The Adana 9th High Criminal Court in Turkey has convicted a Syrian national, Haytham Qassab, to 12 years in jail for attempting to obtain chemicals to produce sarin gas . This sentence was handed down whilst in absentia because of his disappearance. The court stated that Qassab had a “membership in a terrorist organization” and was “attempting to obtain weapons for an armed terrorist organization.”
He was aided by five Turkish suspects, who were all acquitted as their role was still in early stages and had not yet been completed. All the accused had been detained since May 2013, and this marks the end of a case that has endured for over two and a half years.
The case became politically embroiled in Turkey as an official of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Eren Erdem, said in an interview with Russia Today that terrorist groups in Syria received their sarin gas through Turkey.
Erdogan’s government has continually denied that rebels Turkey support use sarin gas and has always pointed the finger at the Syrian government.
However, United Nations weapons inspector, Carla del Ponte, that was on the ground in Syria during the infamous May 2013 chemical weapons attack in Ghouta stated “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” that rebels used sarin gas on civilians.
However, this was not enough for Turkey to withdraw on its claims that the Syrian government uses chemical weapons on its own people.