Report: Assad’s Brother Linked to Chemical Attack

(FILES) A picture dated June 13, 2003 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher (L) attending their father's funeral in Damascus on June 13, 2000. As Bashar al-Assad's regime fights to stay in power, one man has emerged as the symbol of the dynasty's brutal military might -- the president's feared younger brother Maher. AFP PHOTO/RAMZI HAIDAR (Photo credit should read RAMZI HAIDAR/AFP/Getty Images)

    Ramzi Haidar/AFP/Getty Images

    Who ordered the chemical-weapon attack in Syria that left scores of civilians dead? A United Nations official who has been monitoring the conflict in Syria says the decision may not have been a strategic one made by the country's embattled president, Bashar al-Assad. Instead, this official, who asked to remain anonymous, said it could have been made by Assad’s brother, Maher al-Assad, who commands the Syrian Army’s 4th Armored Division, the unit that opposition forces say launched the attack. Other experts in the region, however, are skeptical. It’s unlikely that the regime would cross President Barack Obama’s red line without Bashar’s approval, said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.




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