French Journalists Previously Reported Chemical Attacks in Damascus SuburbsBy ROBERT MACKEY (The New York Times)
In light of claims that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad carried out deadly chemical attacks on rebel-held areas outside Damascus on Wednesday, it is worth noting that journalists for the French newspaper Le Monde reported in May that they had witnessed repeated chemical attacks on rebel forces in that same region.
The journalists, who “spent two months clandestinely in the Damascus area alongside Syrian rebels,” first reported their findings in an article by Jean-Philippe Rémy accompanied by a gripping video report recorded during an attack.
The article, which Le Monde later translated into English, began:
A chemical attack on the Jobar front, on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, doesn’t look like anything much at first. It’s not spectacular. Above all, it’s not detectable. And that’s the aim: by the time the rebel fighters of the Free Syrian Army who have penetrated furthest into Damascus understand that they’ve been exposed to chemical products by government forces, it’s too late. No matter which type of gas is used, it has already produced its effects, only a few hundred meters from residential areas of the Syrian capital.
At first, there is only a little sound, a metallic ping, almost a click. And in the confusion of daily combat in Jobar’s Bahra 1 sector, this sound didn’t catch the attention of the fighters of the Tahrir al-Sham (‘Liberation of Syria’) Brigade. ‘We thought it was a mortar that didn’t explode, and no one really paid attention to it,’ said Omar Haidar, chief of operations of the brigade, which holds this forward position less than 500 meters from Abbasid Square… MORE
More from The Lede
Published: September 23, 2013