Israel claims ‘proof’ of chemical weapons use by Assad regime

‘No one has any doubts’ asserts senior official

Free Syrian Army fighters  on  a rooftop during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s neighbourhood of Salaheddine yesterday. 

Photograph: Ammar Abdullah

Free Syrian Army fighters on a rooftop during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s neighbourhood of Salaheddine yesterday. Photograph: Ammar Abdullah

 



A senior Israeli official says intelligence services have concrete proof the Syrian military has used chemical weapons against rebels.

According to the official, who remained anonymous, there is unequivocal evidence showing forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad have engaged in chemical warfare.

“These are not intelligence estimates . . . rather proof, and even more than proof. There is substantial material about the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s army. It is known to all intelligence agencies. All intelligence elements have been updated. No one has any doubts on the matter.”

The comments were significantly more clear-cut than statements last week by Brig Gen Itai Brun, the head of the military intelligence research and analysis division, who indicated Syrian troops had used sarin nerve gas several times in the past few weeks.

US president Barack Obama has said use of chemical weapons would constitute a “game-changer”, but American officials said last week that although the Israeli assertions were probably true, concrete proof was needed.

The latest comments by the Israeli official came after the security cabinet convened for discussions on how Israel should respond to the crisis.


New dangers
While Israel would welcome the fall of the Assad regime as a serious blow to the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned yesterday that Syria was “cracking”, and that new forces were rising that posed two possible dangers – “an attack from the Golan Heights and lethal weapons falling into the hands of Hizbullah and other terror groups”.