Carla del Ponte, for the UN, has in the past accused the rebels of gas use.
Wicked and brutal they may well be, but they would have to be stupid and possibly mad to do such an thing just as an important conference convenes in Brussels to discuss the future of Syria.
The military advantages would be tiny. Chemical weapons have not been widely used since the 1914-18 war, not because soldiers have been especially tender, but because, though very nasty, they are not an especially effective weapon of war.
In the 1939-45 war, many barbarous things were done, especially by largely lawless nations such as Germany and Japan, and indeed by the USSR.
But gas was not used on the battlefield.
The political and diplomatic disadvantages would be huge.
If Syria could be shown, as it has not yet been, to have used gas to kill children, it would mean total diplomatic isolation, and renewed calls in Britain and the USA, which only a few days ago abandoned its aim of overthrowing Assad, to intervene against Assad.
Well, here are some thoughts as to why this has happened now.
This has come just as Russian policy in the area had begun to look successful.
That would never do.
Never underestimate the current desire in western foreign policy circles to increase hostility between Russia and the USA.
It comes as Britain’s absurdly close and servile client relationship to the despotic and aggressive (ask a Yemeni) Saudi regime is underlined by a visit to Riyadh by Theresa May.
And it comes as Egypt’s tyrant General Sisi, whom we are not allowed to call a military dictator, though he is, and whose forces gunned down hundreds of demonstrators in Cairo, visits Washington.
One, the western powers, by consorting with such people, demonstrate that their exaggerated disgust at the Assad government is selective and unreal.
Two, they demonstrate that our continuing desire to be on good terms with Saudi Arabia lies beneath our whole foreign policy in this region.
And which state loathes President Assad more than anyone?
Why, Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, which despises Assad for his Alawite heresy, and hates him for his alliance with Shia Iran.