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The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack, The Evidence So Far

April 5, 2017

By Bellingcat Investigation Team

Translations: Русский

On Tuesday April 4th 2017, videos and images emerged from sources within Syria showing what is claimed to be a chemical weapon attack that targeted Al Sheikhun south of Idlib.

Introduction

Initial reports of the attack appeared on social media on the morning of Tuesday April 4th 2017. It was claimed that airstrikes in Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib, had included the use of a chemical agent, which many sources began describing as Sarin. A typical summary of events from these sources is shown below

Translation – “On 4th April 2017, Khan Al Shekhoun was targeted with 4 rockets by two airstrikes from Sukhoi 22. The civil defense was at the impact site that was targeted with chemical gas. The civil defense were injured. More than 200 injured people were moved to medical clinics. we don’t know exactly the number of casualties but we believe it’s more than 50 or 60 casualties. The medical team took off cloths from injured people, wash their bodies with water and them getting them inside the medical points. The symptoms were,  respiratory distress described as a tightness, yellow foam material coming out from their mouth, and also later on blood came out of the mouth as well.”

1:18 – “Many cases of suffocation are coming to us as a result of gas attacks. Children and women were among the injured. We received more than 70 casualties and 20 casualties so far. We don’t know what kind of gas was used.”

Photographs and videos from various hospitals treating victims were published online, collected in this playlist along with other relevant videos. These videos showed victims displaying symptoms including pinpoint pupils unreactive to light, foaming at the mouth, and convulsions. While these are consistent with Sarin exposure those symptoms are not exclusive to Sarin exposure. However, based on previous Sarin attacks in Syria and similar symptoms displayed victims in those attacks, some drew the conclusion Sarin was used in the attack. In the below video, in English, Dr Shajul Islam from Binnish hospital, explains the situation in the hospital as it was treating victims of the attack.

During the aftermath of the attack it was also reported that one of the civil defense centers, used as a hospital, was damaged in an airstrike while it was treating victims of the earlier chemical attack. This airstrike, on a civil defense center and a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun that is partly underground, was caught on camera as it occurred:

In response to the attack both Syria and Russia rejected the attack was a chemical attack, and the Russian Ministry of Defence stated that a rebel controlled chemical weapons warehouse was struck in Khan Sheikhoun.

Initial Reports

The first reports of a chemical attack occurring in Khan Sheikhoun appeared online on the morning of April 4th. The following video, claiming to show the airstrike during which the chemical attack occurred, was posted online at 4:59am UTC, as per Amnesty International’s YouTube Data Viewer:

A tweet by Haq News Agency linking to the same video was published at 5:21am UTC, describing it as “The moment of targeting Khan Sheikhun with chemical rocket 04/04/2017 by Russian airforce”. It is possible the original title of the video was changed after the first reports of a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun appeared, so it’s important to establish when this video was first referred to as showing a chemical attack.

Edlib Media Center broadcast a live video at 6:22am UTC showing victims of the attack being treated. At 6:24am UTC Dr Shajul Islam, based in Binnish, 50km north of Khan Sheikhoun tweeted “OUR HOSPITAL GETTING FULL FROM THE SARIN ATTACK TODAY. ANYONE THAT WANTS EVIDENCE, I WILL VIDEO CALL YOU.”, and shortly afterwards, at 6:33am UTC a video showing 9 dead children described as victims of a chemical attack was published online (graphic).

Later statements about the timing of the attack are consistent with the above social media postings:

Translation – “We woke up at 7.00am (local time, 4am UTC) in the morning on the alarm voice of the observatories offices that was saying all ambulances should go to Khan Sheikhoun. I went to Khan Sheikhoun and I rescued children and men there. There are no military bases in the area that was attacked. The last injured case I transferred was a women that I rescued but she died on the way while I was transferring her to the medical clinics. This women had three children and their father didn’t know where they are. The regime is responsible for this massacre, he’s targeting Idlib liberated areas without military presence so he is deliberate targeting civilians. We have start protesting against this regime, we are not terrorists. Where is everyone, no one is helping us while we are being killed. The Syrian regime is the one created terrorism when attacking civilians and children in Khan Sheikhoun. Why everyone is silence on these crimes.”

Translation – “Latamneh was targeted on Monday evening at 11:00pm by helicopters. 22 were injured without casualties. Chlorine gas might be used in this attack.

In the same day Al Habeit was targeted which resulted of 17 injured without casualties. Chlorine gas might be used in this attack.

