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The Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack — Who Bombed What and When?

April 10, 2017

By Christiaan Triebert

Translations: Русский

Last week, we published a survey of open source evidence concerning the alleged chemical attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria’s Idlib province. This article builds upon the information presented in that article by comparing the claims made by a variety of actors and sources, including the Pentagon, the Syrian Foreign Ministry, and aircraft spotters on the ground. All times mentioned in this article are in the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) with Syrian local time (+3 UTC) also included for context. Readers are welcome to suggest information we may have missed in the article, though we only focus on the who, what, and when of the incident, and not on the alleged chemical used in the attack.

The Timing of the Attack

Syrian government

The first air raid conducted by the Syrian army was at 8:30 am (11:30 am local time) on April 4, 2017, according to Walid Muallem, Syria’s Foreign Minister. He made the statement during a press conference in Damascus two days after the attack. The army, he said, “attacked an arms depot belonging to al-Nusra Front chemical weapons.”.

Eyewitness accounts

Locals claim the attack took place around 3:30 am (6:30 am local time) in all available statements. Translations of such accounts can be found in our previously published article on the attack. The earliest reference we have discovered to it being a chemical attack is a tweet at 5:21 am (8:21 am local time), referring to a video published at 4:59 am (7:59 local time).

The Aircraft

There are three sources saying that a Sukhoi 22 (Su-22), a Soviet variable-sweep wing fighter-bomber, conducted the attack: witnesses on the ground, an organisation of aircraft spotters, and the Pentagon.

Aircraft spotters

At 3:26 am (6:26 am local time), ground observers working with an organisation of spotters reported that a Su-22 called Quds 1 — the Su-22 fleet’s squadron commander — took off from its airbase in Homs. The spotters say it is significant if the commander conducts the sortie, as they associate the pilot and his aircraft with other alleged chemical attacks in Syria. Not much later, they report that another aircraft, Quds 6, has also taken off from the base.

The spotter organisation, Syria Sentry, is an outlet employing a well-developed network of spotters taking note of take-offs and initials flight directions of aircraft departing from military air fields primarily located in northwestern and central Syria. Their goal is to issue timely warnings to civilians in opposition-controlled territories. The organisation says they have strong evidence that Russian-operated fixed wing aircraft conducted follow-up attacks in the same area around seven hours later.

The Pentagon

On April 7, as the US conducted a cruise missile strike against the Shayrat Syrian Arab Air Force airfield. It also released an image allegedly showing the flight path of radar blips of the aircraft that carried out the alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. The time given in Khan Sheikhoun is 337 Zulu Time to 346 Zulu Time, which converts to UTC directly, thus fitting with the eyewitness and Syria Sentry claims: between 3:37 and 3:46 am (6:37 am and 6:46 am local time respectively), the aircraft was above the town.

The Pentagon map can be used an overlay in Google Earth to gain a better understanding where the radar blips are located with regards to Khan Sheikhoun. However, it is important to mention that it is difficult to connect two-dimensional dots to a three dimensional flight path. Besides, the data appears to be incomplete making a proper analysis of the map probably not accurate. 

Eyewitness accounts

In available videos, alleged eyewitnesses claimed that a Su-22 fired four missiles. The first tweets referring to a Su-22 were tweeted at 6:21 am (9:21 am local time) by @ShamiRebel. He links to a screenshot of the Facebook page “The Lens of Khan Sheikhoun and its Countryside”. That Facebook post was published at exactly 6:00 am (9:00 am local time).

Later that day, opposition media outlet Orient News claimed in an article that “a number of field, independent and even Syrian Civil Defense observatories in the countryside of Idlib and Hama” stated that “colonel pilot, Muhammad Yousef Hasouri […] the commander of the Sukhoi 22 Squadron at al-Sha’yrat airport” is responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun attack.

Orient News further writes that Col. Hasouri’s Su-22 carries the Quds 1 banner, and says he hails from Talkalakh town, but currently resides with his family in the “Al-Sakan Al-Shababy” neighbourhood in Homs city.

