31 Aug, (LPAC) Mint Press News reports in an article entitled “Syrians: Saudi-supplied rebels behind Chemical Attack,” written by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, that many Syrians interviewed by them believe that the rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the chemical attack in Syria.
Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News who has reported from Amman, Jordan, writing for the Associated Press, NPR and BBC and Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist whose articles have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta. Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a huge gas bottle.
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels. Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regimes heartland of Latakia on Syrias western coast, in purported retaliation.
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named K. “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution. A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named J agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.
We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” J said.
More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.