What really happened on April 7, 2018, in Douma, Syria? The Western version, according to which a chemical attack has been perpetrated by the Syrian army, has become more and more fragile in recent days. It is an email sent by a member of the OPCW mission to Syria, unveiled by WikiLeaks, which is causing the trouble. According to it, the conclusions would have been distorted in the official report of the OPCW.
There were already the reservations of some journalists in Syria and even that of a producer of the BBC. Now critics are coming from people directly involved in the investigation. An e-mail from one who introduces himself as one of the members of this mission in Syria has been unveiled by Wikileaks. The sender of this email regrets a misleading rewrite of his observations: “By the unintentional omission of certain facts and observations an inadvertent bias has been introduced into the report, undermining its credibility. In fact, some crucial facts that have been maintained in the corrected version have turned into something quite different from what was originally drafted.”
The core of the problem observed by the author of the e-mail is, in particular, the conclusions about the presence of bottles of chlorine on the scene of the alleged attack.”The initial report underscored the fact that, although the cylinders may have been the source of the suspected release of chemicals, the evidence was insufficient to assert this and it is a major difference with from the redacted report…”
WikiLeaks indeed released an email from an employee within the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) indicating that the OPCW "misrepresents the facts he and his colleagues discovered on the ground". This email has been used to call into question the impartiality and effectiveness of the OPCW’s conclusion about the alleged chemical weapon attack in Douma, Syria. But the comparison of the date when it was written and of the points raised in the letter with the OPCW's final report makes it clear that the OPCW addressed these concerns of said employee. Unusually, OPCW issued two reports on Douma, the preliminary and the final ones. The concerns of the said employee have been taken into account in the final report, points out Belingcat.
The e-mail is dated 22 June 2018. Thus, the interim report, published on 6 July 2018, stated that the found cylinders were the likely source of the chlorine or reactive chlorine-containing chemical. The final report published on 1 March 2019 states, however, in paragraph 2.16 that it was “possible that the cylinders were the source of the substances containing reactive chlorine”. See the analysis by Bellingcat of how the concerns of the said employee raised in June 2018, were taken into account in the final OPCW's report released on 6 July 2018.