Two days after the attack, a rumour started spreading that Col. Hasouri was killed “by a bomb blast under his car”, as Asaad Hanna, political officer at the Free Syrian Army (FSA), tweeted. None of these claims can be confirmed, but Hasouri’s name has been associated with Shayrat airfield by both pro- and anti-Assad supporters on Twitter since 2013.

Gen. Ali  Ayoub, Syria’s Army Chief of Staff, visited the Shayrat air base days after the  attack, thereby honouring Hasouri as seen in a video report of the visit. On Facebook, Hasouri is referred to as “the hero who struck the depot” dozens of times. A screenshot of the video linked above is included. Some refer to Hasouri as a Brigadier General, and two members of the Syrian parliament appear to be among those praising Hasouri.

Firstly, there is Fares Shihabi who tweeted that Hasouri was honoured “for destroying Qaeda’s weapons facilities in Khan Sheikhoun, Edlib”. The tweet was linked via his Facebook profile, but has since been deleted. As it was not archived via archive.is or web.archive.org, it is difficult to confirm authenticity of the tweet.


Secondly, Syrian member of parliament Shareef Shehadeh also posted the same still from the video, in which Hasouri is being honoured by Gen. Atoub. It is not clear whether Mr. Shehadeh’s Facebook profile is authentic.

The Times ran a story on Hasouri today.

The Target: A Chemical Weapons Factory?

The Syrian and Russian governments

Neither Syria nor Russia denies that government forces bombed Khan Sheikhoun on April 4. Instead, the debate is over what kind of weapon they used and what the target was.

Russia and Syria insist no chemical weapons were used in the attack. Instead, some of their officials claim that a chemical weapon factory belonging to Tahrir al-Sham was hit, which caused the chemicals – the type of which have still not been publicly identified – to spread. Syria’s Foreign Minister Muallem claimed during a press conference in Damascus:

“The first air raid  conducted by the Syrian army was at 11:30 am [8:30 am UTC] on that day [Tuesday April 4, 2017] and it attacked an arms depot belonging to Al-Nusra Front [Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, now operating under the banner of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham] chemical weapons. (…) I stress to you once again: the Syrian army has not, did not, and will not use this kind of weapons – not just against our own people, but even against the terrorists that are targeting our civilians indiscriminately.”

Sources on the ground

With regards to the target area, it is worth noting that a group of silos and a large warehouse are dozens of meters away from where locals said the chemical attack took place.

Post-attack drone footage from Hadi Al-Abdallah gives a good overview of that area. It is worth noting that the damage shown at the silos, the warehouse and other buildings in the area already existed before the April 4 attack, as shown by TerraServer imagery from February 2017.

Discrepancy with regards to time

Between the different accounts of what happened, there is a clear discrepancy with regards to time.

Eyewitness accounts claim the attack took place around 3:30 am (6:30 am local time), with the first reference to it being a chemical attack at 5:21 am (8:21 am local time). This time period is in line with the data of Syria Sentry and the Pentagon.

However, Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem claims the first airstrike – on an “ammunition depot” – was carried out at 8:30 am (11:30 am local time). This is in line with an earlier Russian Defence Ministry statement claiming the attack occurred “from 11.30 to 12.30 local time”, but neither Syria nor Russia have presented any evidence to support their claims, nor is their any available open source evidence to support their claims. 

All available evidence, including witness accounts from the scene and airfields, strongly suggests the chemical attack occurred hours before the attack claimed by Russia and Syria. It is difficult to reconcile the Russian and Syrian claims with the open source evidence available, including a three-hour time gap between the narratives, the previous damage to the silos and warehouse near the attacked site, and the available images showing location of the airstrike.

 


Thanks to @THE_47th for noting the link to the social media posts related to Mr. Hasouri, to @obretix with regards to the challenges regarding the Pentagon flight path, and Bellingcat’s Timmi Allen for the Google Earth overlay of that same flight path.

