Disinfo: OPCW covered up the chemical attack in Douma


The “Wikileaks” website published last November an email from a member of the “Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons” investigation team about the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma in 2018, in which he accused the organization of covering up a defect in the report alleging the use of chlorine in Douma.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative seeking to absolve the Assad regime of responsibility for chemical attacks perpetrated in the course of the Syrian civil war, as well as to undermine the credibility and independence of the OPCW.

The internal OPCW e-mail message sent to WikiLeaks on June 22, 2018, by an unidentified member of OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), does not accuse the OPCW management of deliberately manipulating and suppressing evidence gathered by the FFM in order to blame the Assad government for the Douma attack and to justify Western military intervention against Syria.

For example, the management's draft said that chlorine or another reactive chlorine-containing chemical was "likely" to have been released from two cylinders found at the scene. The email argues, instead, that while the cylinders might have been the sources of the suspected chemical there was "insufficient evidence to affirm this".

The e-mail message actually refers to a draft OPCW interim report, not to the final report published in March 2019. The interim report published in July 2018 was basically a progress report which described the FFM’s activities until that date. The final OPCW report actually accepts the points made by the FFM member in the internal e-mail.

The email in question is dated 22 June 2018 and therefore could not have been referring to the final OPCW report on Douma, which was released on 1 March 2019. In fact, the final report addresses all the points raised by the employee and addresses some of his/ her concerns. See here for a point-by-point disproof by Bellingcat.


  • Reported in: Issue 177
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Wikileaks, Chemical weapons/attack


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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