The OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) has presented its final report regarding an alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria on April 7, 2018. Despite attempts by the Western media to hail it as “proof” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Douma – the report says nothing of the sort.
In fact, the report fails to link any of the alleged 43 deaths to apparent chlorine found at the scene of the alleged attack.
Claims of the attack were made by US-backed militants on the eve of their defeat – with the Syrian military retaking Douma the following day. Initial reports claimed sarin or chlorine chemical weapons were deployed through the use of two yellow gas canisters modified as bombs.
No sarin of any kind was found by OPCW inspectors.
While the report suggests two modified yellow gas canisters were used in the attack and that they appeared to have been dropped onto two buildings (locations 2 and 4), the report also mentions that OPCW inspectors found a nearly identical canister in a workshop used by militants to construct weapons.
The alleged “chemical weapons” attack prompted the United States, UK, and France to launch missiles strikes against Syrian military targets on April 14, 2018, long before the first OPCW inspectors even arrived at the sites of the alleged attack on April 21.
No Link Between Chlorine and Casualties
The OPCW report would note video and photographic evidence of alleged victims of chemical exposure could not be linked to any specific chemical including traces of chlorine OPCW inspectors found. The report would specifically claim (emphasis added):
Many of the signs and symptoms reported by the medical personnel, witnesses and casualties (as well as those seen in multiple videos provided by witnesses), their rapid onset, and the large number of those reportedly affected, indicate exposure to an inhalational irritant or toxic substance. However, based on the information reviewed and with the absence of biomedical samples from the dead bodies or any autopsy records, it is not currently possible to precisely link the cause of the signs and symptoms to a specific chemical.
In other instances, the OPCW report would cite witnesses – including medical staff who allegedly treated victims of the supposed attack – who expressed doubts of the presence of any chemicals at all.