Syria's Chemical Weapons Attack: Key Facts
Policy + Politics

Syria's Chemical Weapons Attack: Key Facts


Below is the declassified U.S. intelligence assessment on the chemical weapons attack that took place in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria on August 21.

The administration considers it clear evidence that the regime of Bashar al-Assad carried out the attack with a nerve agent.

Here are some of the key findings, which are based on "human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting" (emphasis ours):

  • A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children.


  • The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack on August 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.


  • In the three days prior to the attack, we collected streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence that reveal regime activities that we assess were associated with preparations for a chemical weapons attack.


  • Our intelligence sources in the Damascus area did not detect any indications in the days prior to the attack that opposition affiliates were planning to use chemical weapons.


  • Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21.


  • Local social media reports of a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs began at 2:30 a.m. local time on August 21. Within the next four hours there were thousands of social media reports on this attack from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area.Multiple accounts described chemical-filled rockets impacting opposition-controlled areas.


  • We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N.inspectors obtaining evidence.


  • On the afternoon of August 21, we have intelligence that Syrian chemical weapons personnel were directed to cease operations. At the same time, the regime intensified the artillery barrage targeting many of the neighborhoods where chemical attacks occurred.


Here's the full document:

08.30.2013++USG+Assessment+on+Syria (1) by Brett LoGiurato


This article is by Michael Kelley of Business Insider.


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