Former First Sea Lord Admiral West: ‘We Need Unequivocal Proof’ on Syria Chemical Attack, Could be ‘Propaganda’

Labour peer and former chief of Britain’s Royal Navy Lord West has questioned the evidential basis for Western strikes against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, stating that there should be “unequivocal proof” of a chemical attack before intervention.

Heaping doubt on the quality of intelligence on chemical attacks in Syria, former professional head of Britain’s senior military force Lord West told TalkRadio hours before Saturday night’s bombing commenced that: “I think we need unequivocal proof that this chemical attack was done by Assad’s forces.

“I’m not at all convinced at the moment we have unequivocal proof. All of the reports are coming from people like the White Helmets, who have a track record of actually doing propaganda for the opposition forces in Syria. The World Health Organisation reports are coming from doctors working in Douma who are also part of the opposition there.”

Lord West also questioned the motives behind the attack, remarking that for Syria’s al-Assad to use chemical weapons at this stage in a war he had nearly won was illogical. He said: “…as a military man, If I’d been advising Assad, I’d have said ‘you’re about to take over that bit of territory, you’ve nearly got the whole of that area now under your control. Why on earth would you do something that would bring the international forces in’.

If I’d been advising the opposition, I’d have said ‘get a barrel of chlorine gas here, at some stage there will be bombs dropped on you – when that happens blow it up and we can blame them, because what we really want is the allies coming in’.”

British Tornado strike aircraft joined fellow coalition aircraft from the United States and France Saturday morning, which acted in concert with at least three US Navy ships to strike three targets within Syria. Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the strike as “right and legal” Saturday morning while President Trump took to Twitter to remark on “a perfectly executed strike last night”.

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