Blog archive: Syria

  • 17th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference in Damascus yesterday, Syria's deputy foreign minister accused the US and Britain of supplying rebel fighters with chemical weapons. The claim has excited Russian media – especially Sputnik News which has published multiple stories on the topic. Sputnik wonders if...
  • 17th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The banned nerve agent sarin has been used repeatedly in the Syrian conflict, as laboratory tests have confirmed. There are disputes, though, about who has been using it. Syrian rebels, along with western governments, blame the Assad regime while the regime, supported by Russia and Iran, blames the...
  • 7th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now beyond dispute that banned chemicals have been used in the Syrian conflict. Aside from a few conspiracy theorists, all sides – including the Russian and Syrian governments – accept this as fact, though they disagree about who is responsible. We have reached this point because of...
  • 5th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Surprising as it might seem, both the Syrian government and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) agree that people were exposed to Sarin in Khan Sheikhoun last April. This should now become the starting point for any rational discussion of what happened there....
  • 4th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On 4 April, Syrian government forces carried out an airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province which, according to reports at the time, killed at least 74 people and injured hundreds more. Scientific tests by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – an inter-governmental...
  • 1st July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Do news organisations have a duty to publish stories from anonymous sources when there is reason to believe they are untrue? Apparently some people think so. Yesterday, following scientific tests, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that inhabitants of...
  • 27th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now abundantly clear that the Syrian regime was responsible for the Sarin attack that killed dozens of people in Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month.  A declassified intelligence assessment released by the French government yesterday establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that the...
  • 23rd April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Since leaving the diplomatic service Peter Ford, a former British ambassador in Damascus, has become an outspoken critic of western policies towards Syria and has described calls for President Assad to step down as "child-like". During the conflict Ford has also repeatedly disputed...
  • 7th April 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    One of the more effective examples of international cooperation has been the outlawing of chemical weapons. With just a few exceptions, the world has been remarkably successful in moving towards the completely eliminating them.  To date, only three countries – Egypt, North Korea and...
  • 31st January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When Donald Trump issued his now-notorious travel ban on Friday it was couched mainly in terms of protecting the US from terrorism. Framing it in this way gave its racist undertones an aura of respectability, though thankfully there were millions of people who refused to be fooled. Many opponents...
  • 29th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Donald Trump ended his first week as president by signing an executive order that means citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen will not be allowed to enter the United States. Although the travel ban is one of a series of measures aimed – according to Trump – at "...
  • 27th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an apparent policy shift, Britain's foreign secretary has suggested that Bashar al-Assad could be allowed to contest a future presidential election in Syria. Since the start of the conflict in 2011, Britain has insisted that there can be no sustainable peace while Assad remains in power,...

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