Written by Hadi Gholami Nohouji exclusively for SouthFront
These past few days have been filled with accusations against Bashar Al-Assad´s government that blame it for the chemical attack that took place in Douma, near Damascus, the Syrian capital.
There are a large number of articles and pieces representing different views about the incident and the parties that are to blame, which is why I will, in this short article, focus on the benefits and disadvantages of carrying out such an attack for Al-Assad and his allies.
First, we need to have an understanding of the place where the chemical attack took place (there are many who argue whether or not it really happened but I will not dedicate time to that discussion) and its situation.
Douma was until just days ago the last bastion of the rebels and it was under the control of a combination of FSA and jihadi-related groups like Jaysh al-Islam. At the time of the attack —7th April— the Syrian Army and allies had fully surrounded Douma and were already beginning to storm the city.
The Syrian forces had the clear advantage and it was just a matter of time that this rebel bastion would also fall under the government´s forces control. Also the militants in Douma were cut off from the outside world and posed no immediate threat to the Syrian forces.
All of this brings us to the question that why would Al-Assad want to gas his own people knowing the severe repercussions that it would have for him? Does it actually make any sense for the Syrian “regime” to carry out a highly controversial (and indiscriminate) attack against the very same people he is achieving military victory against?
One could argue that the Syrian government wanted to make an example of the rebels left in Douma in order to scare their comrades in Idlib and Daraa into submission. This argument makes little sense since there are many, many more ways to intimidate the enemy than launching a chemical attack that would turn the whole world against you while you are on the verge of victory.
So would there be any benefit for Al-Assad in launching a chemical attack on Douma in these circumstances? No. But then it begs the questions that, if the attack really did take place, then, who did it and what parties are to benefit the most from it?
Sadly, these are questions that, at the very least, we haven´t seen a lot in the media and, even worse, among the many people that are commenting on the issue on the different social media networks.