Report: Russia stopped Syria from gassing rebels

Mary Ann Chastain/AP file photo

Bashar al-Assad's regime came close to using chemical weapons two weeks ago.

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Syria's public position is that it won't use its chemical weapons unless some outside state attacks it, but a Reuters report by Samia Nakhoul on Tuesday included some scary news that Bashar al-Assad's regime was close to using them on rebels two weeks ago, but Russia stopped it. The story largely focuses on the cooperation between the United States, Israel, and Russia to stop Syria from using its chemical weapons, and includes some terrifying comments from a diplomat who makes Syria sound a lot like a regime that came to the brink of chemical warfare once already in this conflict. Per Nakhoul:
One Western diplomat in the region said: "There was talk of them using it two weeks ago, but the Russians intervened quickly to stop him.
"If you think how desperate these people are and what they have done in the past, you have to assume they would be prepared to use it. All of us think he (Assad) is capable of using it and will do it if he was pushed to the wall," the diplomat said, referring to credible reports that Assad was preparing to use Sarin gas against Syrian rebels.
But "the Russians got hold of him and told him ‘don't even think about it'".

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