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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The First Bodies Tossed Across Obama's "Red Line" in Syria

The First Bodies Tossed Across Obama's "Red Line" in Syria
Re-visiting the Earliest Deadly Alleged CW Incidents {Masterlist}
February 12, 2017

edits 11/26,27 - 12/8... 8/16/2018...

Some ill-informed people still think chemical weapons allegations in Syria first surfaced in August, 2013 with the infamous Ghouta massacre that spurred threats of US military action. Most fairly informed observers know that alleged attacks date back further, to March 19 of that year at least. Some even know that's why CW "inspectors" were there already when the Ghouta incident went down, at Syria's invitation to look into terrorist CW attacks, and ready to "confirm" the deadliest CW attack since Halabjah. 
March 19's twin incidents (or was it triplets, with one stillborn?) is where we start here, and then go backwards to increasingly unknown but deadly alleged CW incidents from the murky and tentative beginning. Next, we'll go back to a semi-known pair of chemical incidents the previous December, then two more earlier in December. Then we'll turn to a little known pair of alleged attacks even earlier, in November, that didn't get reported at the time, for a total of four parts, each covering 2-3 incidents, paired on the same or nearby days (that's just how they come).  
If there's time, I might start at March 19 again and go forward through other pre-Ghouta allegations. But for now...
"Red line," of course refers to Obama's threat to intervene military against Syria's government if it was believed to have used, or to be planning to use, its feared chemical weapons. Rumors of attacks, all small or vague, had already emerged by then, but no clear attack reports existed. But this could be an appealing invitation to rebels: create the impression of an Assad gas attack, and you can get military help.
That threat was first issued by Obama on August 20, 2012, exactly one year (almost to the hour, adjusted for time zones) before the infamous Ghouta alleged sarin attack of August 21, 2013 (some of the child victims shown). This was said to dump 1,429, or perhaps 1,700 bodies across the "red line." I've set a visual minimum of about 420, mostly placed in the same east and west Ghouta area UN "inspectors" had just arrived between. The true number may be anywhere in that huge span;  I suspect 5-800. It was definitely a massive crime, with a lot of crime scenes, that the approved experts never did assess very well. Most clues agree in suggesting terrorists were behind this. (some on-site work and starting points gathered here)
In between Obama's threat/offer and this massive crossing of the "red line" on its first birthday ... no clear attack reports emerged shortly after August 20. However, a public reminder from Obama on December 3 (which was my own first notice) was followed by Syria's only chlorine factory and perhaps a Syrian CW cache, being seized by Jabhat al-Nusra around December 6 (see here), and a slew of small-scale CW allegations from both sides, on December 6, 8, 22, and 23. (December 8 is the only one close to the chemical seizures, BTW, and worth more study). Two of these involved fatalities, 7 dead each, but one was ignored and the other was widely dismissed as not crossing the "red line."
--modified 11/26/2017--
As if noticing they had failed, allegations paused. Then there was the loud and strange re-emergence of the issue on March 19, which we'll start with and more attempts running up to the famous Ghouta massacre on Augutst 21. I've expanded the scope of this to run up to August 20 - first bodies = before Ghouta. And from there back (and then forward, in a now-scrambled order), here are, as far as we know, the details behind the first 43 bodies (new tally f/c), from both sides in the conflict, tossed over the line in small, paired batches.
--end update--

           The First Bodies Tossed Across Obama's "Red Line" in Syria         
(to start, working backwards in time from an early high point)

Part 1: What Happened on March 19, 2013? (posted Feb. 5)
Was there a three-part false-flag event planned? On one day: 
- Khan al-Assal, Aleppo (20 dead, mostly mixed civilians, Syrian soldiers affected), government blamed for the accident while trying to gas rebel areas (ACLOS page)
- Otaybah, Damascus Suburbs (5 civilian men of two families, a rebel, and a displaced baby killed, rebels affected), government blamed (ACLOS page)
- Baba Amr, Homs (no one dead?), government blamed, incident quickly forgotten to claim just two attacks, not three, happened this day. (ACLOS section)
    One of these was clearly by rebels, using crude sarin, one was allegedly by the government, also it seems using crude sarin, and the other fizzled out with few details and vanished from the record. Why then? What were they thinking? Who died and how, etc.?
Related: did the Saudis order this up?