Christiaan Triebert

Christiaan Triebert is an all-source conflict analyst with an interest in conflict and development. He has conducted fieldwork in Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine, among other countries. King's College London and University of Groningen graduate. Contact via Twitter: @trbrtc

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176 Comments

  1. JustTom

    Never heard of an air fired CW rocket before. Strange they would make it ground dispersing. Smells fishy. I have no reason to believe that hole is the source of anything, so looking at an empty warehouse by it proves nothing. We have empty warehouses near potholes in my town too. Citing that Guardian article is not evidence. I read it. It’s problematic.
    As usual, BM ignores the evidence that doesn’t fit his narrative, and exaggerates the evidence that does. I’d go on, gather all my sources and make a better argument, but I played this game with him in 2013, and I know he has an agenda. And it’s not my job to disprove an attach. It’s his job to prove it.

    Reply
    • Reid Kirby

      The loadout of an SU-22 can include a pair of B13L five-tubed rocket pods. The deliver the 122mm S13 rocket, patterned after the same rockets fired from the BM21.

      Reply
    • Th Fontenay

      “The smells reported”. Yes, certainly, a smell was “reported”… as well as pinpoints symptoms. But how can anybody trust anybody in this affair. Even local reporting seems not highly reliable (first responders, doctors, white helmets…). The point for rebels/freedom fighters (whatever their name or role is) is to accuse Syrian gov and russians to gas people, and thus trying to involve occidental support (in the videos, dr Islam, repeat, ad nauseam, that nobody pays attention to their situation and to syrian victims and people, thus shaming us…) and to drag us in. It seems strange to me, as it was said by many, that doctors in some videos are heavily claiming that sarin gas was used (broadly displaying some symptoms, but not all, proving they have some knowledge of that specific toxic agent) but manipulate the victims with their bare hands ! The only real undisputable fact is that there are real victims. And that it seems apparent that they were gased. By whom and how, it is still not clear to me. How many rockets were fired, how many chemical weapons, how many impacts and where ? The real timing is unclear. Some videos are questionable. Some looks more like propaganda. Let us think. What were the plus for Assad to do such an attack (putting aside he could be mad) ? I do not see any good reason (being mad is not a good one. And I am pretty sure he is not. Amoral, certainly, but not mad.). He urgently needs a normalization of syrian foreign relations. Why, on earth, would he have done such a mess. But, on the other hand… he already did such things some years ago, so… As for the russians, it is no more clear. The only reason could be to test Trump’s determination just to know. Trump’s sometimes erratic and unpredictable behavior is highly intriguing for many state leaders (esp. russians and chinese). How could the White House possibly react to some heavy stress, is a solid good question for some… I do not see any other reasons, for russians, than a “test and learn” approach. Benefits are more tangible for rebels/freedom fighters, to move international opinion and drag them on their side. But I didn’t see how they could have manage such a tricky business… As for the real origin of the gas, many things points toward syrian gov and russians. But we shall take into account that rebels, as well as AQMI, seized in the past, some syrian army weapons. Possibly chemical ones. So, everyone is a potential liar and, unfortunately for them, syrian people didn’t weigh very much in the balance. We need some independent inquiry. UN ?

      Reply
      • DDTea

        “It seems strange to me, as it was said by many, that doctors in some videos are heavily claiming that sarin gas was used (broadly displaying some symptoms, but not all, proving they have some knowledge of that specific toxic agent) but manipulate the victims with their bare hands ! ”

        You can handle sarin victims with bare hands after they’ve been washed down with sufficient water or bleach. We see footage of the white helmets washing victims with firehoses. The amount of liquid agent on the skin of a live patient is unlikely to be that much anyway. The bigger danger is residual agent in their hair or clothes.

        You won’t see every single symptom in every patient for indefinite periods of time. So if you’re making a checklist, this video is not sufficient time to do so reasonably. Appearance of symptoms depends on whether the patient was exposed to liquid or vapors. If vapors, nausea and vomiting may take hours to be seen. Pinpoint pupils may be the first symptom or they may be a late symptom. Convulsions do not last indefinitely: they dissipate after a few minutes, once the muscles are exhausted. Then flaccid paralysis is seen (which we do see in these patients).

