BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria

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Is this worth another BREAKING Headline? I certainly hope not. I was checking my tweeter feeds and getting ready to call it a night when I saw this:

I tend to trust my Anonymous sources.

Google translations spits back this from the Arabic caption to the YouTube video: Coordinating monastery Alzoralbulel suffocation cases among civilians because of toxic gases released by 20 72

This is obviously very sketchy at this point but clearly the people in the video think that they have been subjected to some sort of gas attack. This may be tear gas or some other non-lethal agent. At least so far no deaths have been reported. But I have been greatly trouble by some of the tweets I am seeing now such as:

See also my diary: Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?

I am also trouble by these tweets from two days ago:

I get concerned when soldiers start strapping on gas masks because most civilians don't have them.

Like I said, I hope that this does not turn out to be breaking news, but here it is.

7:20 AM PT: Reuters is reporting this morning:

Syria moves chemical weapons before wider offensive: defector
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
HACIPASA, Turkey | Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:32am EDT

(Reuters) - A senior Syrian military defector said President Bashar al-Assad's forces were moving chemical weapons across the country for possible use in a military retaliation for the killing of four top security officials.

"The regime has started moving its chemical stockpile and redistributing it to prepare for its use," said General Mustafa Sheikh, citing rebel intelligence obtained in recent days.

"They are moving it from warehouses to new locations," he told Reuters in an interview in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. "They want to burn the country. The regime cannot fall without perpetrating a sea of blood."

The Debka Files is saying:

Assad has given final warning before using WMD, say Washington security sources
DEBKAfile July 20, 2012, 5:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

Security sources in Washington criticize the Obama administration for not treating seriously enough Bashar Assad’s threats to start using chemical and biological weapons against Syrian rebels and other Middle East targets if the revolt continues. “Assad has shown he means what he says,” those sources said.

8:49 AM PT: By Reuters, Jack Khoury and Haaretz | Jul.21, 2012 | 12:18 PM |:

Opposition Free Syrian Army has formed a special unit, trained to secure Syria's chemical weapons sites, the Daily Telegraph has reported Friday, citing a former general in the country's chemical and biological weapons administration, Gen. Adnan Silou, who is also the most senior ranking member of Assad's regime to defect and join the rebel groups.

According to the report, Gen. Silou said he fears that with Assad's back against the wall, he might be tempted to use the chemical weapons against his own people, stating that he knows "Assad's character." In addition, Gen. Silou says that the weapons can be deployed from tanks, rockets and helicopters.

Israel said it would consider military action if needed to ensure Syrian missiles or chemical weapons did not reach Assad's allies in Lebanon, the Shi'ite Islamist movement Hezbollah.

"I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that ... (if necessary) ... we will be able to consider carrying out an operation," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

9:53 AM PT: Al Arabiya News has a piece about the video I posted last night. I broke this story here on the Daily Kos 10 hrs. before Al Arabiaya News! Imagine that! Now that's what I call BREAKING:

Syrian activists claim Assad’s forces used ‘toxic gas’ against civilians
Sat Jul 21, 2012 19:39 pm (KSA) 16:39 pm (GMT)

Syrian activists from the city of Deir Ezzour have circulated a video on the Internet of children they said were victims of toxic gas attacks by regime forces amid growing international concern about the country’s stockpiles of chemical weapons.

The activists reported cases of asphyxia due to what they said was toxic gas released by regime forces in the town on Friday.

The anti-regime activists also published a video explaining to people how to make masks that will protect them from airborne toxic gases. The mask forms a sealed cover over the nose and the mouth and also provides cover for the eyes.

On Monday, Nawaf Fares, who defected from his post as Syrian ambassador to Iraq, said in an interview with the BBC that he was “convinced” that Assad would draw on his stocks if cornered, according to AFP.

His comments were backed up by members of the rebel Syrian Free Army.

A few days earlier, the Wall Street Journal said that intelligence reports suggested some chemical weapons were on the move, although the reasons were unclear.

It said some U.S. officials feared the weapons could be used against rebels or civilians, while others believed they were being deliberately hidden from armed opposition groups or Western powers.

Both Fares and the Syrian Free Army even allege that chemical weapons have already been used during the Syrian conflict.

In reality, very little is known about Syria’s chemical capabilities as the country is not a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which requires member states to be transparent and destroy their stockpiles.

This is what the Assad regime is doing even without chemical weapons:

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
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