TEHRAN, Sep. 17 (MNA) – A leaked U.S. military document reveals that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group possessed and produced sarin gas to be used in chemical attacks in Syria.
The classified document obtained by WorldNetDaily, confirms that poison gas was confiscated earlier this year from members of the al-Nusra Front, a militant group that has been responsible for some of the most gruesome terrorist attacks directed at both Syrian soldiers and civilian population.
The National Ground Intelligence Center report states that al-Qaeda in Iraq produced the sarin gas and then shipped it to the al-Nusra Front in Syria.
Turkish anti-terror police seized a two-kilogram cylinder of sarin gas from members of the notorious terrorist group near the Syrian border.
The new military document reveals that sarin gas obtained by the al-Nusra Front could have been used in an attack on civilians and military soldiers in Aleppo last March.
The U.S. has unequivocally accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching a deadly chemical attack near Damascus on August 21, and has raised the specter of military action against the Arab country.
However, the leaked military file describes the sarin seized in Turkey as a “kitchen variety,” which corresponds to the sarin gas used in last month’s attack, according to Dr. Yossef Bodansky, a top terrorism expert.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials support Bodansky’s conclusion, saying they are not convinced that the Aug. 21 chemical attack was carried out by the Assad government.
Half of rebels are extremists
Meanwhile, according to extracts from a British defense study published in Monday’s Daily Telegraph, extremists and members of hardline Islamist groups make up almost half of forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The analysis by defense consultancy IHS Jane’s, due to be published in full later this week, puts the number of rebel forces at around 100,000, the Telegraph reported.
But these fighters have split into as many as 1,000 bands since violence flared two years ago, the study concluded.
Of the rebel forces, IHS Jane’s estimates that around 10,000 are jihadists fighting for groups linked to Al-Qaeda and another 30,000 to 35,000 are hardline Islamists, who differ from jihadists in that they are concentrated only on the Syrian conflict, and not on the global Islamist fight.
“The insurgency is now dominated by groups which have at least an Islamist viewpoint on the conflict,” Charles Lister, author of the analysis, told the British newspaper.
“The idea that it is mostly secular groups leading the opposition is just not borne out,” he added.
The study is based on interviews with militants and on intelligence estimates.
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