Today, 04 April 2017, at 6.30am (local time, 3:30am UTC)  Khan Sheikhon was targeted by an airforce. Sarin might be used in this attack. 50 casualties and more than 300 injured. Most the medical points in Idlib are full of injured. Some injuries are in a very dangerous situation because of the lack of medicines and equipment.

It seems that the Syrian regime has prepared for this chemical attack because yesterday Maret Al Numaan national hospital was targeted with three airstrikes at 7.00am in the evening. It is out of service now as a result of the attack. Maret Al Numan national hospital is the main hospital that  service the southern countryside of Idlib. It’s beneficiaries are around 30.000 people. Most medical services in this area are lacking right now because of the attack on this hospital.

We are treating people by washing them, giving them Etrobin and Oxygen and then referring them to other hospitals if available. Now all medical points in Idlib are totally full. Tomorrow the Turkish authorities told us that they will be able to receive patients to be treated in Turkish hospitals.”

The Impact Sites

Photos and videos published on social media and news agency website showed the impact site where the rocket hit. Below is one of the videos published by Hadi Al Abdallah YouTube channel that clearly shows a crater in the street, reportedly as a result of the attack.

Translation – “Casualties and injured here in Al Shamali district in Khan Sheikhoun as a result of the Syrian regime airstrikes with rockets that contain chemical gas. More than 70 casualties and 200 injuries as an initial assessment as a result of the airstrikes. We are now in the impact site that was targeted with chemical gas. We were not allowed to be here earlier as the gas smell was spread all over this area. The injured civilians were transferred to the medical points and hospitals for treatment. Some patients were transferred to Turkey and they are waiting on the boarders until it opens for them to go to the hospitals in Turkey. We witness the same massacre here as we have witnessed in few years ago in August 2013 in the countryside of Damascus. We understand from this attack that the Syrian regime didn’t give all it’s chemicals stock to the OPCW.”

01:47 – “Syrian airstrikes targeted Khan Sheikoun with four rockets, one of them contained chemical gas, it hit a residential area in the northern side of the city. Since the chemical rocket incident until now, the Syrian airforce won’t stop hovering over the city and shelling it.”

Photos of the impact site were published by Warsheh group on their facebook page.

Other photos showing the impact site from a different angle were published by news agencies such as Reuters.

It was possible to geolocate the crater below based on the video and the photo above.

The geolocation of the above crater, and the footage claiming to show the moment the chemical weapon attack occurred, shows that the crater site is not visible in that video, so that footage would not show the chemical attack if this is the only site where a chemical attack occurred:

Another impact site that was shown in a video published by the Syrian journalism Center Youtube channel was also geolocated (archive)

Translation –  2:20 – “Residential areas were attacked today. There are no presence to any military base in the areas that were targeted by airstrikes. The first rocket hit at 6.30am a location far a bit from here, the second rocket hit this location here.”

 

While images of the remains of a munition have been shared online it has not yet been possible to identify the munition used.

Hospitals

In the aftermath of the attack victims were taken to hospitals and clinics, some over 50km away from the attack site. In the videos published in the aftermath of the attack it was possible to identify at least 4 separate locations receiving and treating patients. These videos have been collected in separate playlists, and nominally described as Hospital A, Hospital B, Hospital C, and Hospital D. Most notable among these was Hospital B, based in Khan Sheikhoun, and bombed on the same day of the chemical attack, as it was treating victims. This location was being used both as a hospital and by local civil defense. The moment was caught on camera by activists in the area:

A journalist from AFP was also present when the attack occurred and damage to the area can be confirmed by comparing earlier photographs of the area taken that morning with footage filmed after the airstrike. In the below images, taken before and after the strike, the large building on the left hand side of the image has partly collapsed:

In the below images we can see the opposite side of the building, with green graffiti and a distinct doorway, before and after the bombing:

It’s worth noting that the hospital beds appear to be located in areas dug underground, while the structure damaged was being used for storage.

Denials

While the international community has condemned the attack, the Syrian and Russian governments both denied direct responsibility for the attack, claiming instead a warehouse storing chemical weapons produced by rebel groups was hit. Sputnik reported the following:

According to Konashenkov, on Tuesday “from 11.30 to 12.30, local time, [8.30 to 9.30 GMT] Syrian aircraft conducted an airstrike in the eastern outskirts of Khan Shaykhun on a large warehouse of ammunition of terrorists and the mass of military equipment”.

Konashenkov said that from this warehouse, chemical weapons’ ammunition was delivered to Iraq by militants.

