Reuters is claiming tonight to have seen an unidentified and apparently secret list of Syrian government figures accused of being involved in chemical weapons attacks, and that this list included the name of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad under the “president’s circle” section.
Reuters does not directly identify the source of the list, but repeatedly makes mention of “international investigators” and in the article heavily references the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a combined inquiry of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. This appears meant to infer this is the source of the list.
Except it apparently is not, as JIM head Virginia Gamba is quoted later in the same Reuters report as insisting that JIM has not ever complied any sort of list naming individual people as part of the inquiry, nor is it even considering making any such list in the future.
This must then raise questions of whose list this actually is, where it comes from, and whether indeed it is even a real list representing the result of some real investigatory body, or simply a list of top ranking Syrian officials as a rather transparent attempt to get talk of Syria’s long-ago abandoned chemical weapons program going again.