Al-Qaeda carried out August chemical attack in Syria: Assad adviser
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A senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were responsible for a deadly chemical attack in the country last month. Assad's political and media adviser Bouthaina Shaaban rejected the Western allegations accusing the Syrian government forces of being responsible for the August 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus. The Syrian official said al-Qaeda was behind the attack just as it was responsible for "killing Syrian people, raping women, [and] kidnapping Christian clerics." "The same people who were on the London Tube and who killed British people, the same people who on 9/11 in New York killed American people, they are the same people in Mali, the same people in Libya, the same people in Iraq, the same people in Syria," Shaaban stated. She called on the United States and its allies, who have been blatantly issuing threats of war against Syria, to wait for the results of a report by the team of United Nations chemical weapons experts, expected to be completed later this month. "They are using the same lies, the same fabrications, the same claims, in order to target our country and our people," Shaaban said, comparing the chemical weapons accusations against Syria to those used to justify the Iraq war, which ultimately proved false. She further demanded that Washington provide the world with evidence backing its accusation against the Syrian government. The rhetoric of war against Syria first gained momentum on August 21, when the militants operating inside the country and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition claimed that over a thousand people had been killed in a government chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar. The Syrian government categorically rejected the accusation. Nevertheless, a number of Western countries, including the United States, France, and Britain, quickly started campaigning for war. On Wednesday, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved a draft resolution backing the use of force against Syria. The draft resolution requires the approval of both chambers of Congress before it can be interpreted as any form of congressional authorization for the US administration to launch an attack on Syria.