DISINFO: Chemical attack in Douma fabricated by the White Helmets
DISINFORMATION CASE DETAILS
  • Outlet: arabic.rt.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: November 30, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): Arabic
  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • Countries / regions discussed: Syria
Tags:
Douma White Helmets Chemical weapons/attack

DISINFO: Chemical attack in Douma fabricated by the White Helmets

SUMMARY

The alleged fabricated chemical attack in Douma, Syria, was made by the so-called “White Helmets” group, that two of their previous affiliates, who refused to be made public, confirmed their leaders are directly linked to the “Army of Islam” and other terrorist groups that controlled the city at the time.

There is also the need to reveal the fate of the victims of the alleged incident.

RESPONSE

No reliable evidence that footage of people being treated in a hospital after the chemical weapons attack in Douma was fake.

Recurring disinformation narratives deflecting blame for chemical attacks from the Assad regime; painting the White Helmets as terrorists.

It is also consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that chemical attack in Douma, Syria was staged. See our and Bellingcat's reporting how Russian and Syrian state media have used fiction movies to "prove" that the Douma attack was fabricated.

The Report of the OPCW fact-finding mission in Syria regarding the incident of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma states that "Based on the levels of chlorinated organic derivatives, detected in several environmental samples gathered at the sites of alleged use of toxic chemicals (Locations 2 and 4), which are not naturally present in the environment, the FFM concludes that the objects from which the samples were taken at both locations had been in contact with one or more substances containing reactive chlorine."

According to the World Health Organisation, during the shelling of Douma, an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals.

Since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011, Russia has vetoed a dozen UN Security Council resolutions concerning Syria, of which six called for the launch or renewal of joint enquiries into chemical attacks in the country. More recently, the Syrian government denied entry to a senior OPCW investigator and head of the Investigation and Identification Team, arguing that it "does not recognise" the newly established unit.

Furthermore, the bodies were buried in unmarked graves in an attempt "to preserve what could become the most important evidence" from the night of 7 April 2018.

See further debunking by Bellingcat.

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