Homemade chemical ammunition used in March attack in Syria: Russia
Russia says that home-made ammunition was used in a chemical attack carried out in Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo in March, which killed over two dozen people.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, “The used round of ammunition was a homemade item on the basis of rockets made in Syria’s north by the so-called Bashair Al-Nasr brigade.”
Moscow made the statement based on conclusions reached by the Russian experts who carried out an investigation into the March 19 chemical attack, which reportedly left 26 Syrian civilians and soldiers dead and nearly 100 others affected.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the chemical weapons used in the attack were not made by the Syrian army.
The findings by the Russian experts come amid a rising threat of war against Syria over the unsubstantiated accusation that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons…
Chemical weapons sent from Turkey to Syria: Former Turkish provincial official
A former member of a city council in the Turkish province of Hatay says the chemical weapons used in last month’s attack in Syria were transported from Turkey, Press TV reports.
“Four months ago, Turkish security forces found a two-kilogram cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the al-Qaeda and al-Nusra. They are using our borders to take the gas into Syria,” Mohamad Gunes said.
“The Syrian president has no reason to kill his own people,” he added.
People in the southern province, which borders Syria, said the weapons were used by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front militants and not the Syrian government.
“America and Israel had al-Qaeda use chemical weapons in order to push us into war; none of us wants war here. In the history of Hatay, we all lived peacefully side by side, now there is Mossad, CIA and al-Qaeda all over the place. We are worried that they might use chemical weapons against us,” said Farid Mainy, a Hatay resident and an activist.
The residents believe the Turkish government is allowing the transfer of weapons because Ankara is trying to create a pretext in order to wage war on its neighbor.
Russian Ships ’Able to React’ in Case of Syria Escalation
Russian naval vessels in the Mediterranean are capable of reacting to an escalation in the Syria conflict, a military source said Wednesday, as Moscow fine tunes its maritime presence ahead of possible US military action.
“Today we consider our presence in the eastern Mediterranean to be sufficient to solve the tasks. If necessary, together with submarine forces, they (the ships) are capable even today of influencing a military situation,” a general staff source told the Interfax news agency.
“We are ready to solve sudden task. For that, the naval group is being corrected for the corresponding variants of the outcome of events,” the source added, without giving further details.
According to Interfax, the Russian destroyer Smetlivy will soon join the group in the Mediterranean as well as the destroyer Nastoichivy.
The anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev has already entered its zone of operation as the flagship of the current rotation of the naval grouping in the Mediterranean, a military source told the agency.
The missile cruiser Moskva, from the Black Sea fleet, has now left its assignment in the northern Atlantic and is now on its way to the eastern Mediterranean.
On arrival it will assume the role as the Russian flagship, Interfax said.
Already in place in the eastern Mediterranean are the frigate Neustrashimy, as well as the landing ships Alexander Shabalin, the Admiral Nevelsky and the Peresvet.
They will be joined by the large landing ships Novocherkassk and Minsk on September 5-6, Interfax said. As previously reported, the reconnaissance ship Priazovye is also on its way to join the group.
The US already has a strong naval presence in the region and the possible US military action launched against Syria is widely expected to be launched from the sea.
Russia has kept a constant presence in the eastern Mediterranean during the Syrian crisis, rotating its group every few months.
Russia also has a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.
According to Russian media reports, Russian naval personnel have largely now been withdrawn from the base, a modest but hugely strategic facility which Moscow calls a “point of military-technical supply of the Russian Navy.”
Moscow vehemently opposes US-led plans for military action against Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus, warning it risks destabilizing the entire region.
Al-Nusra Attacks Ma’loula in Damascus, Destroys Aramaic Church and Institute
Violent clashes took place between the Syrian Army units and opposition gunmen in the historic town of Ma’loula in Rural Damascus on Thursday, after hundreds of militants attacked the Christian-majority town.
Local and international media outlets reported that that al-Nusra Front militiamen destroyed the Aramaic church and institute in the town and stole their contents.
Militants began their attack on Wednesday detonating a booby-trapped car at an army checkpoint near the town in the northern countryside of Damascus.
The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Levant’ claimed responsibility for the bombing , which aided the gunmen to enter Ma’loula and seize control over its main square where snipers deployed over a number of buildings.
Journalists and reporters said that access to the town is not possible due to the fierce clashes between the two sides, indicating that militants have slaughtered some Syrian soldiers.
From her part, Mother Bagela said that two shells landed on the monastery of Mar Takla leaving material damage.
Media correspondents also stated the army’s military operations are cautious because of the presence of civilians, in addition to that al-Nusra’s gunmen deployed over Ma’loula building are delaying the qualitative military conduct to restore the town.
US will definitely pay price of attack on Syria: Leader
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has warned the US against attacking Syria, saying Washington will certainly pay the price for such a venture.
“We believe that the Americans are committing a folly and mistake in Syria and will accordingly take the blow and definitely suffer,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in address to members of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran on Thursday.
The Leader said the main objective of the global arrogance is to dominate the Middle East, with Israel in the saddle, controlling everything.
“The goal of the recent issues regarding Syria, which started under the pretext of chemical weapons, is also the same, but the Americans are trying through rhetoric and word-manipulation to pretend that they are entering this issue for a humane goal.”
Ayatollah Khamenei, however, stressed that that US politicians do not care about humanitarian concerns at all.
“Americans are making humanitarian claims at the time that their track records include [the atrocities at] Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons, silence over Saddam’s use of chemical weapons in Halabja and Iranian cities, as well as the massacre of innocent people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.”
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed out that what is going on in the region “is indeed the reaction of the global arrogance, led by the US, to the Islamic Awakening.”
“The presence of the global arrogance in the region is [based on] aggression, bullying and avarice, and is aimed at crushing any resistance against this presence. The arrogance front, however, has not been and will not be able to eliminate this resistance [front],” the Leader added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Leader referred to the ongoing turmoil in Egypt, noting that if Egypt had stood up against Israel and had not fallen for US promises, the deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak would not have been freed from prison and those elected by the Egyptian people put behind the bars and tried.
Swedes protest US plans for war on Syria amid Obama visit
Thousands of protesters have held a demonstration in Sweden’s capital to protest against the US’s warmongering policies vis-à-vis Syria as US President Barack Obama arrived in the European country.
Angry demonstrators took to the streets of Stockholm on Wednesday to express opposition to calls by the Obama administration for a military strike on Syria.
The protesters carried banners that read, “No to Big Brother Obama,” “No to war on Syria,” and “Hands off Snowden,” in a reference to American whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked two top secret spying programs run by the US government.
“Send Obama away. We don’t want Obama to come to Sweden because we see him as a war criminal,” a protester said.
The US president traveled to Sweden to discuss issues related to economy, employment, free trade, climate and energy.
However, the demonstrators in Stockholm said Obama is trying to convince the Swedish government to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and support the US attack on Syria.
“No negotiation about Sweden being a member of NATO, because I think that’s on the agenda today, that Obama wants Sweden to be [a] NATO member and we’re opposing all of that,” another protester said.