Konashenkov added that there were workshops for manufacturing bombs, stuffed with poisonous substances, on the territory of this warehouse. He noted that these munitions with toxic substances were also used by militants in Syria’s Aleppo.

Aside from the geographical limitations of transporting chemical weapons across Syria through ISIS and government held territory it is also notable that the time of this supposed attack on a chemical weapons warehouse was hours after the first reports of the attack and images from the attack were published online. It’s also worthwhile to note the Russian Ministry of Defence has been caught lying repeatedly and faking evidence, so should be considered extremely unreliable, even when they present evidence to support their claims.

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187 Comments

  1. Mr.Bushkin

    Aren’t chemical weapons simply sprayed over an area for instance by an airplane?

    The explosion crater looks quite conventional to me.

    Reply
    • DDTea

      The very first chemical attacks in WW1 were carried out by opening gas cylinders in the wind. But it’s not the best dispersal mechanism. All sides quickly learned to load chemical agents into artillery shells.

      Since that time, chemical weapons have been loaded into and delivered by rockets, aircraft bombs, artillery shells, grenades, and landmines.

      The explosion crater was likely produced by the force of impact and the burster/dispersal charge.

      Reply
  2. Carter Paulmier

    The hypotheses so far:

    A) A pair of SU-22s targeted Khan Shaykun with 4 rockets, one of which contained binary sarin.
    -The explosions on video came from 3 conventional rockets.
    -The crater is angled because it was a rocket.

    Why was only one munition used?
    Who ordered the attack? One rocket suggests a low level command. Are we “loosely” blame Assad for protecting such officers?

    B) Airstrikes hit a rebel CW factory.
    -There is a large silo structure next to the strike area.
    -No one is to blame in this scenario.
    -Theoretically possible, I’m not sure there is any precedent though.

    Where are the proofs? The Russian MOD should release some images or evidence, otherwise they have managed to make the least believable claim.

    C)HTS launched a CW artillery shell or rocket into Khan Shaykun during the airstrikes to gain international sympathy, and possibly a US intervention.
    -The daily flights of Syrian aircraft were easily predictable by militants.
    -Supposed ahead-of-time social media posts by local rebels need to be debunked or confirmed.
    -People on the ground cannot always tell the difference between an air launched rocket and artillery. If American radars can see the specific shot from plane to ground, that information should be released.

    How often do SAA and SYAAF gas attacks happen, and why are they so infrequently documented?
    Is there any documented use of CW by Hezbollah or other IRGC seedlings?

    At this point it is one group’s word against another. A) accepts the premise that Assad is a tyrant, sadist and murderer, or encourages that in his subordinates. C) paints the rebels as desperate, devious, and equally cold blooded. B) does not directly accuse anyone of lying, but surely someone is lying.
    Who do you believe?

    Reply
    • stranger

      No need to believe. The committee from UN with the agreements with Syria and the rebels, ideally with Russians, Syrian and US representatives, should immediately fly to the bombing site as well as the bombed Syrian airfield and take soil probes and look for the bomb shells and the damage.
      There are strong doubts that Assad is behind the attack because that would greatly deteriorate his position just the next day America stated that removing Assad and the regime change is no longer their target.
      Americans pretty confidently refer to some secret evidences which they are unable to publish. May be they have own informers inside Syrian army they want to protect. In the past thought their intelligence was caught on the falsification of the evidences to start wars, Iraq and Vietnam are the most vivid example.
      So the only way to answer this question, is to form the international public open commission with the representatives from all the sides. They would be able to answer or find everything related within days.
      Politics doesn’t need the evidences though. Trump ha done an unpredictable spontaneous deed, all the sides are trying to build their politics around what happened. That is not like a developed strategy, but rather some unexpected action, everybody tries to further use as a leverage in their politics. Some immediately blame Assad without evidences, other point out that those evidences are absent as well as the motive.
      The real solution would be to quickly organize the research committee to investigate at the site. Unfitunaterly we have not heard about such initiative so far…

      Reply
      • Carter Paulmier

        Two ways to look at the attack are with and without politics. As you say it should be possible to solve the crime by categorical means, without worrying about grand designs or conspiracies. You even described how to do it. Unfortunately, in reality we have to deal with an extremely deep and changing political landscape that makes basic scientific inquiries difficult to carry out.

        Assad will not allow any more western investigations right now, the request is unreasonable politically. Erdogan may not release the full victims’ autopsies, and Trump will almost certainly not release any US military data. Putin will undoubtedly keep to Shoigu’s official version, so it’s a stalemate.

        There may not be any official institution that can bail us out on this investigation.

