Somebody appears to have crossed the “red line” in Syria. An alleged chemical weapons attack took place last Friday with as many as 150 people believed to have been injured, and at least two children and one man to have perished. The attack took place at Kafr Zeita, a rebel held village some 125 miles north of Damascus.
The attack is believed to have taken place at about 6 PM. Rebels claim that a canister was dropped by a helicopter and that a canister with the symbol CL2 labeled on it. Videos of children choking and people being treated with oxygen are already circulating.
UN Ambassador Samantha Power responds
Samantha Power has come on record stating that the attack is thus far unsubstantiated. The UN Ambassador also said, however, that the United States would do everything in its power to verify the veracity of the alleged attack and to establish who attacked who. Ms. Power said that the United States would consider steps of action after it figured out what happened.
So far, the Syrian government has handed over about half of its chemical weapons, but has missed deadlines and stalled efforts. So far, the program to disarm Syria is running behind schedule. It remains unclear how the United States or United Nations will respond if Syria does not disarm.
Syrian chemical weapons: United States in tough spot
The United States previously backtracked on plans to launch air strikes against Syria after the Syrian government promised to give up all of its chemical weapons. Given that the United States backed down from a showdown with Russia just weeks ago after the invasion and annexation of the Crimea, Syria may now be emboldened.
With Russia and the United States now at odds, the situation in Syria could quickly become a major focal point. Russia could look to once again challenge U.S. power by backing Syria and encouraging the Syrian government to disregard requests or threats coming from the American government.
Of course, it’s also possible that Syrian rebels launched the attack on their own stronghold in an effort to drum up international support. Rebels practically begged for intervention after the last attack and nearly got it.
If this were found to be true, the United States would find itself in an awkward position. The U.S. has largely supported Syrian rebels, and it is rumored that the CIA has been arming some of the rebel groups.