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FEATURING DR. STEPHEN ZUNES – After President Donald Trump declared “Mission Accomplished” in Syria in the wake of US air strikes last week, the question about the veracity of reports on the chemical attack in Douma has taken on a new urgency. Inspectors with the Organization For the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are still awaiting access to the sites of the attack to determine if the Assad regime used poison gas. Russian forces are now reportedly in the town that until just days ago was held by forces of the rebel group Jaish-Al-Islam.

Meanwhile reporters have been getting some access to the areas in and around Douma. Acclaimed journalist Robert Fisk reported from Douma in a piece for The Independent that has been widely read. Fisk spoke with a doctor who says he did not witness the attack but claims that the dozens of Syrian civilians who died, “were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.

Strangely reporters with AP and the Guardian were also in Douma and managed to find strong corroboration of reports of chemicals being used to poison Syrians and interviewed dozens of survivors and medics.

Is it possible to accept that Syria’s government really did attack civilians and still be against US militarism in Syria? My guest thinks it absolutely is.

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He also serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also an associate editor of Peace Review.

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