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Follow clayclai on Twitter

My fear is growing in any case and it has been prompted by not one, but two articles in the Iranian based PressTV today. Both articles claim that those opposing the Assad regime already have chemical weapons and are likely to use them soon. I don't believe these PressTV reports, mind you, because I have found them to be a known source of pro-Qaddafi, pro-Russian and pro-Assad mis-information, as exampled by this exposure I did of them here during the Libyan revolution, but I am greatly troubled by these reports, and a similar flurry of others from the pro-Assad bloggers and tweets, not because I fear that the Free Syrian Army has WMD and plans to use then, but because I know the Assad regime has WMD and the propaganda blitz sounds to me like the ground is being prepared to use them and blame the usage on the FSA.

When I add to that the fact the the Assad regime has apparently been stalled and, according to some reports even lost ground, in its big push to take back the country's business hub, Aleppo, from the opposition, I can easily imagine that they are reaching a point of desperation where the use of chemical weapons is something they might be willing to risk.

This morning PressTV published this set up piece, which also ran in the TehranTimes later in the day:

Insurgents in Aleppo likely received WMDs: Reports
Wed Aug 8, 2012 10:7AM GMT

Reports say the foreign-sponsored insurgents in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo may have been provided with chemical weapons.

The development comes as the Syrian army launched a major ground operation in Aleppo on Wednesday. The insurgents have retreated from the southwestern neighborhood of Salahuddin. More ...

As usual with PressTV these "reports" have no source, and the article has no further details on the alleged WMD being provided to insurgents, it just puts the fear out there.

Then about twelve hours later PressTV followed up with this gem:

Orwellian ramifications unfold in Syria
Wed Aug 8, 2012 9:11PM GMT

There is a horrible speculation that the insurgents in Syria may have seized hold of chemical weapons.

Apart from the catastrophically unthinkable havoc the rebels can wreak in Syria and in the region with the WMDs, the rhetorical question which remains is how these weapons of mass destruction have fallen into the hands of the insurgents who are chiefly composed of Wahhabi al-Qaeda mercenaries of different nationalities including Afghans, Iraqis, Turkish, Yemenis, Jordanians, Pakistanis, and Saudis. More ...

So here they are commenting on the speculation created by their first article, and have completely disregarded the need to provide any proof that the Free Syria Army has chemical weapons and has jumped to the when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife question of how they got them. What slight of hand!

At the same time they make it clear that they think the opposition to Bashar al-Assad is anything but Syrian. According to them it is made up entirely by foreign aggressors, which would seem to relieve Assad of his pledge never to used his WMD on the Syrian people.  

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And as I said, there has been a flurry of such reports from the usual pro-Assad mouthpieces lately, so much so that it has the feeling of a concerted effort, like this piece here posted two days ago:

US Mercenaries planning a Chemical attack in Syria

Posted by ozyism at 7:27 PM August/06/12

Many Syrians and outside observers alike, fear that militants may deploy chemical weapons in one or more locations around Syria, creating a mass-casualty event to subsequently be blamed on the government by a coordinated Western media disinformation campaign.

The so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) has already been conducting strings of devastating, indiscriminate mass-casualty bombings across the country, as reported by Reuters', "Outgunned Syria rebels make shift to bombs."

Libyan weapons, cash, and fighters have also all been confirmed to have made it into Syria in an effort to undermine, divide and destroy Syria. More ...

On 3 August someone hacked the Reuters website and posted a number of pro-Assad fake news stories. One of the false stories claimed that rebels had acquired chemical weapons from Libya and were preparing to smuggle them into Syria.

Here is a Russian tweet with a quick line up pattern. He managed to tweet the fake Reuters article before they found it and took it down:


In fact there was a flood of tweets based on that fake Reuters story. That's the way the cyberwar is being fought by the Russian side these days:






A week ago there was a whole series of tweets and blogs about "NATO-backed" militants with gas masks, the implication being that they were preparing to use chemical weapons:
That one takes video of weapons the FSA captured from the Syrian army and reuses it in a lie.

So seeing all this propaganda activity on the part of the backers of the Assad regime designed to lay the basis for claiming that the Free Syrian Army has used WMD, I have to ask why?

Frankly, I'm worried that they are preparing the obvious cover story for their own desperate use of chemical weapons.

The Guardian had this report on the fighting around Aleppo today:

Syria rebels claim upper hand as battle for Aleppo grinds towards stalemate
Despite forces massed on both sides, neither seems willing or able to make decisive move on Salahedin neighbourhood
Martin Chulov in Aleppo
Wednesday 8 August 2012 13.42 EDT   

The day started in Salahedin just as it had for the past fortnight, with rebels under fierce assault from a nearby ring road and the Syrian Air Force blitzing them from the skies.

Just before daybreak, however, the frontline – thus far seemingly solid – began to wobble. Rebels briefly withdrew as the regime pushed forward with men and tanks. This, it seemed, was the start of the battle for Aleppo, an inexorable showdown for which the whole city had been nervously preparing.

Then, only several hours after daybreak, the regime retreated and the weary guerillas returned to their sandbags. Government claims to have conquered the enemy stronghold were false, as were the rebels' later claims to have breached regime lines. Nothing seems to be going to script in this war.

All the might that the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad can muster is now camped just over a large bank of land to the east of Salahedin, the suburb of Aleppo that has become the focal point of the conflict. All the men the guerrilla force can assemble are holed up in crumbling buildings, the closest of them only 200m from the nearest regime tank.

Yet the decisive battle that most in Aleppo seemed to have feared is slowly giving way to another – even more dreaded – reality. Stalemate, with neither side willing or able to advance. A new sense is beginning to settle in that neither Salahedin, nor the rest of Syria's second city, will see an end to the fighting any time soon. More...

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
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UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
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BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
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BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
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no blood for oil
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Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
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BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout
Extended (Optional)

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