        Reply
      • Allard

        A United Nations investigation into the sarin attack was vetoed by Russia. Then Russia calls for an investigation? They are either insane, or think the world is very gullible. If Russia wants an investigation, don’t veto the UN plan to investigate! Simple.

        What Russia’s actions tell us is (a) they don’t really want an investigation because it would find fault with the dictator they are protecting and (b) they merely want to sound like they want an investigation by calling for one after vetoing it in the first place.

        Reply
        • Susanne

          As far as I know the Russians did not veto the investigation. They vetoed the text of the resolution which made Assad responsible and demanded an ivestgation against him. They insisted on a neutral text and investigation.

          Reply
        • stranger

          Yes, Susanne is right. Russia seems to be the only side who is asking for the independend investigation. All other sides have already turned this incident against Russia without demanding any proves. US, UK and unfitunaterly France attempted to pull through UN the one sided declaration which put the blame to Assad and demanded to investigate only at Assad’s side. The Russian veto was expected and was again turned against Russia. That is simply a dirty politics nothing more.

          Reply
          • frank

            I think Russia wants to uphold and abide by international law, whereas the US wants to erode the UN.

  3. Mad Dog

    Where is the warehouse? Finding that would debunk other theories, but seems it is in Never-Never Land, so that debunks the Russian version.

    Reply
    • frank

      Truth is that organophosphate pesticides could have been bombed. The symptoms are identical to Sarin except Sarin would be a lot stronger and probably many more would have died.

      Reply
      • DDTea

        Truth is that’s ridiculous. The most potent organophosphate pesticide, TEPP, is 10x less toxic than sarin. Parathion/E605 is 100-1000x less toxic. Neither is stored in bulk because neither is needed in huge quantities to cover an entire field. “It could have…” then provide some evidence for once!! First it’s a chemical warfare warehouse, then it wasn’t sarin at all, now you say it’s pesticides.. The first random mass pesticide incident of the war. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        Reply
        • Woody

          WHY o why,

          no matter what the toxic was – it was not delivered by munition to the point on the road.

          Reply
          • DDTea

            If we’re looking for 100 kg of Sarin right now, we’d be looking for 1000 kg of TEPP, and 10000 kg of parathion. That’s why the toxicity matters. You think you can just brush Sarin away and substitute it with another chemical agent–but it doesn’t work that way. You’re just going further and further down the rabbit hole, burying your head from the evidence so plainly visible at the surface.

          • Woody

            O praise the bomb, where have you gone?

            100+ kg sarin was needed in any scenario. So where has the fish gone? This would be A great set To Monty Python.

        • Susanne

          I coul fake the symtoms of a sarin gas attack easily with drugs. Neostigmin for instance in a proper overdose makes all the symtoms of sarin. You will never know what realy happened without an investigation. I think it’s too late now. But what we saw in the videos was never a proper evidence and looked staged and filmed over a long time with cuts in between. What I also miss are early pictures. You would expect pictures from the children when they were found in their beds and the grieving parents should be seen too.

          Reply
          • DDTea

            “I coul fake the symtoms of a sarin gas attack easily with drugs. Neostigmin for instance in a proper overdose makes all the symtoms of sarin.”

            You can fake the symptoms but not the metabolites. You can’t fake the air raid either.

            On one hand, your criticism of the video is that it looks theatrical and staged. On the other, you’re saying it’s not theatrical enough–no grieving parents. If it were staged, why wouldn’t the actors show the stereotypical nerve gas symptoms? Here’s a theatrical version of nerve gas poisoning:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8B3o-8n4PR0

            Here’s an actual video of someone being killed with VX (Kimg Jong-Nam):
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zjfm_XOxLOs

            See the difference? The second surprises you with how long he walks before dying.

            Here’s a video of a pigeon and goat being exposed to Sarin. Notice the timing from exposure to paralysis–when tremors stop. Not very long. Shorter than the time to pull casualties off the field and into the hospital.

          • Susanne

            I didn’t deny the bomb attack but i question if the bomb attack and the poisining of the people were at the same time. We have no further evidence that the Russian claim that the attack was 11.30 and not 6.30 is true or not. The video of the bomb attack was posted one day before the attack in You Tube. Mabe there is an valid explanation for that but it should be investigated. On the other hand as long as we have not the results from an unpartial commision about the contaminated clothes and the blood samples everything is speculation. And turkish statements are surely not an unpartial source. Same as with the rebel media.
            There is a big logical hole in this incident. This has nothing to do with supporting Assad or Russia. I never took a side in this war because this is a deep play from every side. But before the whole mess is blowing in our faces I would like to know the truth. And I don’t like it when the Jihadists are the poor victims now and we suddenly give Al Nusra more credit than every expert who asks for prove and caution.

