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Turkish Court Investigates Syrian Jihadist Use of Chemicals

Turkish prosecutors have indicted a Syrian opposition figure with links to Jabhat al-Nusra's attempts to manufacture chemical weapons.
Ammunition is seen at an area controlled by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the front line during clashes with opposition fighters during a guided tour by the Syrian Army in the Damascus suburb of Jobar, August 24, 2013. Syrian state television said soldiers found chemical materials on Saturday in tunnels that had been used by rebels, rejecting blame for a nerve gas attack that killed hundreds this week and heightened Western calls for foreign intervention.    REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri
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In Syria, it all started as it did in other Arab Spring countries. The Syrian people rose against the Baath regime and the Assads, who have been running the country for more than 40 years. But in a short time this uprising turned into a violent sectarian war that was actually shadow boxing by regional countries. One of the striking peculiarities of the civil war in Syria is the perpetual crimes against humanity and violations of international law both by groups calling themselves “opposition” and President Bashar al-Assad’s regular army and shabiha paramilitary groups. Some human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, are systemically recording these crimes committed by both sides.

With the chemical weapon attack around Damascus on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,000 people, attacks against civilians have assumed a new dimension. We all know what transpired after that attack, with Syria coming to the threshold of being bombed by an international coalition. With Russia entering the picture and Assad’s subsequent promise of giving up his chemical weapons, an intervention against Syria seems to be off the agenda.

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