Part 2: What Happened December 23, 2012 in Homs?   (posted Feb. 11)
    And what happened the day before? (7 Syrian soldiers killed in Daraya by a toxic gas, Dec. 22). Because one day later, activists reported a gas attack in Homs, maybe revenge. (7 men, rebels or civilians is contested) Was it Sarin missiles, or BZ grenades? Or something else, or two or three other things? Because there's no clear sign of sarin, opinions centered on BZ, which is non-fatal, and yet we've got 7 dead men. See also ACLOS page.
Note: a very-little-noted follow-up incident was alleged in Homs two days later, on Christmas. One wonders if it happened to affects some Christians... details scarce. It was noted by Julian Perry Robinson in this interesting and useful 2013 report.

Part 3: What Happened December 6 and 22, 2012 in Daraya?
     (added 11/27) Dec. 6 and Dec. 8 were covered at ACLOS but had no reported bodies tossed in either. One is in Daraya, Damascus suburbs, and the other in Safirah, Aleppo suburbs, quite near Jabhat al-Nusra's mass seizure of chlorine a couple days earlier...the Aleppo one (Dec. 8) I may cover right here, but the Daraya one is best lumped into the post on Dec. 22's allegations: 7 SAA soldiers killed swiftly by a mysterious yellow gas, while serving in Daraya. (ACLOS) The same exact number of adult males would die the next day in Homs, as if in revenge and/or to clarify it was the regime, not rebels, hurling gas around, and let's stop talking about Daraya, this is way up in Homs....

Part 3.5: WTF Happened in Daraya/Moadamiya, November 28-30, 2012?
Added August 16, 2018 - three civilian men, 2 related, one an activist, and perhaps a teenage FSA fighter killed, bizarre clinical signs and clues

Part 4: What Happened A Little Ways from Douma, Nov., 2012? (Feb 13)
     (Damascus suburbs, 2 children, both from displaced families from Douma, killed in other towns a week apart, in alleged chemical attacks that didn't get reported at the time.)

Part 4.b (built-in here): what happened even earlier?
  • Red Flags report: October 17, 2012 in Salqin, Idlib (Turkish border) - UN 12/2013 France Alleg. "did not receive sufficient or credible information..."  
  • Mid-2012 murky possibility 
  • specific but weak allegations in Baba Amr, Feb. 2012 (Robinson)
Flipping back now to part 1 in March 2013 and going forward - before hitting part 5 in April, in between are some unclear and mostly or totally non-fatal CW allegations. As tallied in the Red Lines report (current, first, imperfect version)
  • 3-13, Daraya, D.sub -UN rpt 12/2013 US alleg. "did not receive sufficient or credible information..."
  • 3-14, Otaybah, D.sub - Rep by Le Monde WP preview for 3-19
  • 3-24, Adra, D.sub - sarin alleged - ACLOS (little info)
  • 3-25, Daraya, D.sub - ACLOS (little info)
  • 4-9, Otaybah, D.sub - ACLOS Only animals died
Part 5: What Happened the Night of April 13/14 in Sheikh Maqsoud?
    (Added 11/26) (ACLOS page)

Part 6: What Happened April, 2013 in Jobar?
    Dadada (=forthcoming)
4-6 ACLOS page - 4/7, 4/11. 4/12, 4/13 ... 4/18 ... 4-25, Daraya, D.sub - US alleg. UN rpt 12/2013 "did not receive sufficient or credible information..."

Part 7: What Happened April 26 in Barzeh?
    Post added 12/13: (see also ACLOS page)

Part 8: What Happened April 29 in Saraqeb?
    Dadada (ACLOS page)

In between: May 1, Qusayr, Homs - mustard gas, Hezbollah blamed (ACLOS) otherwise, mustard gas claims are rare, and have mostly been associated with ISIS, used in Iraq and mostly used against Kurds in Syria and  - likely them here in what would later be a known ISIS hotbed at the Lebanon border. For the most part I've skipped ISIS attacks in my study for lack of controversy. But this one was blamed on Hezbollah. I still haven't studied it, but it got noted.)

Part 9: What Happened mid-May in Qasr Abu Samrah?
    Dadada - a minor and unclear incident killing at least one opposition fighter of some rank, that always seemed interesting

Part 10: What Happened over the summer?
    Dadada- includes May 26/27 Harasta, June 19 Zamalka - Khan al-Assal Massacre and stalling of investigation, etc...

Part 11: What Happened Aug 5 in Adra?

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