  4. Bubslug

    Does anyone know where the Al-Rahman clinic, where much of the victim video was shot, is?

    Reply
  5. Mooman

    1. the speculation about whether Assad would have, or should have, carried this out is kind of pointless. On one side you’ll have people saying it was a stupid move that could only lead to more international pressure or even US intervention (as happened). On the other hand you could argue that Assad only knew as much about Trump as we did (ie reading his campaign statements and his Tweets), and he made it clear he didn’t want to interfere in Syria, so maybe he thought he could push his luck (plus the value of chemical warfare as a terror weapon above and beyond its destructive power).

    2. As per the theory that the rebels or some third party (ie CIA, Mossad, or other forces working for them) placed actual, prepared Sarin or some other nerve agent in the area and released it at the same time Khan Sheykhun was attacked by the Su-22s – we will simply never know unless it comes out. You can’t really prove or disprove this

    3. The argument on this site that the Sarin had to be in binary form and that the components wouldn’t be properly combined and released if they were hit by high explosives is the most provocative and important one, because if true, it would debunk the Syrian and Russian explanation of events, and de-facto prove that the aircraft were the ones that fired the missiles or dropped the bombs with nerve agent. This has to be confirmed.

    1. Could binary form Sarin be stored by the rebels for any period of time?

    2. Is it true that an explosion would not disperse binary Sarin solution (whether in a storage container, or in a delivery system like a missile or artillery shell?)

    further

    3. is it possible for the rebels to have acquired, or produced, non-binary Sarin, which presumably would be more easily spread in an explosion?
    3a) what kind of Sarin was used in the Tokyo attacks?

    its kind of incredible that for such a big story, its only this blog having a technical discussion about the actual mechanisms involved, and a few dozen people in the comment section, on the entire internet. Where are the rest of the chemical weapon experts or at least those with some experience?

    Finally, the issue of Chlorine smell/contamination being reported on the victims needs to be addressed, that doctors without borders reported that at least 2 agents were used. Which raises questions like a) Did the Syrians also use Chlorine? if so, how? doesn’t that have to be dropped from a barrel bomb, ie a helicopter, not a su-22? Does this add some credence to the theory that the rebels had at least one type of chemical weapon stored on location (the Chlorine) which could have been more easily released from bombing, since it doesn’t have the same “problems” as Sarin?

    Reply
    • Woody

      Binary sarin components have a boiling point even lower than non-binary, so there had been even more issues with the heat in the detonation.

      Like someone here addressed several times, the rebels have funds and sponsors. Even Israel would benefit from ISIS, as it could easily claim the Golan Heigts to itself after the total collapse of Syria. The geopolitical interests here are so grand that Khan Sheikhoun victims are just a token.

      Reply
      • frank

        I have come to the conclusion all the points are moot. The town is run by Al Nusra. Does anyone actually care what happens there?

        Reply
    • Woody

      Sorry – apart others, Methyl phosphonic dichloride boils at 163 C but has a flash point at 110 C so I suppose that closes the door for binaries.

      Reply
    • DDTea

      Q: “3. is it possible for the rebels to have acquired, or produced, non-binary Sarin, which presumably would be more easily spread in an explosion?
      A: If they acquired a few grams, maybe a kilogram, I could believe it. But not 100 kg. Short answer–No. Imagine preparing a meal for 1000 people, and ensuring the final recipe stays warm and does not spoil until it is served. This isn’t something that can be done in a domestic kitchen by unskilled dilettantes. There’s a reason that pharma companies demand highly skilled, qualified people in their process chemistry groups.

      Q: “3a) what kind of Sarin was used in the Tokyo attacks?”
      Aum Shrinrikyo made use of unitary, purified Sarin in the Matsumoto and Tokyo attacks. They were something of a special case, and there is a reason that no other non-state actors have been known to produce Sarin on that scale.

      Q: “2. Is it true that an explosion would not disperse binary Sarin solution (whether in a storage container, or in a delivery system like a missile or artillery shell?)”
      A: You tell me. In 2004, Iraqi rebels attached a bomb to a captured Sarin binary artillery shell. It caused mild chemical casualties.

