Bad beginning for the UN investigation on the death of at least 335 people in an alleged gas attack near Damascus, Syria. Despite an agreement reached for a cease-fire in the area during the work of the inspectors, one of the UN vehicles came under sniper fire in a buffer zone when the convoy was heading to Eastern Ghouta from Damascus. The convoy reached later the hospitals that treated the victims of the gas attack and they are at work, the latest reports said.

Now it will be necessary to investigate who doesn’t want the inspectors in place. The government is officially offering its assistance to the team and in the other side are the victims of the attack asking for an investigation. So many questions to ask.

An independent investigation of the Eastern Goutha  attack to determine what caused the death of so many people and who is responsible is necessary. It’s good to have a cease-fire agreement for the first time to the people trapped in the fighting. Cease-fires are always a test of good will or if there is not that good will an opportunity to provoke the other part and trade blames. This time it seems the test is close to fail.

The problem with the UN inspections is that they depend on the government permission to move around, and here the government is one of the parts in conflict and, let’s say it, the principal suspect, since the victims were in a neighbourhood controlled by the other side.

The allegation that they – the rebels – staged the attack to attract UN inspectors attention  the UN is difficult to believe after knowing the amount of deaths in their side confirmed by an independent source, MSF. The Syrian Government said they would not launch a gas attack with UN inspectors in the country, but they were reluctant to grant immediate access to the inspectors, until Russia announced in the UN they will do it.

With inspectors on the ground there will be no interventionOnly an independent investigation with full access to the evidences and without restrictions from the government and from the rebels who control the area will answer the question. Maybe the answer would say what is already said from independent sources: there has been an attack with a chemical agent but there is no way to prove who launched it. Maybe because the evidences have been already destroyed.

Meanwhile the western powers are considering what to do with Syria. The Europeans are openly blaming the Syrian regime for this and other attacks with chemical weapons and asking for an intervention, but they need the US for that. And the US is not willing to go to another conflict in the Middle East. A poll published recently by Reuters showed a vast majority of the Americans are against a military intervention and this tendency is growing. But the Europeans are pressing, and Obama is weighing its options.

We have seen this before. With inspectors on the ground there will be no intervention. Only if they receive the order to evacuate immediately or they leave because of security reasons, the Al Assad regime would have reasons to fear.

Today Al Assad warned the US against it in an interview in the Russian Izvestia.

“Failure awaits the United States as in all previous wars it has unleashed, starting with Vietnam and up to the present day,” he said.

“Would any state use chemical or any other weapons of mass destruction in a place where its own forces are concentrated? That would go against elementary logic,” he added.

There are too many questions without answers in Syria only a cruel reality: a fight without end at sight and the international community’s inability to do something to help in an effective way.

We are waiting for the Peace talks from May and no way to convene the sides to talk after all the promises. Recently a Russian diplomat said the conference will not take place soon because there is a busy international diplomatic agenda. There are other priorities.

Meanwhile the fight is worsening and the refugee flow is increasing. The UN is talking about a million refugee children. Each day people is dying, starving, getting homeless, force to fly to another place or to another country, experiencing the horrors of a war it’s already too long and nobody knows when and how will finish.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. So appalling the situation in Syria – whatever intervention may or may not happen now, it can’t change the terrible statistics of over 100 000 dead, 1 million child refugees and over 3 million children displaced or at risk within the country. It’s just like watching the atrocities in the Balkans all over again. Really good that you’re writing about it.

  2. Thank you. You’re right. It reminds me of the Balkans too. So many innocent people suffering. And no way to stop it? This war has been ignored by the ones with power to decide for a long time and now is too late for millions counting the dead, injuried, displaced and refugees.

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About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.