        ” What were the plus for Assad to do such an attack (putting aside he could be mad) ?”

        This question is asked over and over again, but no one who asks it really wants an answer. There are numerous tactical advantages to using chemical weapons, even above using thermobaric or cluster munitions. Also: it’s confusing and disorienting. Maybe the purpose was to kill civil defense teams, who’d swarm to the site of an explosion? Discussion of this is irrelevant: nobody has a psychic connection to Assad’s brain, so we’ll never know.

        Reply
        • Bubslug

          Discussion of this is not irrelevant. The rebels had a powerful motive for gassing civilians 30 km from the front lines, the regime did not, and in fact had a powerful motive for not using chemical weapons as they were making both diplomatic and military gains prior to that.

          Notice how this discussion is typically framed. Assad must prove he is innocent, but no one seems to think that proof of innocence applies to the salafist militants, despite the strong motive they had for doing this.

          The US government stated the Syrian forces were in retreat north of Hama, and that’s the “motive” they had for launching a gas attack 30 km north of the front lines. Never mind how illogical this is, since if that was true, it would make more sense to gas the nearby military threat, it’s not true the regime forces were in retreat.

          A major rebel offensive commenced north of Hama the evening of March 21, and by the 23th of March had advanced to within kilometers of Hama. However, with reinforcements from the Aleppo and Palmyra battlefronts, the SAA counterattacked on March 23 and by March 31 had retaken all the lost territory except for the town of Soren or Suran (not sure which is the correct spelling).

          So the government rationale for why the Syrian forces did the gas attack is nonsense, never mind the overall picture which indicates the rebels have been in retreat pretty much everywhere after they lost the major battle of East Aleppo.

          Reply
          • DDTea

            If we are to go on wild goose chases of speculation…how about this:

            Khan Sheikhoun lies on the M5 highway connecting Hama to Aleppo. The other route connecting Aleppo to the main bastion of “useful Syria,” the Raqqa-Homs highway, is regularly cut by both ISIS and the Idlib rebels. It’s not the most secure route. Control of highways has driven much of this war, and the government has an interest in capturing the highways intact. So, poison gas rather than massive cluster bombing or vacuum bombing, which would require either demining operations or rubble clearing.

            Maybe the gas attack was designed to draw out, and poison, Syrian Civil Defence/medics? The regime has turned the targeting of hospitals and civil infrastructure (water supplies–we all know the attack on Ayn Al-Fijah was a false flag by the government to initiate an offensive) into a key strategy. Dropping conventional bombs mixed with poison gas is a fantastic way to lure medics into a death trap. And guess what? It worked. A bunch of medics were poisoned.

            Or maybe the gas attack was for the sheer terror. Assad is not mad, but he is a Machiavellian leader who believes it is better to be feared than to be loved. Sarin is frightening, disorienting, and cruel.

            Perhaps the gas attack was to hinder rebel reinforcements to the frontlines in South Idlib/North Hama? Again, the M5 is an important supply route–and contaminating the region with poison gas is a great way to cover the flanks of the advancing Syrian army.

            You speak as if bombs are not routinely dropped on cities removed from the frontlines. Yet today, bombs were dropped on Jisr Ash-Shaghour and Jabal Zawiya, even farther from the frontlines than Khan Sheikhoun.

            No, the rebels were not really “in retreat” after the fall of Aleppo. They’ve made significant advances in Daraa and the Qalamoun desert. They launched simultaneous offensives in Qaboun, South Idlib, and West Idlib/Latakia. This, while the Syrian Army’s esteemed Tiger Forces were trying to block the advance of Euphrates Shield forces into Tadef and areas south of Al-Bab. In other words: they were stretched thin. They were conscripting all males between 18-55 in Tartous, and they raised a brigade of women in Latakia. They have enough forces for one frontline at a time–but not for so many simultaneous offensives. They had every motive to use special weapons to cover their flanks.

            Moreover, maybe they’re starting to realize that if they are victorious, they will have to rebuild Syria. So killing their enemies without destroying their cities might be increasingly attractive to them.