      I’ll quote: “The cell is designed to work after being fired from an artillery piece,” he said, adding that dispersing the substance from a device such as the homemade bomb “is virtually ineffective as a chemical weapon.” http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4997808/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/t/bomb-said-holddeadly-sarin-gas-explodes-iraq/#.WO-x2_nyvIU

      In other words, it doesn’t work on small scale. Scaling it up won’t make it work better: it will just exaggerate all the problems with this dispersal mode. The warehouse claims defy credibility.

      Q: “Finally, the issue of Chlorine smell/contamination being reported on the victims needs to be addressed, that doctors without borders reported that at least 2 agents were used.”

      A: A simple explanation is that the patients were washed with bleach to decontaminate them to avoid poisoning the medics. This is standard protocol for treating chemical casualties.

      Reply
  6. Allard

    I believe Assad thought he was in the clear with recent comments from the U.S. about “accepting Assad’s rule and focusing on terrorism.” He wants Idlib, but it’s full of people that don’t want him–regular Syrians who simply hate being oppressed and slaughtered by a ruthless dictator. So what’s a dictator to do when he wants a city but not the people in it? Gas attack. Of course he did not surrender all of his sarin to the Russians; and even if he did, the Russians are his allies, bombing Syrian cities and hospitals on his behalf. It’s like asking one crook to hold the other’s gun. Recent U.S. comments just gave Assad enough rope to hang himself, and he did just that. Russian threats are not intimidating anyone at this point. They are just making the world furious with a bully who sanctions the poisoning of children. We didn’t want to go to war with the Nazis either; but they started invading neighbors and slaughtering their own citizens with poison gas. Don’t expect the world to just sit by and watch this; or cower in a corner. We hate bullies, and will not stand for them. Standing up to them is the only way to bring the cruelty to an end. We won’t poison children, but will use lethal force to defend them if necessary. If Putin and Assad don’t stop, they will push too far, and everyone will suffer. Most of all, them, and anyone who supports them. It’s time to allow the UN to do its job; allow it to set up free, impartial elections; let the Syrian people decide their own fate. Russia needs to stop blocking UN intervention with its veto.

    Reply
    • DDTea

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought Assad handed over his binary nerve agent stockpile to the US, which destroyed it on the MV Cape Ray. That doesn’t discount the possibility that he didn’t declare his entire stockpile or that he restarted a program.

      Reply
      • DDT

        If Assad did hold back some of his stockpile of Sarin or started a new program, that would be an illegal act of U.N. resolution.

        That’s speculations not proof.

        If Assad did violate the U.N. resolution, it must be proven and not let to media, politicians og others to decide.

        Reply
        • Woody

          In 1939 USSR staged the so called “Shelling of Mainila”.

          It seems like the rebels have studied their “Mainila” a bit too hastily.

          The USA is no white goat here – rather in the modern conflicts’ history US has played a vital role in the production of “alternative facts”.

          Among others, a short wikipedia quote of ICJ Nicaragua ruling:
          “The Court found in its verdict that the United States was “in breach of its obligations under customary international law not to use force against another State”, “not to intervene in its affairs”, “not to violate its sovereignty”, “not to interrupt peaceful maritime commerce”, and “in breach of its obligations under Article XIX of the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation between the Parties signed at Managua on 21 January 1956.”

          The Court had 16 final decisions upon which it voted. In Statement 9, the Court stated that while the U.S. encouraged human rights violations by the Contras by the manual entitled Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare, this did not make such acts attributable to the U.S.[4]”

          SO ALL these people telling us here that yep, its Igor and Volodja with their homeboy Bashar that breach international law…its time to wake up. Do note that the ruling said: “US encouraged human rights violations…” – do you people honestly think that after the missing alutubes by Cheney, Abu Ghraib…etc we just reckon that US is good because CNN says so? Russia is bad because FOX News also says so?
          That miserable crater is the marketing bogus I have seldomly seen. Its like having Steve Jobs saying here of the crater: “You are watching it wrong”.

          Just push the message…one more time…yep…that crater fits even a nuke…of course there was a warhead with 200 kg of sarin…of course…The US is committing the same breach of Int Law that it did in Nicaragua

          Reply
          • DDTea

            Say what you will about America, because I probably have equally severe criticism.

            But in spite of all that, at least America isn’t dropping nerve gas on civilians the way Assad is. And that’s what we’re discussing here.

          • Woody

            Well,
            The entire planet awaits that someone could prove Postol wrong – that is to say to prove your claim right. Imagine – to challenge and even beat an awarded MIT scholar – that would bring name and fame to someone.

