Turkish city of Kilis to Azaz in Syria, where Kanno has been working as the principal of a school before taking up arms. Kanno also admitted to robbing factories in Syria and to transferring the stolen goods to Turkey.
The former school principal said, that he had joined the so-called “Omar Ibn al-Aas Wing” of Liwa Asifatal-Shamal upon the request of the brigade´s leader, Ammar Dadikhi, who according to Kanno used to work as a smuggler between Turkey and Syria.
The Liwa Asifat al-Shamal brigade is known to be working in close liaison with Turkish and other core NATO members special forces, and the midi sized brigades primary objective has for a long time been the exercising of control over the Bab al-Salama border checkpoint between Turkey and Syria.
The brigade is known for having launched several attacks on Syrian military positions, bases and an airfield in direct liaison with Turkish and other core NATO members´ special forces.
In his confession, Kanno pointed out that he used to take part in attacking checkpoints of the Syrian army at the entrance to Aleppo on the orders of Ammar Dadikhi, who in turn received his orders from Turkish, Lebanese and other sponsors.
Kanno´s confession further corroborates that the foreign-backed insurgents are operating under a much more centralized command structure than statements by i.e. US government officials and reports in western mainstream media would lead one to believe.
Kanno referred, for example, to an operation which his brigade had carried out against an army checkpoint in Bustan al-Basha, in which also the Al-Ghurabaa Battalion, which included gunmen from Libya, Turkey and Chechnya participated.
Later on, Kanno added, he stopped taking part in combat operations to join the brigades political council, whose mission was to meet foreign sponsors and officers of various nationalities, including Saudi Arabian, Turkish and Qatari.
Kanno explicitly referred to one meeting with Turkish officers along with gunmen from other groups, during which the officers asked them to attack the Minnegh military airfield in exchange for facilitating the transfer of money and weapons.
In late April, nsnbc reported that insurgents, including Jabhat al-Nusrah fighters, were fighting side by side with Turkish troops and pilots in an attack on the Minnegh airfield. Syrian government and military officials stated furthermore, that the chemical weapons attack on the Khan al-Assal district of Aleppo in April 2013 had been launched from an area where Turkish forces were known to be operating.
Kanno detailed, that the preparation and execution of the attack on the Minnegh airfield was carried out by 700 gunmen under the leadership of Dadikhi, using all types of weapons, and that 60 of the gunmen were killed.
Kanno added that the failure to secure the Minnegh airfield prompted intensive visits by Turkish and Gulf Arab officers to Azaz, and he stressed, that ” the Turkish and Gulf Arab officers demanded full control over the airport at any price”.
Lebanese MP Oqab Saqr visits Azaz, conveying Greetings from Saad al Hariri and Bandar bin Sultan.
In his testimony, the captured Liwa Asifat al-Shamal member and former school principle, Waissi Samo Kanno, also referred to a visit by the Lebanese MP Oqab Saqr to Azaz. Kanno said, that Saqr and Dadikhi had close ties to each other.
During his visit, said Kanno, Saqr tried to boost the morale of the gunmen and conveyed to them the greetings of the leader of the Future Movement Saad al Hariri and the Saudi Intelligence Chief Emir Bandar bin Sultan.
Kanno stated that Saqr, during a meeting in the Kilis camp, gave the gunmen 200.000 UD dollars and that he promised to provide them with quality weapons. Kanno added that Saqr, on the explicit orders of Saad al Hariri, asked the insurgents to kidnap Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese pilgrims who use to travel via Azaz.
He added, that Dadikhi was tasked with the abduction of a group of pilgrims “who probably were Lebanese”, upon the request of Saad Hariri.
Kanno stressed that both Turkish and Saudi military officers were involved in transferring Sarin gas to the insurgents. Kanno explicitly mentioned one occasion when a number of leaders of armed groups went to meet Turkish and Saudi officers in Kilis, who gave them a box, containing chemical materials, namely four bottles of Sarin.
The testimony by Kanno adds to mounting evidence that implies direct political and command responsibility for chemical weapons attacks among top political, military and intelligence leaders of Arab and Western countries.
An earlier report, detailing the chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta, Damascus, on 21 August, places direct political and command responsibility at top White House, Pentagon and CIA level as well as in the Saudi Interior Ministry.
Kanno´s testimony adds to and corroborated Bandar´s and now also Hariri´s probable involvement in facilitating the chemical weapons attack on Khan al-Assal on 5 March 2013. It is noteworthy that an additional attack was launched on Khan al-Assal, killing 123. The second attack, on July 2013, was according to some reports, carried out with the explicit purpose to liquidate eyewitnesses to the chemical weapons attack in March.
Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. His work with traumatized victims of conflict has led him to also pursue the work as political consultant. He is a lifelong activist for peace and justice, human rights, Palestinians rights to self-determination in Palestine, and he is working on the establishment of international institutions for the prosecution of all war crimes, also those committed by privileged nations. On 28 August 2011 he started his blog nsnbc, appalled by misrepresentations of the aggression against Libya and Syria. In March 2013 he turned nsnbc into a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at firstname.lastname@example.org