            It took me 5 minutes to come up with these explanations. You will rebuff them in 10 seconds because you don’t want to even consider Assad’s motives for using Sarin. So a discussion of motives is essentially pointless and subjective. Better to focus on available, public domain evidence.

          • Woody

            You are right,

            “Better to focus on available, public domain evidence.”

            What are the available, undisputed facts and evidence in this case in your perception?
            – The Crater?
            – The residue of the shell, ammo what ever
            – The collected, yet to to be analyzed material samples of chemicals
            – The eyewitnesses for the flights of airplanes and claims for seeing missiles hit the area.

            We have seen a lot of speculation around composition of Sarin and motives. Like someone said here, many of us expect that the fragment of the tube etc that Postal commented, will dissapear before it ends in the hands of OPCW crews.
            After that we can all say “I was right” – for none will believe the other partys statement. How convenient.

          • stranger

            “So a discussion of motives is essentially pointless and subjective. Better to focus on available, public domain evidence.”
            We can tell thouthands more words, discuss the construction of the regular bomb and chemistry as Dan is doing, speculations on the motives, videos of the White Helmets etc. But all this discussion is pointless, because the fact is we have no publically available evidences which can answer the question who is behind the gas attack. Moreover IF the attack was staged to frame Assad, the first glance evidences intentionally injected into public domain would exactly point to him. We need more independend evidences from the site of the attack. Lavrov has already said the investigation faces resistance in OPCW and UN – particularly because the experts are afraid to go to the attack site due to lack of safety. If those experts would not go further than Turkish hospitals and Assad’s airfield all their conclusions would be useless as well. The only way to get any clue is to push the independend investigation, because again we just don’t have significant evidences up to now, regardless of how much we are discussing it.

        • The Harlequin

          Q: ” What were the plus for Assad to do such an attack (putting aside he could be mad) ?”

          A: “This question is asked over and over again, but no one who asks it really wants an answer…Discussion of this is irrelevant: nobody has a psychic connection to Assad’s brain, so we’ll never know.”

          WTF?!! At least we know by that statement what YOUR motives are by engaging in such amateurish sophistry! What a dangerous, dirty and downright despicable pup you are!

          Reply
    • Paul

      LOL, the comments in that link SKEWER the blog post, starting with the most-assertive evidence, alleged maps of area of control which are months out of date — in a fluid, hotly-contested, confusing, area of urban warfare.

      Reply
      • frank

        Incorrect. The conclusion of the analysis was that it could not have been anyone but the rebels. You should read it all carefully, before jumping to hasty responses

        Reply
        • DDTea

          Thanks for reminding me about that site. It seems i left some useful comments there that further jog my mind about old references I’d read…

          Reply
          • Woody

            I must have missed your main denial and arguements against Postol’s report.
            For the entertainment, would you be so kind as to refer to them again?

          • DDTea

            His 2013/2014 report on the range of the 330mm rockets? I never said anything about them because I have no idea how to verify those calculations. On that, I’ll take his word that they couldn’t have been fired from the air force base. You will also note that Dan Kaszeta and Elliot Higgins also agree with his range calculations: the hallmark of people willing to consider evidence, even if it forces them to revise their own positions.

  2. Bubslug

    Has anybody discussed the Postol thesis yet? If he’s correct it’s truly ingenious how the rebels perpetrated this false flag. I would add to Postols report, that his hypothesis explains the dimpled/speckly surface on the back of the rocket fragment and the smooth crumpled surface of the front. I puzzled over this, but Postol’s hypothesis explains it.

    Reply
    • Reid Kirby

      Postol conjectured that the 122mm tube in the road crater is an improvised container of Sarin “crushed” by overlaying another tube of explosive. It is his assumption that a 122mm rocket would not leave this sort of remnant. The chemical warhead is obliterated (fragmented) from the burster. It is the rocket motor body that is often seen as a tube in the impact area (See https://49yzp92imhtx8radn224z7y1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/grad-rocket.png).