            From your comments it looks like you support the US way of bringing stability to arab countries.
            Take a look at Turkey – Erdogan leans the roots of his presidency to the US support. Now he has grown to run things more on his own. Another country that has taken steps back with the kind help of Washington masterminds. Forget democracy, they now have a Caliph that will squash the civil society, reverse secularism and its gains. How sad is that for a nation that could have been a frontrunner for a democratic country among muslim distatorships?

          • Susanne

            Right, we discuss here if Assad threw sarin gas or not. Even the sarin gas attack in Ghoutha is still not solved. If the western military intervention is based on false flag attacks and media propaganda than the next question is how far will they go? Is Trump the stupid puppet they need to ignite an all out war in the middle east or do we destroy the the arab countries one by one with terrorist mercenaries?

          • DDTea

            Postol has been rebutted over and over again. He gets basic, publicly-available, common-knowledge facts wrong. Most recently, he claims that Sarin is persistent enough to poison people at the site over a day afterward by standing in the crater. This is so jarringly wrong it’s comical. It’s not as if he couldn’t dig up data on sarin’s (lack of) persistence.

            Postol is not God. Being a professor at MIT does not make his word irrefutable. No, “the whole world” isn’t waiting for him to be proven wrong. The whole world was laughing at his analysis whilee they read it. At least in regard to chemical weapons, Postol has shown time and again that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

          • Woody

            Time and time again? Sir, please provide the proof of his obvious incompetency as it must be available.
            You wrote: “…sarin’s (lack of) persistence”. I couldn’t agree with you more – which brings us back to the boiling issue we both argued upon days before Postol release, for example. I don’t know which phrase of Postol’s you refer to, but I guess we both agree that the (1) crater, (2) sarin’s boiling point, (3) explosion/burn marks around the crater, (4) lack of substance from the projectile and (5) varying explanations of airbomb/rockets,missiles do not fit to the picture. Well, guess they will bring the magician that pulls the rabbit from the hat.

        • DDTea

          Assad’s responsibility for the nerve gas attacks in Syria has been proven beyond REASONABLE doubt. His motives are irrelevant. At this point, it’s sufficient to bombard him if he’s stupid enough to continue to use chemical weapons. It’s for the good of the world.

          To not hold him accountable would undermine the 1997 chemical weapons convention that he acceded to. If a member state maintains an active stockpile and program, what is to stop other member states from building a deterrent capacity?

          Reply
          • M.T.

            What evidence have you seen that the rest of us have missed?It is far from proven and the people who don’t want an investigation are the same people who have been pushing for regime change since,at least 2006. https://goo.gl/WpQxpB

          • DDTea

            Russia was the one who vetoed the UN resolution that would have allowed an investigation. Assad has said he doesn’t want the OPCW in Syria because he’s had “bad experiences” with them.

          • stranger

            “Russia was the one who vetoed the UN resolution that would have allowed an investigation. ”
            That is NOT true. The resolution prepared by US and U.K. without the collaboration with other sides put thr blame to Assad and demanded the investigation at only Assad’s side, not at the site of the attack. All this show was intentionally prepared to blame Russia because the veto was expected.

    • stranger

      “Russian threats are not intimidating anyone at this point.”
      Are you sure it is Russia who is trying to intimidate everyone?? I looks completely the opposite. All the bullying and attempts to intimidate are directed against Russia now.
      But so vividly describing the allerged threat of Assad to the people of Syria. But you forget of the other side. Would ISIS and AlQueda (which you silently support) be better if they have replaced Assad?
      Your argument that Assad wants the city with no people is very weak, because this gas attack had absolutely no effect from the military prospective. The gas attack cannot be justified, but it had a very local impact, useless from the military prospective.
      The only effect was political and propagandistic. Was it a coincidence that it happened when Trump had a lunch with Xi Jinping and just several days before Tillerson was going to visit Moscow for the first time since Trumps election, and the failed attempt to negotiate new sanctions against Moscow before his visit?
      Of course Syrian people should decide, when the war is over.
      Too many questions, and too few answers. DDTea is trying to propose us a simple “consistent” predefined answer. Unfitunaterly been simple doesn’t mean to be true.
      And stop already blaming Russia for everything.

      Reply
      • DDTea

        “Would ISIS and AlQueda (which you silently support) be better if they have replaced Assad?”

        Probably, yes. Not even ISIS has committed atrocities comparable to Assad. It’s a false dichotomy anyway. This isn’t a two-way conflict between Assad and international Jihadists.

