Talk:Rebel possession of chemical weapons

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This is a talk page for discussing Rebel possession of chemical weapons. For sources, claims and narratives see the main page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)

Rebel CW possession?

We should start a dedicated page on rebel possession of chemical weapons. Here is one claim, previously overlooked:

Analyzed in more detail here:

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:34, 28 August 2013 (UTC)

Chlorine and December, 2012

What is up with this? Three points coincide within just a few days to suggest Al-Nusra / Islamist rebels suddenly had chlorine capabilities in three different ways. Noting December 3 is when Obama reiterated his "red line" threat and Dec. 6-8 is when the first videos of alleged CW events appeared:

Seizure of Chlorine Factory

  • AFP via Ynet, Dec. 8: "Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people... after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory" east of Aleppo ... The ministry was believed to be referring to the Syrian-Saudi Chemicals Company (SYSACCO) factory near Safira, which was taken over earlier this week by militants from the jihadist Al-Nusra Front."

"Earlier this week" would be between Dec. 1 and 7, most likely the latter half, Dec. 4-6. Al-Safira is about 15 km southeast of Aleppo. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

...when Mohammad Sabbagh, an industrialist from Aleppo, heard about the attack near his hometown on March 19, the details stopped him cold. Survivors and witnesses of what was being described by the government news agency as a chemical attack said they smelled something like chlorine. And as the owner of Syria’s only chlorine-gas manufacturing plant, Sabbagh knew that if chlorine was involved, it most likely came from his factory.
In August rebel forces took Sabbagh’s factory by force, as part of a sweep that also netted them an electricity station and a military airport about 30 km from Aleppo. Sabbagh, who has since fled Aleppo for Beirut, says his factory is now occupied by Jabhat al-Nusra...
... he has no idea what has happened, if anything, to the 400 or so steel barrels of chlorine gas he had stored in the compound. The yellow tanks, which hold one ton of gas each, are used for purifying municipal water supplies. “No one can know for certain, but if it turns out chlorine gas was used in the attack, then the first possibility is that it was mine. There is no other factory in Syria that can make this gas, and now it is under opposition control,” he says.

Best reading: captured by some rebels in August, in December taken over by JaN - who may have been on a chemical-gathering spree. Note: the best evidence says sarin was the main poison in that attack, but some rockets may have contained chlorine as well. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Regiment 111 CW Seizure

Foreign Policy, Aug. 16, 2016 has the most recent claim: "Roughly four months before the split between the Nusra Front and ISIS, in December 2012," Jihadists overran the base of Regiment 111" near the town of Darat Izza"

The fighters knew that the base possessed ammunition and other weapons, but did not know in advance it contained chemical weapons.

They were, according to Abu Ahmad, mainly barrels filled with chlorine, sarin, and mustard gas.

What followed was the distribution of the war spoils. Everybody took some ammunition and weapons. But only the Nusra Front seized the chemical weapons. Abu Ahmad watched as the al Qaeda affiliate called in 10 large cargo trucks, loaded 15 containers with chlorine and sarin gas, and drove them away to an unknown destination. He did not see what happened to the mustard gas.

When in December? On October 12, a partial capture of the 111 brigade base by al-Nusra is reported. On December 9, the base was largely conquered "yesterday," so December 8 - almost certainly after the factory seizure, and as it was being reported. That explained:

The rebels took control of Regiment 111 and three other company posts located inside the base after fierce fighting overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Two rebels and one soldier were killed, while five soldiers were captured. The prisoners said that 140 of their men had fled to the scientific research centre on the base," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

This seems like confirmation, but I wonder if this claim is true or coerced. Maybe 140 soldiers were massacred and dumped at one building, said to be guarding the unknown chemical weapons at the "research centre", and fought to the last man. Just to have another story where they got the CW theyn were about to use - Assad had it first, it's his fault it was left laying around, they didn't know it was there and didn't seek it, and so they're blameless if it's ever proven they were seduced into using this magical weapon.

