Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chemical Weapons Launched From Regime-Held Military Base

Map of the projected flight bearings and suspected launch site of the 140mm and 330mm rocket systems
The poison gas attacks in Damascus were launched from a military base controlled by Bashar al-Assad’s forces, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said, as more evidence emerged to implicate the regime.

When United Nations investigators published their report on the incident on Monday, they were forbidden from naming the perpetrator. But they did reveal the trajectories flown by two of the missiles.
Human Rights Watch used that data to pinpoint the locations from which the weapons were launched. “When mapping these trajectories, the presumed flight paths of the rockets converge on a well-known military base of the Republican Guard 104th Brigade,” said HRW.
The base is located in an area of northern Damascus held by the regime, close to the presidential palace. The “key details” revealed in the UN report “strongly suggest the government is to blame,” added HRW.
The weapons which appear to have been fired from the Republican Guard base landed in the Damascus suburbs of Moadamiya and Ein Tarma.
HRW cautioned that the data was not “conclusive”, but described it as “highly suggestive and another piece of the puzzle”.
The UN team also identified the weapons used in the attack. They were two types of artillery-launched rocket: the M14 and the 330mm. Both of these Russian-made projectiles are known to be in the arsenal of the regime’s armed forces, which also possess the biggest stockpile of poison gas in the Middle East.

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