And now, Human Rights Watch, the international human rights organization, has weighed in with its analysis of the attacks. And to the surprise of exactly no one reasonable, they too concluded that the attack was perpetrated by the Assad regime.
Available evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government forces were responsible for chemical weapons attacks on two Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. These attacks, which killed hundreds of civilians including many children, appeared to use a weapons-grade nerve agent, most likely Sarin.Human Rights Watch also included a map of the attacks and the Syrian bases, showing where the attacks came from and where they landed, matching the information released by US intelligence.
The report re-iterates:
“Rocket debris and symptoms of the victims from the August 21 attacks on Ghouta provide telltale evidence about the weapon systems used,” said , emergencies director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “This evidencestrongly suggests that Syrian governmenttroops launched rockets carrying chemical warheads into the Damascus suburbs that terrible morning.”At this point, it is crystal clear that the Assad regime is responsible for this large scale chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians, Syrian men, women and little children. Anyone who insists on doubting the evidence still is guilty of ignoring the facts in order to help their ideological point of view - which, mind you, is an unnecessary exercise if your position is principled opposition to military action. Sure, acknowledging the reality that Assad's regime is responsible makes a non-intervention rationale difficult, but I don't know any peace activist worth their salt that believes this is easy.
Consistently, the national debate on Syria has been guided by misinformation, counterfactuals, and worst of all, pontifications about political ramifications on one politician or another. We are not served by a climate in which people are allowed to claim mere skepticism as they flat out make up their own facts. We are ill served by a national press that has decided to become a fight referee (and not doing it well) rather than an arbiter of the facts. As a country, we are hurt by politicians and media who are unwilling to tell the truth and set out the facts before they enter into political mudslingling.
The children who were gassed to death in Syria deserve better. America deserves better. And America needs to be be better.