Guest Post by Mara Zebest
Syrian opposition groups have been requesting gas masks to protect against chemical weapons for more than a year. The Obama administration had an abundant supply of masks but decided not to supply any to Syrian residents. The residents were forced to make primitive gas masks using household items. Obama notoriously always on the wrong side of morality.
The Daily Beast reports the following:
Syrian opposition groups have been asking for gas masks and chemical-weapons protection gear for more than a year—and the Obama administration decided not to supply them, Josh Rogin reports exclusively.
The Obama administration has refused to send gas masks and other chemical-weapons protection gear to Syrian opposition groups, despite numerous requests dating back more than a year and until the reported chemical-weapons attack that struck the Damascus suburbs August 21.
Following the harrowing attack that left more than 1,300 dead and more than 3,000 injured in East Ghouta and other Damascus suburbs, the Obama administration is contemplating a strike on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But Syrian civilians are still trying to cope with the tragedy and treat the wounded, who include scores of children caught sleeping when the gas was dispersed. The attack zone has a fatal shortage of gas masks, chemical-weapons protection gear, and the nerve agent antidote atropine; civilians and activists have been forced to resort to crafting makeshift masks out of everyday household items.
More chemical-weapons attacks could come, and there is now an urgent demand in rebel-held areas for gas masks and other gear. But there is also anger and frustration among opposition leaders that despite more than a year of requests to the U.S. government, the Obama administration did not send any gas masks or chemical-weapons protection gear to opposition-controlled areas. [...]
“There are a lot of gas-mask kits in excess supply. It was not an issue of availability,” the former official said. “In the early days of the Syria conflict, even the smallest amount of aid to the Free Syrian Army was viewed with great concern. It was a lack of foresight by administration bureaucrats. Unfortunately, now we’re seeing the consequences.”
A senior Obama administration official confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that the White House did review the issue last year and determined it wouldn’t provide any gas masks or other chemical-weapons protective gear to the Syria opposition because of fears the equipment could get into the wrong hands.
“The provision of protective gear for the opposition sounds like an easy idea, but we need consider the potential for misuse as well,” the official said. “Such equipment requires proper training to be effective, and we need to be careful about how and to whom we provide it.”
That explanation is unlikely to satisfy several Capitol Hill offices that have been informally pressing the administration to provide the Syrian opposition with gas masks for several months. Regime-controlled areas have plenty of gas masks and are being resupplied from their allies, aides pointed out. [...]
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