Ya'alon: Assad regime has repeatedly used chemical weapons in Syria

Defense minister says no end to Syrian conflict in sight; Assad regime has lost control of country, according to Ya'alon.

By REUTERS
August 21, 2013 23:15
1 minute read.
Civilians take part in a vigil in solidarity with Syrians killed by an alleged gas attack.

Syria vigil for chemical attack 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)

 
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The regime of Basher Assad has used chemical weapons repeatedly in Syria, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday, though he did not specifically respond to reports of a large-scale chemical attack early Wednesday morning on suburbs of Damascus.

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.

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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 UN Security Council in New York.

The United States and others said it had no independent confirmation that chemical weapons had been used. UN chief Ban said the head of the organization's inspection team in Damascus was already discussing the latest claims with the government.

Describing the civil war as a life and death struggle between Allawites and Sunnis, the defense minister said there was no end in sight to the conflict.

The Assad regime has lost control of Syria, and is present in only forty percent of the country,  Ya'alon said.

He stated that the Syrian conflict has become a regional and a global one for a long period, and that Israel has chosen not to intervene, but to stick to red lines to protect its vital security interests.

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"I don't see an end to this situation, even Assad's fall won't lead to it's end," he said.

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The defense minister noted the formations of ethnic and sectarian enclaves in Syria, including the Kurds in the northeast of the country, who have links to Iraqi Kurds, Allawites in the coastal region linked to Damascus via a corridor, and Sunnis in the north.

Lebanon is linked in to the Iranian-sponsored axis, hence the war from Syria is spilling over into it, Ya'alon said.

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