      Furthermore, there are 122mm rockets delivered by aircraft like the SU-22, and these are near identical to those from BM21s (the S13 from the five-tubed B13L rocket pod).

      Reply
      • Bubslug

        There are a few details which favour the improvised sarin device made from a rocket tube laying on the ground:

        1) the stippling, which could not be avoided for the underside of stationary tube laying on the ground, crushed from above, but would not happen with a rocket still in motion, since any abrasive surface it touch would leave a streak, not a stipple.

        2) no evidence of the actual nozzle of the rocket, as in the photo you linked. We do have one end cap however. If you found a second that would confirm the improvised sarin device theory.

        I would also add that there are other details that favour the “ISD” theory, namely the longitudal split in conjunction with crushing. I’m not saying that couldn’t happen for an airborne launched missile, but under the “ISD” theory that is exactly what it would look like.

        Reply
      • Bubslug

        Here’s the what’s going to be the problem that undoes the false flag. UN inspectors are going to want to look at that rocket fragment, and when they see the stippling on the backside, they’re going to know the tube was stationary when it was crushed. Yet there’s no way to get rid of it by sanding down the tube since the alteration will be obvious.

        Make no mistake, if someone looks at that stippling under the microscope and sees minute grains of grit driven into the metal and they’re going to know the tube was not moving when it was crushed.

        The rebels have a very large problem developing because of one very smart MIT scientist. But because they’ve claimed right from the start this crater was the gas release point, and videoed and photographed it extensively, inspectors are going to want to examine it. The best thing for them right now is to get rid of the tube by claiming it was destroyed in a Syrian air strike, or maybe hit it with another blast and produce it, claiming the stippling was from the second blast where it was stored, or maybe just claim Russian commandos stole it to cover for the Assad regime.

        I’m sure they’re thinking very very hard right now, because if that tube is a faked air attack then…….how many other things have they faked.

        Reply
  3. Zaida

    It’s amazing how sone people buy KGB Putin’s propaganda. Lenin called that people useful idiots.
    Russiabs are pathological liars.

    Reply
    • Woody

      In some countries people eat the message like chicken eat fodder. Just return to the comfort of your Washington Matrix.

      Reply
    • stranger

      Some “woody” people from so far away from the civilization have never heard about good manners. That is not about a specific country. There are woody people in every country. Unfoturnatelly, just statistically, the percentage of stupid and/or rude people is a constant.
      But I must admit I pay too much attention to the trolls-provocateurs like presumably Zaida is. Because don’t think she is SO stupid to think that honestly.
      Smile, take it easier, woody. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Bubslug

    One detail that has been pointed out elsewhere is the fact that there has been additional damage to the warehouse since the February satellite photo. If you look closely at the drone photo the roof of the warehouse is caved in on the north side of the square hole in the central roof area, and there are 2 bomb craters in the field and along the north fence of the silos.

    I’m not sure that detail is relevant to this event but something has hit the warehouse since February (and missed a few times).

    Reply
  5. Paul

    As for Russia/Syria: WHY make a falsifiable statement if they KNOW they didn’t commit an attack?

    Presuming a successful false-flag, Syria, nor Russia, did the attack.
    This doesn’t explain the need to make false claims, other than out of sheer panic.

    That alone undercuts the false flag narrative. Mistakes could always have been made but this doesn’t help the Kremlin narrative one bit.

    Reply
    • André

      Agree. The guilty in a state of panic are much more likely to deliberately make statements that can quickly & easily be verified as false.
      As well, only 3 parties could have ready access to nerve gases, for which they have the equipment to handle safely, and the means of delivery.
      1) Syria, although they were supposed to have declared all their stocks & means of production. They also have proven capacity to deliver such chemicals safely
      2) Russia may have such chemicals, certainly could have access to Syrian stocks, and would have capacity to safely deliver such chemicals.
      3) US might have such chemicals, & could have capacity to deliver them safely, but certainly not in proximity.
      4) No other anti-Assad force is known to have such chemicals, & certainly do not have capacity to safely deliver them

      Motivation :
      1) Assad regime, since 1970, has systematically used terror to maintain itself in power. Since 2011, this has greatly accelerated. So strong motivation. The regime has nothing more terrifying than chemical weapons.
      2) Russia has considerable power to do harm with its’ advanced aviation. Should they be shown to use such weapons, it would seriously harm their intl reputation. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t complicit in Assad regime usage.
      3) US has no motivation to use such chemicals, if they even have them.
      4) Motivation of other parties is highly unlikely, except maybe ISIS (who aren’t in proximity). Also a moot point if one doesn’t have the means.

