- Note: Below are facts about Chemical Weapons Use in Syria that I compiled February, 2018: I have posted this information before, but given recent events, it is crucial that we think long and hard before rushing into retaliation in the heat of emotionally charged passion.
On March 13, 2018, Reuters published the following:
Russia says U.S. plans to strike Damascus, pledges military response
From that article:
Russia said on Tuesday it had information that the United States planned to bomb the government quarter in Damascus on an invented pretext [False Flag], and said it would respond militarily if it felt Russian lives were threatened by such an attack.
Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s General Staff, said Moscow had information that rebels in the enclave of eastern Ghouta were planning to fake a chemical weapons attack against civilians and blame it on the Syrian army.
Now an attack as described has happened — and the US and Western governments are responding as predicted — with jingoistic propaganda and demands for military intervention.
We teeter on the Brink of War – Word War. But remember, such a war requires the consent and cooperation of We The People. If we reject the calls for violence, they cannot proceed. That is the importance of Propaganda.
Before accepting the claims, and accusations as “fact”, and the demands for action as justified, please review the following facts about the History of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria, bearing in mind “the three aspects of a crime that must be established before guilt can possibly be determined in a criminal proceeding”
- Opportunity, and most importantly;
Remember: the Burden of Proof is on the Accusers, and the stakes are high: We are NOT talking about a simple criminal case here. The course of action that Western governments take in response/ retaliation can and will have earth shattering repercussions.
Did Assad/ Russia/ Iran commit this crime? If so, WHY? They have all but won this war, recapturing nearly all of Syria from Rebels and ISIS Terrorist forces — and they did it with conventional weapons. What would motivate them to take such drastic measures NOW, especially when they know damn well that using such weapons would create a merciless response from the US, France, and others.
- Someone committed this crime. Did Syria and allies have the motive? If not, who did???
We had better think long and hard before we allow our governments to lead us in a head-long rush into Dante’s Inferno.
Facts on CW Use in Syria, 2012 – January, 2018
- (Everything below is Original Content, sources for figures are provided. I take full responsibility for crappy illustrations and errors in calculations, if any)
Has Syria used CWs “against its own people”, as claimed?
If so, why? Have illegal chemical weapons been more effective in killing and maiming in Syria than the “legal” conventional weapons that have been readily available to Assad and his allies?
The short answer: No.
The long answer: HELL NO.
I have done a fair amount of research on the use and efficacy of Chemical Weapons in Syria, and I have learned that, compared to “legal” conventional weapons, Chemical Weapons have been pathetically impotent when targeting civilians, an utterly worthlesswhen targeting enemy combatants.
In fact, the ONLY thing that Chemical Weapons are really good for (in this type of theater of war) is PROPAGANDA: Thanks to the horrors of Trench Warfare in WW1, the fear and dread of such weapons in the public mind is such that the mere accusation of their use can influence the ignorant and befuddled consumers of propaganda (that would be us) to support egregious offensive military campaigns that they would otherwise reject outright.
Now, let’s look at some facts and statistics regarding the use (or alleged use) of Chemical Weapons, and their effectiveness as weapons, in Syria from the onset of the war through January, 2018:
As of January, 2018, there were a total of 69 reported CW Incidents in Syria.
- In 28 incidents, ZERO deaths or injuries were reported
- In 30 incidents, Civilian Injuries were reported
- In 17 incidents, Civilian Deaths were reported
- In 7 incidents, Combatant Injuries were reported
- In 2 incidents, Combatant Deaths were reported
Here is a pie chart approximating the number of ALLEGED deaths causes by CW’s in Syria as opposed to all deaths from the war.
Here is a pie chart showing the numbers of deaths/injuries of civilians and combatants allegedly from Chemical Weapons
- Number of Civilians Injured: 1,145
- Number of Civilians Killed: 1,016
- Number of Combatants Injured: 80
- Number of Combatants Killed: 4 (yes, you read that right – FOUR)
Here is another illustration of the above data that may help
Here is a chart showing the military affiliation of combatants allegedly killed or injured by Chemical Weapons
- Total Injuries 80: Assad’s Soldiers=66; Kurdish Forces=12; Free Syrian Army (rebels)=2; (ISIS and other “terrorists”=ZERO)
- Total Deaths 4 (four): Assad’s Soldiers=1; Kurdish Forces=3; Free Syrian Army (rebels)=ZERO. (ISIS and other “terrorists”=ZERO)
(Considering that recent estimates put the overall death toll of the war at ~500,000, *civilian and combatants, it soon becomes clear that Chemical Weapons SUCK as a weapon, at least in THIS war)
Moving along, we see that of all 1,016 deaths attributed to Chemical Weapons in use Syria, 92% occurred in only THREE (two?) of the 69 reported incidents [figures not include incident of April 7, 2014]
- 837 Deaths resulted from the Twin Attacks in Ghouta in August, 2013
- ~100 Deaths resulted from the attack on Khan Shaykhun last year (April, 2017) (figures subject to official revision)
Tally of Casualties by Suspected Chemical Weapons
As noted above, 92% of all alleged CW deaths in Syria occurred in 3 incidents, and Sarin Gas was the suspected chemical agent used in each of these 3 incidents. Sarin is also blamed for 586 of the 1,145 injuries attributed to all CW use in Syria. See the above image for details.
A word about Chlorine
Scarcely a week goes by that we don’t hear fresh allegations of Assad’s forces using Chlorine as a Chemical Weapon — usually, it is said, dropped as “Barrel Bombs”, dropped on innocent civilians from government helicopters.
However, when we see the figures of the effectiveness of chlorine as a Chemical Weapon, we should ask ourselves: Why would they do that?
Reviewing the compiled information on alleged/suspected CW use, Chlorine appears more often than any other suspected agent… but look again at the total casualty figures for Chlorine:
- Total Injuries: Civilian: 312 Combatant: ZERO
- Total Deaths: Civilian: 18 Combatant: ZERO
Chlorine is not much of a “Weapon of War”, is it?
Source figures can be seen here
The following are links from a corroborating peer-reviewed article published in The Lancet, showing causes of death among civilians in REBEL HELD territories.
(Interestingly, they messed up their math, and I had to fix it, lol!)
- EDIT Another user pointed out that the Lancet math was correct, it was I, not they, who “messed up the math” by failing to realize that they had included “Barrel Bombs” as sub-category of “Air bombardments”. My oversight caused me to count Barrel Bombs twice. Thanks for the correction!
Annotated and corrected screen shot:
Pie chart putting the Lancet article figures in perspective:
As the sources and methods are different, there are slight variations from the Wiki page numbers used as a source above, but in general, the figures support one another in that they demonstrate the comparatively TRIVIAL relevance of Chemical Weapons — except in the realm of PROPAGANDA, of course.
Full Lancet article here: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214109X17304692
Given the above information, it should be clear that, aside from propaganda, Chemical Weapons have played no significant utilitarian role in the Syrian Conflict.
TLDR: Assad, Russia and Iran would not likely use, and likely have never have used chemical weapons in this war.
This is NOT because they are “Nice Guys”, but because CW’s are ineffective, and they have no shortage of LEGAL conventional weapons that are far better suited for accomplishing their objectives.
MOREOVER, Assad, Russia and Iran know very well that using chemical weapons would give the US, Israel, France and others the excuse they’ve been waiting for to start a massive aggressive campaign that would be CONTRARY to the interests of Syria, Russia and Iran, and may well spark WWIII.
Please share this information with others. The war that looms on the horizon is not justifiable, and Humanity will feel its repercussions for generations to come… (assuming, of course, that further generations will come…)
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