American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says Turkey was behind last year’s sarin gas attack carried out by foreign-backed insurgents in Syria.
In a report published on Sunday in the London Review of Books, Hersh claimed Turkey staged the gas attack to provoke a US war on Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, an insurgent group fighting the Syrian government, he said.
According to the report, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested last May in southern Turkey with “two kilograms of sarin.” But in a news conference last summer, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow Aydin Sezgin dismissed the arrests and told reporters that the recovered “sarin” was merely “anti-freeze,” the report said.
“We knew there were some in the Turkish government,” Hersh quoted a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, as saying. The American official said they “believed they could get [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.”
Last August’s attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta claimed hundreds of lives.
At the time, the Barack Obama administration and the US mainstream media immediately blamed the Syrian government for the atrocity, with Obama ordering the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. America’s European and Middle Eastern allies backed Washington’s warmongering campaign.
The report showed the US military leadership knew that the White House claims were false.
The American and British intelligence also had been aware that insurgents in Syria were developing chemical weapons, according to the report.
So far, the UN-led inquiries have found no evidence on the Syrian government’s involvement in the attack.