Last week, U.S. spies claimed to have overheard a conversation between an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense and a leader of the chemical weapons unit that confirmed nerve gas was used in the attack that killed more than 1,000 people in Damascus.
According to Foreign Policy:
Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services…And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.
But the intercept does raise some questions about the attack.
Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? “It’s unclear where control lies,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. “Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?”
What we do know for sure is that the attack took place on August 21 and the U.N. is collecting hard evidence at the scene, such as soil samples, blood, etc. On Wednesday, the U.N. confirmed it found evidence that suggests that some kind of chemical “substance” was used in Syria that may have killed more than 1,000 people, but any military strike in response must first gain U.N. Security Council approval.
The White House is debating whether or not to wait for the U.N.’s confirmation.
We’ll keep you updated on the latest.