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Monday, October 25, 2021

Al Arabiya: Syrian forces took credit for deadly Villaggio fire in Qatar


Days after the deadly Villaggio fire in Qatar, the Syrian government took credit for starting it, Al Arabiya has reported, citing two leaked documents from Bashar Al-Assad’s government.

In the first document pertaining to Qatar – a telegram apparently sent to the Syrian ambassador here on Feb. 18 – Head of Special Security Forces Major General Dhu al-Himma Shaleesh asserts a need to “embarrass” Qatar for its support of the rebels, and ask the envoy for ideas, Al Arabiya reports.

Shaleesh also authors the second document, dated June 2, in which he personally addresses President Al Assad and acknowledges the “success” of operation “Villaggio blaze.”

The claim remains dubious as no specific plans were laid out in the first memo and no details are offered in the second. It also remains unclear whether there was even a Syrian ambassador in Qatar on Feb. 18, as the GCC announced on Feb. 7 that all Gulf states were expelling Syrian ambassadors. 

Al Arabiya says these two files are part of a large cache of government documents it obtained “with the assistance of members in the Syrian opposition; which has preferred not to elaborate on how they got hold of them.” The channel says, however, that it has verified hundreds of those files.

The Qatari government has yet to comment on the newly released documents, but it was quick to discount earlier rumors of Syrian involvement shortly after the May 28 fire that killed 19 people, including 13 children.

And an official investigation into the fire concluded it was started by faulty electrical wiring in a fluorescent light, which led to the ignition of its plastics components before spreading to flammable materials.

Here are the two Arabic documents Al Arabiya is presenting:


Credit: Graphic and documents courtesy of Al Arabiya

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