The reported chemical weapons attack in Syria last week that killed more than 1,000 people and sent the Western world baring down on the conflict may have been ordered by the little brother to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Bloomberg cites an unnamed UN official who monitors armed conflicts in the region. The official said that the attack appears to have been a brash act by Maher rather than a strategic decision by the Bashar.
The use of chemical weapons may have been a brash action by Maher al-Assad rather than a strategic decision by the president, according to the UN official, who asked not to be named.
Israeli television has also reported that Maher ordered the attack.
The timing of last week’s chemical weapons attack was widely seen as odd, given the presence of UN officials investigating previous claims of chemical weapons attacks.
Bashar al Assad, in an interview with a Russian newspaper over the weekend, denied the claims and called them an “insult to common sense.”
If Maher were at the helm of the attack, it would explain its brashness and why those in the presidential palace did not seem to know before hand.
Many were surprised when Hafez al Assad chose the quieter Bashar, an ophthalmologist, over the more military minded Maher. And when Bashar assumed power in 2000, he immediately installed Maher as chief of security. He is widely believed to wield a tremendous amount of autonomy over military affairs.
Maher al Assad, 45, commands the Syrian Republican Guard and the Army’s Fourth Armoured Division.
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