Pentagon investigating possible Russian involvement in Syrian chemical attack

CNN reports the Pentagon is investigating possible Russian involvement in the Syrian chemical weapons attack that took place earlier this week:

The Pentagon is looking for any evidence that the Russian government knew about or was complicit in the attack in Idlib province that killed at least 80 people and injured dozens more, a senior US defense official said…

The US military official said the Pentagon was examining specifically whether a Russian warplane had bombed a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun five hours after the initial chemical attack, with the aim of destroying evidence.

A US defense official says intelligence shows a Russian drone flew over the hospital in Idlib that was treating victims of the chemical attack, prior to the site being later bombed by an unknown aircraft.

The Russians operate drones in the area routinely so the Pentagon cannot be certain the drone operator even knew what was happening, but the drone was a Russian asset.

The U.S. military has been clear that the chemical attack itself was carried out by Syrian jets. In fact, the reason we attacked the Shayrat air base is because our military saw the jets take off from that airport and fly to the site of the attack. But hours later there was a second attack on a hospital that was treating victims.

It’s worth noting that a few hours ago the Associated Press published a similar report which said, “a drone belonging to either Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack.” So perhaps CNN was able to get some additional clarification that this was, in fact, a Russian drone. It makes me wonder if the Pentagon knows more than they are currently saying about this.

Once the U.S. openly asks whether Russia was complicit in the chemical attack, as Nikki Haley did today at the UN, we’re somewhat obligated to try and answer the question. And if we find proof Russia was involved we may be obligated to respond in some way. If nothing else, the fact the Pentagon is looking into this puts Russia on alert that their involvement in Syria atrocities won’t be downplayed or ignored by this administration.