A leaked report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has cast new doubt on the public findings of the group over the controversial 2017 chemical weapons attack in Douma, Syria.
The April 2018 attack in Douma killed at least 70 people and was attributed to Basher al-Assad’s Syrian government, an accusation that was stringently denied by both Syria and Russia. The two countries placed the blame squarely at the feet of Great Britain and the intelligence services, stating that the scene has been staged in a propaganda exercise.
“Not a single witness or affected patient in hospital has been found. Nor any traces of chemical ammunition have been identified. Instead, we managed to find those who participated in filming the faked video, which was eventually presented as ‘proof’ of the chemical attack”Aleksandr Shulgin, Russian representative to the OPCW, 2018
The official report into the attack by OCPW earlier this year stated that a bomb containing “molecular chlorine” was dropped from the air onto an apartment complex, a report that has now been revealed to have been flatly contradicted by OCPWs own engineers who found that the scene was indeed a fraud.
Leaked to the Working Group on Syria, a body that was established to facilitate research into the areas such as propaganda and information operations regarding the Syrian conflict, the newly uncovered report found that the canisters and the surrounding scene were inconsistent with having been dropped from the air, with them having been placed there by hand stated as the “only plausible explanation”.
“In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being delivered from an aircraft.”
While the mainstream media and western governments were quick to dismiss the claim as a conspiracy theory, the new document now adds weight to the claims by Syria and Russia that the Syrian government was not responsible for the attack and raises new questions about who exactly was responsible. While militant rebels have been suspected, OPCW refusing to inspect a local facility that Syria believed was being used to produce chemical weapons, it is unlikely that such an operation could have been carried out without the sanction and assistance of an outside state actor.
Speaking to Russia Today, Dr. Piers Robinson of the Organisation for Propaganda Studies questions “what kind of political pressure might have been brought to bear on the OCPW” by western governments between the initial engineering report and the final report that was issued by the chemical watchdog.
The questions raised from the leaked report are immense and also incredibly urgent. What exactly changed the final report away from the quite clear engineering report? Was the OCPW compromised by western interests from Washington, Paris or London? and equally, who was responsible for the attack and under whose instruction?
OCPW has so far not commented on the matter except to say that they are “conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question”, with no comment issued as to the contents.
The leaked report can be read Here
Assessment by the engineering sub-team of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission investigating the alleged chemical attack in Douma in April 2018 can be read Here
Briefing notes on the on the final report of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission on the alleged chemical attack in Douma can be read Here