      Hopefully at least a few doubters of Assad regime culpability will listen to reason

      Reply
      • stranger

        Anti-Assad forces have prominent sponsors in Sunni Arab world and Turkey. Hypothetically Saudi, Qatar or some forces in Turkey could have delevered the gas. There could be Syrian CW warehouses or factories left at rebels territories they potentially could use. There were reports ISIS is using CW in Iraq. There was a scandal on allerged smuggling of sarin gas components from turkey. Another option to your list. It’s interesting you included Russian CW, but didn’t consider rebels sponsors from the Sunni world.

        Reply
        • DDTea

          ISIS has used chlorine and mustard. They have *never* used Sarin or any other nerve agent. The capacity to use CW may not equal the capacity to use another.

          “Hypothetically Saudi, Qatar or some forces in Turkey could have delevered the gas.”

          None of these countries have CW programs and all are subject to OPCW inspections as part of the chemical weapons convention. Syria, which recently joined the CWC, had one of the most advanced CW programs in the world. And now, the OPCW is accusing them of failing to declare 700 tons of their stockpile. It requires fewer assumptions to say the regime gassed Khan Shaykhun.

          “There could be Syrian CW warehouses or factories left at rebels territories they potentially could use. ”

          Except the Syrian government has strongly denied that any of their chemical weapons were captured. Are they lying?

          Reply
        • DDTea

          I’m going to try my hand at being a troll.

          How do we know those children actually died from a bomb?

          People make fake videos all the time. Are you sure this is real?

          I heard one witness say a white van exploded, another that a blue truck did. Why do they keep changing the story?

          Why was the suicide truck coming from government territory?

          No rebel group has claimed responsibility. They always take credit even for modest TOW or artillery attacks. Why not this time??

          For the record, the bombing of refugees was horrific. I don’t think it was any kind of “false flag.” And I’m pretty sure a renegade among the rebels was responsible–one that’s willing to blow up his Sunni mujahedeen comrades alongside refugees. My point is that for *any* story, we can pretend to be critical thinkers who are “asking tough questions.” But unless we work to find evidence to answer our questions, and give every piece of evidence fair consideration, then we’re doing everyone a disservice.

          Reply
          • Woody

            SURE,
            we will give every piece of evidence fair consideration – THAT starts with the crater in Khan S and how the projectile – that being missile, rocket, bomb, arrow – varies, but no explanation has been given that meet Postol – consideration. AND yet, no rebel group has claimed responsibility – nor the SAA.

            Yet here the fair consideration is nonexistent – besides that “Assad is quilty no matter what”. As the remainder of the projectile suddenly “dissappears”, that will turn to be “action by Assad”…Wow

      • Scott

        It is reported that ISIS launched a chemical attack against IRAQI forces in MOSUL so if this is accurate then your 4th point about motivation and means is false.
        The US supplied Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons used on Kurds, this is fact and also demonstrates that although the US may not drop the chemical weapons with US planes , our CIA has been more than willing to provide third party actors with the means and the motive to use those weapons.

        As to ASSAD. It is my understanding that prior to this so called “civil war” Syria was one of the few Arab countries where Muslims, Christians, Jews etc were living in relative harmony. Syria was considered a very secular Arab nation as opposed to our allies like Saudi Arabia. If neo cons in Washington DC are intent on toppling 7 different middle eastern regimes according to former General Wesley Clark who outlines this plan then of course there is motivation to stage a false flag against Assad to get the American people and the UN to give approval for a full ground invasion of Syria.

