Sep 19, 2013

    Rockets fired from Assad stronghold

    DETAILS buried in the United Nations report on the Syrian chemical-weapon attack point directly at elite military formations loyal to President Bashar Assad.

    Those were some of the strongest findings to date that suggest the government gassed its own people.

    The UN inspectors, instructed to investigate the attack but not to assign blame, nonetheless listed the precise compass directions of flight for two rocket strikes that appeared to lead back towards the government's elite redoubt in Damascus, Mount Qasioun.

    The redoubt overlooks and protects neighbourhoods and Mr Assad's presidential palace. It is where his Republican Guard and the army's powerful Fourth Division are entrenched.

    "It is the centre of gravity of the regime," said Mr Elias Hanna, a retired general in the Lebanese army and a lecturer on strategy and geopolitics at the American University of Beirut.

    In presenting the data concerning the two rocket strikes, the report provided a strong indication that the Syrian military carried out the attack.

    "Connecting the dots...allows us to see for ourselves where the rockets were likely launched from and who was responsible," Mr Josh Lyons, a satellite imagery analyst for Human Rights Watch, noted in a statement on Tuesday. "This isn't conclusive, but it is highly suggestive."