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.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 176
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/11/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Syria
  • Keywords: Douma, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack
see more

Russia has nothing to do with Donbas conflict

As for the conflict in Donbas, Russia has repeatedly asserted that it is not a part of it, blaming the Ukrainian authorities for the continuing clashes in the region.

Disproof

One of the most common disinformation narratives about the "conflict" in Donbas, claiming that Russia has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. See a similar case denying Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

There is irrefutable evidence of direct Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine. The EU has condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Ukraine broke the Minsk agreements by allowing the National Police on the contact line

Ukraine knows that it can’t allow the National Police to be on the line of contact [in Donbas]. It violates the agreements. And Ukraine broke the agreement before the Normandy Format meeting.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Minsk agreements, portraying Ukraine as the only violator of the agreements. See previous cases about the Minsk agreements and the war in Ukraine. On 20 September 2016, the Framework Decision of Tripartite Contact Group on the Withdrawal of Forces was signed. The document listed violations such as the movement of forces and means on the contact line, shelling or placing mines on the contact line, etc. However, there is no mention of the use of the National Police for controlling order there. Ukrainian Defence Minister Andrii Zagorodniuk said in October 2019 that the condition of the withdrawal of forces and means is the fulfilment of the condition of observing the ceasefire regime at both sections of the contact line and the verification of the absence of fire should be carried out by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. He also stated that the National Police will protect civilians on the contact line.

Euromaidan was a coup fomented by Victoria Nuland

Maidan was a coup fomented by Victoria Nuland.

Disproof

No supportive evidence is given to this recurrent conspiracy narrative on the coup in Ukraine in 2014, fomented by the West, Georges Soros or Victoria Nuland in person, often also portrayed as a "Nazi coup". There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was the people's reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Victor Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See other disinformation cases on Euromaidan and their debunks.