        No one is claiming Assad is some benevolent ruler but the reality is that if a “Civil War” is to be fought it should be between Syrians and no one else. The CIA has no interest in Syria other than to prime the pump for conflict with Iran and Russia. The problem is that by funding ISIS in Iraq to maintain Saudi hegemony the United States has no moral authority to call for regime change anywhere on the globe. This all goes back to Benghazi and the weapons transfers going to “moderate” jihadis in Syria. Assad had no plans to attack his neighbors , Assad is not wrapped up in the Sunni/Shiite quagmire, He is a secular, western educated , ruler who is a threat to the neo con agenda plain and simple.

        To say that there is no doubt Assad ordered these attacks is a statement made in a vacuum. Whether it’s tactical or strategic, there is no advantage to giving the US and the UN the moral authority to sell the idea of spending another 3 trillion dollars on a useless Middle East invasion.

        Reply
        • frank

          @Scott – I would say the agenda is that Sunni (Saudi) states uphold OPEC USD settlement mandates. Without OPEC energy traded in USD, the USD would lose its basic underpinning. A shift to EUR would also represent a transfer of power, as the Fed right to synthesise domestic debt and distribute it at will at the expense of peripheral countries is something only the central bank of the world’s reserve currency can do. Destabilising the Middle East to cause a European migrant crisis, to foment events like Brexit, to undermine the EUR, while propping up brutal Sunni regimes committed to the USD, serves the “American” interest entirely. In fact, without this policy, we can safely say the USD, USD hegemony, and the privileges afforded, would pretty much collapse overnight.

          Reply
    • Thijs

      The remark was made very very soon after the attack. At least it shows it wasn’t a prepared and consistent statement. And the speed of making the claim can also be interpreted as a sign of good will to immediately release first-glance/first-hand observations even at risk of releasing unchecked details.

      Reply
  6. Mad Dog

    Nope, both the Russians and the SAA said they hit a warehouse. Easy piece of evidence to produce, but nothing yet. What? Russia has no drones or recon aircraft in the area? The blamed the explosion of the warehouse, it is up to them to provide they reason why. As for the statement about the flow of lies and dirt about your country, perhaps if they would stop being caught up in all these lies BC has shown them to be involved with, maybe the flow will slow, but time and again we see how that just never happens, Why? Cause they can’t disprove a lot of the stuff that appears here with their funny accusations of staged events, rampant Jihadis, oh so innocent Syrian forces blatant proffering of blatant (sic) iformation, etc. The more I see of your posts, the more I realize you are just here to divert and discredit these folks, but as i noted above you can’t even provide teh location of that most important ‘warehouse’.

    Reply
    • Zaida

      For any rational person there is no doubt the despot Assad used, again, chemical weapons against the Syrian population. Discussion closed.

      Reply
  7. Th Fontenay

    French government claims, today, it has evidence that Syrian government forces (gas)bombed the syrian population in Khan Sheikhoun. The evidence rely mainly upon comparing samples of gas (?) collected (?) after the attack with other samples taken after similar bombing operated previously by Syrian forces. The presence of hexamin (in the same proportions) in the samples is considered as a proof of the same origin/made of the Sarin gas used in both attacks and the signature of Syrian labs. No more details at this time. It seems a bit thin to me… What do you think ?

    Reply
      • Woody

        This document discusses mainly of alleged 2013 attack.
        This document does not explain the delivery of the gas – it has already been discussed whether the impact sites meet with the flight paths – so this brings again the issue – was it a bomb or missile. The impact crater does not meet the consideration of French analysis.
        By now it is safe to bet 1:1000 that the western governments and jihadis will take utmost care that the “residual tubes” in crater never arrive to the hands of independent third party analysts.
        It is sad that the government of France bangs the drum of Trump in the spirit “Egalite”.

        Reply
    • frank

      Hmm. Nonsense. French special forces got their samples from Al Nusra in the area, and their whole analysis is founded on trust with a corrupt source of data. Dismissed.

      Reply

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