Firstly; let’s avoid getting drawn into the narrative that the Western war strategists want us to be drawn into.
Chemical weapons are nasty. They kill people in nasty ways. Dying from chlorine poisoning or Sarin is probably not massive fun. Then again; dying from a sophisticated and modern fuel air explosive device is probably not a bundle of fun either. Dying from burns caused by incendiary bombs is probably no great joy. And, for that matter being killed by flying fragments of any kind is probably not all that nice. The narrative about how chemical weapons are so terrible is entirely false. It is used by people who don’t use chemical weapons – not because they are more moral, but because they have more lethal and effective ways to kill people.
The US and the UK make a continual noise about how they “never deliberately target civilians”. Maybe. Maybe. But they certainly drop bombs all over the place, not in self-defence, but in wars of aggression undertaken to maintain their strategic political and economic dominance, in the full knowledge that they will be killing civilians by the tens of thousands. The public are fed (via the compliant media) images of targeted airstrikes on military vehicles and buildings. Meanwhile the strikes rain down on “dual-use” facilities such as power stations, substations, local telephone exchanges etc. and on other locations designated as command and control centres. Often in populated areas.
So. The fuss about 80 dead civilians in Khan Sheikhoun is entirely made up.
There is something fishy about the claims in the West that this was an attack carried out by Assad’s forces. The town of Khan Sheikhoun is in a rebel held area in Idlib province. Firstly; 3 days after the attack there is no definite analysis of the chemical used. This town is in rebel held territory. Why have US or UK special forces, known to be operating in the region, not flown in and collected samples? If this is so important and they are so sure it is Assad why not do this and start to build an evidenced case against him? Secondly; if they care so much about the civilians in Khan Sheikhoun why have they not flown in medical teams? They can do that in 1-2 days in the case of an earthquake far further away from the UK (say) than Syria is. If the answer to either of these questions is that the town of Khan Sheikhoun is held by Al Nusra (the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria) – which it may be based on this map and this article in Deutsche Welle – then that does not explain the lack of action. Surely the rebels of Al Nusra would be willing to provide samples, even to a neutral party, if they thought it would lead to Assad being bombed? And medical aid can be air-dropped in. But – nothing. And if this town is held by Al Nusra aren’t these the same rebels whom the US claimed were innocent victims when Russia was bombing Aleppo? Surely the US can’t be saying they are too scared to go among them?
It seems entirely irrational for Assad’s forces to be using chemical weapons since the result achieved has been so predictable. The US has joined the war against them – directly (rather than just by arming proxies).
Neither the fishiness of the US/UK position nor the fact that were Assad to have done this it would have been irrational mean that the attack was not carried out by Assad’s forces. But it does mean that any clear-sighted observer should be wary of making assumptions here.