(April 13) A US government report in a declassified intelligence assessment that it is confident that the Syrian regime conducted a chemical weapons attack using the nerve agent sarin.
|The US report claims that the chemical agent was delivered by a Syrian Su-22 fixed wing aircraft that flew over the village of Khan Sheikhun at the time of the attack. The attack killed at least 87 civilians on the fourth of April including 31 children. The entire report can be found here.|
The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. [prior to the Chemical Weapons attack] There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation. The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib and that the Russians believed it was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.