Syria's state-controlled television reported that on August 24, Syrian government soldiers have found chemical agents in tunnels used by rebel forces arrayed against the Assad regime in the Damascus suburb of Jobar. The report also alleged that some of the soldiers were suffocating in the tunnels. "Army heroes are entering the tunnels of the terrorists and saw chemical agents," said the report, which quoted a "news source." "In some cases, soldiers are suffocating while entering Jobar," it claimed.
"Ambulances came to rescue the people who were suffocating in Jobar," the report contended. It added that Syrian army will soon assault the suburb where insurgents are fighting to bring down President Bashar al-Assad.
Opponents of the Assad regime have accused the military of using a nerve gas attack in Jobar and other suburbs in the pre-dawn hours on August 21. Estimates of the dead have varied, but range into the hundreds, including scores of children and infants. Doctors Without Borders, an international aid group, released an estimate of 355 dead. The same group estimated that 3,600 patients were treated in Damascus who showed neurotoxic symptoms.
Western sources theorize that a nerve agent similar to sarin, a deadly toxin, was mixed with preservatives and other substances and then launched into Jobar with rockets or other artillery fire. Sources in the Obama administration believe that it was the Syrian military that launched the deadly attack. Russia is urging President Assad to cooperate with international inspectors to investigate the killing. On the day of the attack, the US and both the UK and France formally requested a UN investigation.
The Obama administration is still considering its options, even while US Navy warships are drawing closer to Syria's shores, prompting speculation that President Obama may launch an attack with cruise missiles or piloted aircraft. Currently, the USS Gravely, USS Barry, USS Ramage, and the USS Mahan are in the area. US submarines may also be in the area that are also equipped with cruise missiles.