'A former head of Britain's Special Forces has challenged Theresa May's claim that President Assad was behind the chemical attack in Douma.
Major General Jonathan Shaw said: 'Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this time? He's won the war.
'That's not just my opinion, it is shared by senior commanders in the US military. There is no rationale behind Assad's involvement whatsoever.
'He's convinced the rebels to leave occupied areas in buses. He's gained their territory. So why would he be bothering gassing them?
Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday, the ex-SAS and Parachute Regiment commander added: 'The jihadists and the various opposition groups who've been fighting against Assad have much greater motivation to launch a chemical weapons attack and make it look like Assad was responsible.
'Their motivation being that they want to keep the Americans involved in the war – following Trump saying the US was going to leave Syria for other people to sort out.'
His views were echoed by Admiral Lord West, former head of the Royal Navy, who said: 'If I was advising President Assad, why would I say use chemical weapons at this point? It doesn't make any sense. But for the jihadist opposition groups I can see why they would.'
Read more: Former head of Britain's special forces says Assad 'doesn't need to use gas' because he's 'already won the war' but give May 'benefit of the doubt' over intelligence
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