Disinfo: OPCW report did not indicate use of chemical weapons in Douma

Summary

The Douma mission’s initial report questioned the source of the gas cylinders and was unable to explain the apparent minimal damage on it that was inconsistent with the allegations of the cylinders being dropped from the air.

The draft report drew attention to the inconsistency of the image of the victims with the chemical gas used in the alleged attack, and the samples did not indicate any presence of nerve gas or chemical weapons.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narratives aiming to discredit the OPCW.

The alleged "initial report" of the Douma mission dates back to 22 June 2018 and therefore could not have been referring to the final OPCW report on Douma, which was released 1 March 2019.

An OPCW press statement confirms that "all information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma." The OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question.

Regardless of the leaked document's authenticity, its conclusion that the cylinders could not have been dropped from helicopters has been addressed in the actual OPCW report on Douma (Annex 6, pp. 55-56);

Furthermore, the previous documents claim that the draft said the signs and symptoms of alleged victims were "not consistent with poisoning from chlorine". This has been presented in a way that suggests the draft ruled out a chlorine attack on those grounds. However, the draft only says that some of the signs and symptoms were not consistent with chlorine and draws no firm conclusion about them.

See here for a point-by-point disproof by Bellingcat.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 179
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War

Disclaimer

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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Disproof

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