        Reply
        • Marc

          That’s a disgusting thing to say. You jihadists fanatics apologists make me sick. Isis is committing genocide and mass murdering and rape on the basis of superiority based on religion. There’s nothing worse than that. If you think that you have mental problems and are unfit to live in a civil society. Go live with your jihadists friends in Idlib those Nusra beasts will sure treat you very well.

          Reply
          • Tettodoro

            Its disgusting to reduce the choices in Syria to either Assad or ISIS (which is of course the regime’s tune). Both are brutal and murderous forces, but Assad has the benefit of an air force and therfore kills more. How would you like to be served up such a choice for you and your family?

          • Woody

            Well, why don’t you try to contribute something with sense that has to do with the headline?

    • M.T.

      Allard..you seem to have a very simplistic view of the situation, in which America+Anti government forces are the “good guys” bringing peace and democracy to Syria and Russia and Iran are the “bad guys”for thwarting Americas plans!Whereas in reality it is America(with Saudi and Qatar)that has funded the entire attempt to destabilize Syria.Maybe you are aware how well bringing “peace and democracy”has worked out for the people of Iraq,Afghanistan and Libya?
      Here is a more nuanced and informed view : https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/384914-uncivil-war-blumenthal-norton/
      Yes I know it’s RT, but be brave surely you can sort the facts from the propaganda!

      Reply
      • DDTea

        How about Tunisia, where the old stale tyrant left peacefully? No civil war, no massive violence. It’s a beacon of light for the region today.

        Syria could have been better than Tunisia. Today it’s worse than Libya or Iraq. This is Assad’s fault. Stupid bastard should have resigned. Instead he chose to destroy Syria.

        “Regime preservation” has proven itself far worse than regime change.

        Reply
        • M.T.

          Who would take over if Assad(the elected President, 88%)left?The “rebel” are not even a coalition-quite happy to kill each other and their families (Rashidin Bus bombing),They consist of foreign mercenaries paid by Saudi, Quatar, supported by US,UK and European money and weapons who hijacked a possibly manufactured protest to destabilize the entire country!

          Reply
          • Tettodoro

            The 88% figure is a fake – if you do your sums you’ll see that its 110% of the possible electorate. Not even Assad’s intelligence can suspend the laws of arithmetic – so clearly serious fiddling going on.
            How about a genuinely democratically elected government in place of Assad. Now there’s an original idea!

          • M.T.

            Candidate Party Votes %
            Bashar al-Assad Ba’ath Party 10,319,723 88.7%
            Hassan al-Nouri NIACS 500,279 4.3%
            Maher Hajjar Independent 372,301 3.2%
            Invalid/blank votes 442,108 3.8%
            Total 11,634,412 100%
            Registered votes/turnout 15,845,575 73.42
            Do you want to explain your “arithmatic”?
            And whilst you are at it explain, who would make up this “genuinely democratically elected government”?

      • Tettodoro

        Assad and his allies are doing most of the killing and most of the destruction of people’s homes (just compare West and East Aleppo). Not a great qualification to preside over peace and reconciliation. The longer Assad is in power the deeper Syria’s descent into hell.

        Reply
        • Woody

          After reading the ICJ 1986 Nicaragua ruling will find it easy to understand that the destruction would have been less that 1 % of what it is now if foreign powers of the Gulf, US, UK etc had not supplied the weapons for the uprising – it is still against Int Law no matter what you say here. If you think its not – well, then you just lost your case against Russia in Ukraine.

          As a citizen of a democratic EU republic, I see in my nightmares the collapse of Assad – You know – most of the majority of Syrian people now living rather under Assad than ISIS…Nusras etc would flood to EU – what a mess…and who are we to thank about it?
          If that happens Merkel will only regret that she didn’t lick Putin a… really big time as for today Putin is the one that guarantees the stability of refugee issue for Europe.

          Reply
        • M.T.

          Err, Eastern Aleppo was a terrorist stronghold from which they attacked Western Aleppo,a government held territory.If you want a meaningful comparison, compare Eastern Aleppo with Mosul, Iraq where US backed Iraqi special forces are doing a comparable task to that undertaken by the Syrian Government in Eastern Aleppo with equal or worse levels of damage!

          Reply
          • stranger

            … and nobody is saying a word about Mosul on the mass media. There are no humanitarian corridors, no humanitarian aid in Mosul, compared to Aleppo. And still Aleppo topic is spin off against Russia and Mosul is in silence…

  7. DDT

    We are treating people by washing them, giving them Etrobin and Oxygen and then referring them to other hospitals if available.

    What is ‘Etrobin’?

    Reply

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