So did Bashar al-Assad use gas? The Russians must know. They are in the air bases, in the ministries, in the military headquarters. And if they say the Syrians did not use gas, then they had better be sure. The Russians had advance warning of Trump’s 59 Cruise missiles. Many hours of warning – not the one hour that Washington claims – and would have ensured that Syrian jets were way out of the air base. Russians are not to be killed in the Syrian war; their presence would have meant casualties.
Did the Syrian army, a trifle arrogant, perhaps, after their capture of eastern Aleppo decide to try to bring the war to an end in a quick way? The question must be asked. In the past, villages in which army officers lived – and in which their families lived – have been gassed. The Syrians blamed the Turks for giving the gas to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, and Isis. The Russians said earlier gas attacks on Damascus used chemical components shipped via Turkey to Syria from Libya.