Russia Knew Syria Chemical Attack Was Coming

Rabat – That is the allegation being leveled against Russia by anonymous senior US officials.The US is basing its conclusion on the presence of a Russian-operated drone seen flying over a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun last Tuesday. According to a report in the Associated Press, intelligence clearly shows people rushing into the hospital seeking treatment, presumably as a result of the chemical attack. Hours later a Russian forces jet appeared and bombed the hospital.US officials are drawing a straight line from these activities to Russian complicity in the chemical attack. The appearance of a Russian drone followed shortly thereafter by a Russian jet on a bombing mission smacks of an attempt to obliterate evidence and is a very unlikely coincidence according to the officials. They spoke only under a guarantee of anonymity as they have no authority to speak publicly about US intelligence.  They could provide no proof of their allegations and would not give details as to the source of the intelligence they used to form their conclusions.Russia has routinely worked with the Syrian military at the Al-Shayrat airbase, where it is believed the chemical attacked originated from and where stockpiles of the chemical weapons used are believed to have been stored. US officials believe it is reasonable to assume that Russia knew about and was possibly complicit in the chemical attack. Officials still cannot say for sure who was operating the aircraft that perpetrated the chemical attack as Syrians routinely fly the Russia-made aircraft.According to the Daily News, local activists in the area released pictures of the al-Rahma hospital in Khan Sheikhoun, claiming it was the bombed hospital in question. In their words, the damage incurred was caused when “Russian forces shelled” it.On Monday, Colonel James J. Thomas confirmed that the US military has stepped up defense precautions for its personnel in Syria in preparation for a possible Syrian retaliation. read more