Syrian powder keg has exploded: Major conflict in the Middle East likely weeks away?
April 30, 2013
SYRIA – Two people were killed and 20 others were injured in northwestern Syrian province of Idlib Tuesday after warplanes dropped bags containing “strange substances,” Al-Jazeera reported, saying the suspicious material was apparently chemical weapons. Videos uploaded by the Qatari news network show casualties having difficulties breathing treated in makeshift hospitals. One video showed a healthcare professional drawing attention to the white foam coming out of an injured man’s mouth. The issue of possible chemical attacks by President Bashar Assad’s government has become a crucial factor that could lead to the United States and other western powers stepping up their involvement in the Syrian civil war. Both Washington and Jerusalem have expressed concern about chemical weapons falling into the hands of terrorist groups – either hardline Islamist rebels fighting to topple Assad or his regional allies. Last week rebels claimed 42 people suffocated to death following a chemical attack by Assad’s forces on a Damascus suburb. Also last week, official mouthpiece Al-Watan said numerous regime fighters were hospitalized suffering from similar symptoms, namely difficulties in breathing. Some of the casualties have died, Al-Watan reported. Meanwhile, the bloodshed in Syria goes on as it has for every other day over the past three years. Opposition sources said 119 people were killed Monday as a result of fierce fighting between rebel forces and Assad loyalists throughout the country. The majority of the casualties came from different Damascus suburbs and as well as from the towns of Aleppo and Daraa. The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper published statements by a Lebanese source claiming that Hezbollah is prepared for any military development. According to the source, this is in light of the meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, in which the two coordinated their stances regarding the support of Damascus. According to the report, sources in Lebanon believe that a war will break out within six weeks, involving Lebanon, Syria and possibly, Iran. –Ynet News