It seems questionable the Syrian military was conducting research on planning on using chlorine as a weapon, but this is suggested. And why would JaN waste trucks hauling it off, when they just scored hundreds of tons and a factory to make more, not far away? (this base is about 20 km west of Aleppo, the factory the same distance southeast) --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

3 Tekkim Chemical Test

The Tekkim Chemical Test Video was released on or around December 5, 2012. As we just realized, it seems to show the chemist from the "wind Isber" chemical brigade synthesizing chlorine from scratch, using other chemicals obtained on the commercial market, mostly from Turkish company Tekkim. For small quantities anyway, they or anyone with the knowledge could already have the gas for small jobs at least, even without seizing a base or a factory. But someone had to show us this, interestingly, in that same few day span they allegedly took control of chlorine at both a base and a factory. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2016 (UTC)

Gas in Iraq

This article claims that there were tons of old chemical weapons in Iraq. If true, this might be a possible source too.

-- Baldur (talk) 14:19, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

This NY Times article appear related. At least those guys presumably use reliable sources.--Resup (talk) 15:46, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

From Facebook

Some feedback on Facebook:

Andy Yip

Evidence that may be useful for your future posts. Two sources of chemical weapons are used by rebels in Syria.

Source 1
  1. Turkey confirms and identified the Al-Qaeda sarin gas ring in Syria.
  2. This video shows Al-Qaeda linked Chemical Weapon attack with possible foreign support in behind. It shows the chemical lab in a captured rebel compound.
  3. The UN inspectors were requested to check out chemical weapons in rebels' hands back in May 2013.
  4. The videos of launching the same blue gas containers on the rockets by rebels.
Source 2
  1. On 16 Dec 2012, Washington Post reported that rebels who seized the Sheik Suleiman military base near Aleppo, where research on chemical weapons had been conducted. Rebels are also closing in on another base near Aleppo, known as Safirah, which has served as a major production center for such munitions.
  2. On 03 Aug 2013, AFP reported that the rebels captured government weapon depot with ground to ground missiles.
  3. On 08 Aug 2013, there are reports that rebels have the capacity of firing captured military grade (not homemade) ground-to-ground missile system from their looting of weapon depots.

In this 2nd scenario, There is a high possibility of Al-Qaeda linked rebels looting Syrian army weapon, deploying the chemical weapon with captured ground to ground rockets in order to blame the Syrian government.

Chlorine Industry in Aleppo?

A few related events before and discoveries after the liberation of east Aleppo.

August 2 attack: seems likely hydrogen cyanide was involved, but chlorine as well, killing a reported 13 people, including 5 soldiers, a few rescuers, and some women. The chlorine was fired in on rockets by Noureddin al-Zenki, it was reported, after soldiers breached a rebel tunnel, found another poison inside, and partly then died.

Chlorine factory: RT report from Lizzie Phelan shows an abandoned chemical factory. There are some larger barrels, perhaps just for mixing, but mainly many large jugs of liquid potassium permanganate, the magenta-colored substance used by whoever (Assad's barrel bombs, terrorists) to produce chlorine (it's mixed with hydrochloric acid). There are many empty jugs, pink-stained gloves, splashes on the ground, an area with coat nooks (?) apparently once blanketed-off, with a jug in each stall, likely for repeated rounds of mixing. (How they could then bottle or use it is unclear to me - no clear sign of on-site gassing of victims) The location of this school isn't set, and may be of interest. It seems it was a school previously.

Aleppo Executed Soldiers 1.jpg
Aleppo Executed Soldiers 2.jpg

Gassed soldiers? Many captured soldiers (and probably civilians) were massacred by rebels before they left Aleppo on those green busses. SouthFront reports the other day on "23 corpses in Muhaddassa school, located in the of Es-Sukkar area of the city." A month earlier, just after the liberation, six executed soldiers in mixed military/civilian clothes where shown in a couple of photos. These are from SouthFront, Dec. 24, which mentions as many as 100 were so killed, and also shows a video of Noureddin al-Zenki fighters holding one of these six guys prisoner before he was killed.

One victim in vest with tactical gear (on the right in the second picture) seems to be beheaded, or missing his head anyway, The other five seem intact, and with no visible injuries. That could mean a few things, but they also tend to have gasping expressions, and possible color issues (a bit purple in one case, yellow in another). One has hair sticking up (was he hung upside-down?) No mucous or blood from the mouth evident. It's not clear that they were gassed with chlorine, but maybe, maybe with something else, or killed some other way. Seemed worth bringing up. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:22, 23 January 2017 (UTC)