Three days ago Mint Press News out of Minneapolis published a story written by MidEast AP reporter Dale Gavlak based on eyewitness accounts from relatives of Syrian rebels killed in the Aug. 21 chemical 'attack'. They contend that what actually occurred was an accident caused by the rebels mishandling their Saudi-supplied chemical weapons cargo :
Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions.”
That it could have been the rebels who set off the chem *attacks* is not without precedent. The Independent, May 6, 2013 :
A United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses in Syria has found evidence that rebel forces may have used chemical weapons, its lead investigator has revealed.
Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by rebel fighters.“This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.The White House immediately issued a statement that if chem weapons were used in Syria the Assad regime was responsible. Both sides have accused the other of the use of such weapons since the US-backed civil war began two years ago.
Obviously I can't assess the credibility of Gavlak's report but I'm posting a link to it because Canadian media has been happy enough to report on John Baird's support for the US position two days ago :
"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry publicly outlined details of how they concluded that the Assad regime flagrantly used chemical weapons against its own people, causing wide-scale death and devastation in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, 2013. Along with its international partners and allies, Canada has condemned this despicable and abhorrent act."but has yet to mention Gavlak's report.
Very good article from FAIR : Which Syrian Chemical Attack Is More Credible?
ending with this :
This humility about the difficulty of reporting on a covert, invisible attack in the midst of a chaotic civil war actually adds to the credibility of the Mint account. It's those who are most certain about matters of which they clearly lack firsthand knowledge who should make us most skeptical.
Tangental fun facts :
In 2011, Saudi Arabia received one-third of Canada's total $12-billion in arms exports .
"The total in government-approved arms export licences for Saudi Arabia was more than 100 times the $35 million approved in 2010."
Up until Aug 2011, the Government of Canada Canada-Syria Relations webpage read :
"Canada is now the 3rd largest foreign direct investor in Syria due to a $1.2 billion Suncor/Petro Canada gas project."Canada's reluctance to make public last week's military co-operation agreement with China is possibly due to Beijing's close ties to Assad's regime.