Assad not to blame for chemical claims

Assad not to blame for chemical claims
Tue Aug 27, 2013 08:49:23

The leader of Syria’s largest Kurdish group has said the Syrian government would not be "so stupid" as to use chemical weapons close to the capital city of Damascus.

Saleh Muslim, the head of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), said on Monday that he doubted the Syrian president would resort to using such weapons when he felt he had the upper hand in the country's war on terrorists.

He suggested last Wednesday's attack, which the opposition claims was carried out by government forces and killed hundreds of people, was aimed at framing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provoking an international reaction. Assad has denied Syrian forces used chemical weapons.

"The government in Syria ... wouldn't use them (chemical weapons) around Damascus, 5 km from the (UN) committee which is investigating chemical weapons. Of course they are not so stupid as to do so," Muslim noted.

At the time of the incident, UN experts were in Syria to investigate three previous alleged chemical attacks dating from months ago.

Muslim's PYD, which has well-armed and effective militias, is in war with the foreign-backed militants.

Muslim suggested "some other sides who want to blame the Syrian government, who want to show them as guilty and then see action" lay behind the chemical attack, which has led to speculation that western countries will order a military response.

He said that if the UN inspectors found evidence the Syrian government was not behind the gassing and the militants were, "everybody would forget it".

"Who is the side who would be punished? Are they are going to punish the Emir of Qatar or the King of Saudi Arabia, or Erdogan of Turkey?"

Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have all strongly condemned Assad and backed the militants.

The unrest in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.


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