Wednesday there are early breaking news reports from rebels in Syria. They claim the country's regime has used chemical weapons against them. It is not the first time such claims have been levied against the regime, nor the rebels. The rebels are now called the opposition by many who see them as the new legal administration of Syria but as they in part are a rag taggle army of revolutionaries, rebels is what they remain.
According to BBC News rebels claim rockets with toxic agents were launched at the suburbs of the Ghouta region of Damascus in the early hours of Wednesday morning. As usual there is footage on YouTube, this time purporting to be the victims of the attack receiving treatment at makeshift medical centres. Also as usual the footage cannot be verified.
A couple of hours later Sky News reports more than 200 people were killed in today's gas attack by the Syrian regime. "Sky sources said at least 200 people had been killed in the violence in Zamalka and Ein Tarma. "Regime forces after midnight stepped up military operations in the East Ghouta and West Ghouta zones of the Damascus region with aircraft and rocket launchers, causing several dozen dead and wounded," according to activists quoted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights."
Weapons inspectors arrived in Syria on Sunday but they face tough challenges. Although many people claim that the Assad regime has a stock pile of undeclared chemical weapons the claims are unsubstantiated. "Undeclared" chemical weapons is pertinent as most countries will have supplies of such weapons but they will be declared. That will not make them less harmful of course if used.
Both the Syrian regime and the rebels are destroying Syria. People living in that country can have no real life until the situation is resolved. Not that long ago President Obama said that if the regime had used chemical weapons it would be a game changer. They would have crossed a red-line and the west would act.
Since that time Egypt has gone into free-fall and surely western governments have learned to take a step back before interfering in civil wars. The west has a great deal to gain in ensuring Assad is ousted, replaced by a western puppet, but it has a lot to lose if it goes wrong. It easily could backfire. Look at Karzai in Afghanistan for proof.
Assad is no fool and he could be utilising events in Egypt. As the west procrastinates it gives him time to launch deadly attacks unchecked. But so much of the Syrian civil war is unknown and not based on fact.
The people and children of Syria are suffering. If and when action is taken by the west it has to be to relief that suffering not worsen it. Western involvement in the Arab Spring, the civil war in Libya and the fall of Mubarak in Egypt stand as a note of caution. Before we wade in destroying another country further we should consider the long haul.
After all our actions in many countries have increased the threat of terrorism not reduced it.