From Reuters…

Syria gas “kills hundreds”, Security Council meets

Syria’s opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.

With the dead estimated at between 500 and 1,300, what would be the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.

While U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed shock, immediate international action is likely to be limited, with the divisions among major powers that have crippled efforts to quell two and a half years of civil war still much in evidence.

Russia hastened to back up denials from the administration of President Bashar al-Assad by saying it looked like a rebel “provocation” to discredit him.

Britain voiced the opposite view: “I hope this will wake up some who have supported the Assad regime to realise its murderous and barbaric nature,” Foreign Secretary William Hague said on a visit to Paris, London’s ally against Assad.

France, Britain, the United States and others called for an immediate on-site investigation by U.N. chemical weapons inspectors who arrived in the Syrian capital only this week. Moscow, urging an “objective” inquiry, said the very presence of that team suggested government forces were not to blame.

Neighbouring Israel’s Channel 10 television quoted Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon as telling reporters that Syria had used chemical weapons, and not for the first time. {…}

If confirmed, a major gas attack could increase pressure on Obama to do more to support rebels whose links to militant Islam have helped dampen Western enthusiasm for their cause.

The Security Council, where Russia has vetoed previous Western efforts to impose U.N. penalties on Assad, began a closed-door meeting but is not expected to take decisive action, with the big powers still at loggerheads and cautiously seeking clarity over the incident.

As Col. Lang wrote…

Think about it! A UN chemical weapons use investigating team is in Damascus. They were invited into the country by the Syrian government.

These attacks are supposedly in the Damascus suburbs. Are the rebels so desperate as to make claims that are easily investigated? Is the government so inept as to do this? pl

As b at Moon of Alabama wrote…

Syria: Another False Flag “Chemical Weapon” Attack

Whenever there is some international action with regards to Syria, a United Nations security council meeting or a G8 conference, the Syrian insurgents create and/or propagandize some “massacre” that they allege to have been perpetrated by the Syrian government.

On Monday UN chemical weapon inspectors arrived in Damascus to investigate some older claims of chemical weapon use. Just in time a new incident happens with the insurgents alleging use of “chemical weapons” by the Syrian government just some 10 miles away from the inspectors hotel…

Videos of the incident show many people, including children, with respiratory problems. But non of the first responders and medical personal in those videos wear any protection against chemical weapons.

Real chemical weapons, like Sarin, are persistent agents. They stick to the cloth of the victims and any contact with those victims would practically guarantee to kill the people who try to help them unless those people take serious precautions. Whatever happened in Syria today is therefore unlikely to be the consequence of military grade chemical weapons. Many other chemical agents, like insecticides based on organophospate or some industrial process chemicals, could induce the observed symptoms.

It would of course be totally irrational for the Syrian government to use chemical weapons just the moment that chemical weapon inspectors arrive in the country. But it makes a lot of sense for the insurgents and their foreign supporters to create such an incident, as they did previously, and to use it to renew their propaganda campaign against the Syrian government. It is therefore no surprise that the British government immediately jumped all over the case.

Simply answer “cui bono?” and you will know who is responsible for this incident.

To be sure…

Russia terms reports of Syrian chemical weapons as “planned provocation”

Russian Foreign Ministry termed on Wednesday media reports about the use of chemical weapons in Syria as “planned provocation” against the ruling regime.

“Moscow considers it important to conduct an objective and professional investigation,” ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters, adding the provocation undermined the efforts for convening an international conference on Syria. {…}

Lukashevich said later in the day that a homemade rocket with ” an unidentified chemical agent” was launched Wednesday in the eastern suburb of Damascus from an area occupied by opposition militants.

“All this looks very much like an attempt to create a pretext for demanding that the UN Security Council side with the opponents of the government,” he said.

Russia urged “all those who have the possibility to influence armed extremists make every effort to end provocations with chemical agents,” he added.

*gah*