CONTENT PREVIEW
CBRN Assessment

Rationale behind Syrian chemical attack still unclear

01 September 2013
The US government released this map showing the areas of Damascus affected by the 21 August chemical weapons attacks. (White House)

The United States and United Kingdom have both released reports accusing the Syrian military of using chemical weapons (CW) in the Damascus area on 21 August, but neither expressed any certainty about why the attacks were ordered.

The US report, released on 30 August, said a combination of human, geospatial and communications intelligence showed the Syrian military was responsible for bombarding opposition areas with rockets and/or artillery shells carrying chemical warfare agents. The US government assessed that 1,429 civilians were killed.

It claimed a pattern of earlier attacks showed "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons over the last year primarily to gain the upper hand or break a stalemate in areas where it has struggled to seize and hold strategically valuable territory".



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