The BBC published an article in October titled, “How chemical weapons have helped bring Assad close to victory” in which it claims chemical weapons have been “crucial” to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s “war-winning strategy.“
Superficially – the article appears impressive – loaded from top to bottom with colorful charts, graphs, and photographs of supposed victims in gas masks, expended munitions, and craters.
However, never once does the BBC provide an actual explanation as to how chemical weapons brought Damascus closer to victory. Even at face value, the article’s entire premise is challenged in each paragraph by the statistics and events the article itself presents.
Alleged Chemical Weapon Casualties are a Drop in the Ocean
The article begins by claiming (emphasis added):
After seven devastating years of civil war in Syria, which have left more than 350,000 people dead, President Bashar al-Assad appears close to victory against the forces trying to overthrow him.
Yet further down in the article under a graph titled, “Estimated number of casualties in the 106 attacks by location 2014-18,” the BBC admits that only 55 of the supposed 106 attacks the BBC accuses Syria’s government of carrying out even resulted in any casualties at all, and admits that “it was not possible to verify that the casualties reported were the result of exposure to chemicals.”
The BBC would also admit that:
Although chemical weapons are deadly, UN human rights experts have noted that most incidents in which civilians are killed and maimed have involved the unlawful use of conventional weapons, such as cluster munitions and explosive weapons in civilian populated areas.
Thus, the BBC itself is undermining the entire premise of its own article – admitting that conventional weapons – not chemical weapons – are by far more effective and that its investigation makes it impossible to even determine if chemical weapons claimed any casualties at all.
But does the BBC try to convince readers chemical weapons still somehow played a role in Damascus’ victory?
“Cheap and Convenient” Chemical Weapons?
The BBC cites Dr.