An independent news source, Mint News, has claimed in a new report that the “chemical attack” in a Damascus suburb now being used as an excuse to attack Syria, was in fact an accidental triggering of a weapon by rebels which had been secretly stored in tunnels in the area.
The report, which was written by veteran correspondent Dale Gavlak and Jordanian freelance journalist Yahya Ababneh, claims that “from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families” a completely different version of events has emerged.
The article, titled “Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack” says that “many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.”
It quotes one civilian resident of Ghouta, named as Abu Abdel-Moneim (who is the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad) as sayig that “My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry.
Adel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion.
The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
According the article, Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.
If this claim is correct, it will turn the allegations of “chemical attacks” on its head and thoroughly expose the lies spouted by the pro-war parties in America and Britain.
Important Note: The New Observer is not in a position to assert the veracity or otherwise of the Mint Press article.
However, the credentials of its main writer, Dale Gavlak, are known to our editorial team and are impressive.
She has previously reported for the Associated Press, NPR and BBC from Jordan, and is an expert in Middle Eastern affairs, holding a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.
She can be contacted at her email address of dgavlak @ mintpressnews.com