Doctors Without Borders Puts Syria Toll at 355 Killed

Syrian Govt Seizes Rebels' Underground Chemical Lab

by Jason Ditz, August 24, 2013

The Wednesday incident in the Jobra neighborhood of Damascus, also called the eastern part of Ghouta, is getting some actual specifics from a real aid group today, as Doctors Without Borders put the death toll at 355 killed, well short of the 1,300-1,600 claimed by rebel factions.

They said the slain showed “neurotoxic symptoms,” but there has been considerable dispute over what exactly happened, with the rebels claiming a chemical weapons attack but so far offering no real proof of the allegation that it came from Syrian forces.

On the other hand, as fighting continues in Jobar, the Syrian military has reported a significant find of their own, in the form of a rebel chemical lab hidden in one of the rebels’ tunnels.

Details on this find are also scant so far, with Syrian state media reporting that soldiers were “overcome by fumes” while moving in the tunnels. The lab could add support to Syrian government claims that it was the rebels that fired the chemicals into Jobra.

Three of the victims have been smuggled into neighboring Jordan in homes that tissue samples will provide a clearer picture of the sort of agent used, which would go a long way toward assigning blame, since the rebels are only believed to be able to produce relatively primitive agents, and the Syrian military’s arsenal is much more advanced weapons, reportedly not consistent with the initial reports.

“Truth” is unfortunately a pretty nebulous concept in the ongoing war, with Turkey and France leading the charge for invading Syria without waiting for anything resembling proof, and the US insisting they’re already convinced that the incident was the government’s doing, again, without waiting on the evidence.

The same thing was also the case with the previous incident. The rebels reported the attack was done by Syria’s military and the US was instantly “convinced,” even though the UN later said it was almost certainly a sarin attack by the rebels, not the government. Despite the UN’s reports, officials from the nations inclined to invade Syria continue to blame the Assad government for that attack, simply because that supports their agenda.

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