The US has no evidence of Damascus using chemical weapons in the Syrian town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, except al-Qaeda's* claims, says Turkish political observer Caglar Tekin.
"Last December, after [the US] airstrike on the Shayrat airbase, [US Defense Secretary James] Mattis said that the US had no evidence that the Syrian military had used chemical weapons [in Khan Sheikhoun]. A similar situation is observed now: Again Mattis has accused Damascus of conducting a [gas] attack and again the West has no proof to confirm this. All they have are the statements made by al-Qaeda sources that chemical arms were used in Eastern Ghouta. There have been no other sources," Tekin told Sputnik Turkey.
The Turkish political observer recalled that during the seven year-long conflict in Syria, the SAA has been repeatedly accused of gassing Syrian citizens, however, no evidence has ever been presented to back the allegations.
"The US and European organizations confirmed the facts of chemical weapons attacks, but they were committed by jihadist organizations operating in Syria," Tekin said. "Meanwhile, answering the question as to whether there are chemical weapons in the region at the moment one should say 'yes'. The Syrian authorities noted in their statements that in the course of the East Ghouta operation and in other areas liberated from extremists by government forces, chemical arms production facilities were discovered, which were used by jihadists for their own purposes."
The observer pointed out that Damascus' fight against jihadists in Syria is coming to an end. Given the SAA's progress on the ground and repeated warnings on the part of the US, France, and the UK to attack Syrian government forces in case they resort to using chemical weapons, one can say with confidence that Damascus had absolutely no grounds for such a move, Tekin concluded.
The Trump administration signaled that it did not rule out the military option as a response to the alleged Douma attack. On April 9, Israeli F-15 fighters attacked Syria's T-4 airbase, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. On the same day, Trump said that he would decide what steps the US would take in Syria within the next 24-48 hours.
On April 10, Syria's SANA news agency reported about the alleged evacuation of three Daesh commanders and their family members from al-Hasakah province by US Air Force helicopters.
Responding to Russia's warning against leaping to conclusions and resorting to the use of military force against Damascus, the US president tweeted on April 11 that Moscow should "get ready" for US "smart missiles" in Syria.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Mattis signaled on the same day that the US were "still assessing" intel on an reported chemical weapons attack in Syria.
A year ago, on April 7, 2017, Washington attacked the SAA's Shayrat airfield in response to unconfirmed reports about the use of poisonous substances in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province. Although the US and its allies have blamed the supposed chemical incident on Damascus, there has been no evidence emerged to back these claims so far.
*al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.
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