Disinfo: The OPCW ignores data confirming the Douma chemical attack was staged


The OPCW is choosing to disregard the trove of information showing that the alleged chemical incident in the Syrian city of Douma was a set-up and staged by the pseudo-humanitarian organisation, the White Helmets.

On top, samples collected in Douma that don’t support the version of events blaming Syria and Russia, are an uncomfortable burden stored in the laboratory of the institution. Everybody is pretending they are not there and not making the effort to analyse them.


The OPCW is clear about the methodology of its Fact-Finding Mission in Douma, which included “on-site visits to collect environmental samples, conduct witness interviews and gather data. The FFM further analysed a range of inputs including witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses, and additional digital information from witnesses”. The institution stated that the evaluation of all this “provides reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine”.

OPCW's investigations of the use of chemical weapons are technical in nature and are designed to establish whether or not chemical weapons have been used, not to identify who used them.

The claims that videos taken in a Douma hospital after the chemical attack were staged are a recurring narrative of pro-Kremlin outlets. See our reporting and Bellingcat coverage of how Russian and Syrian state media has used fiction movies to "prove" the Douma attacks were staged.

See also other disinformation cases about the OPCW report on Douma attack.


  • Reported in: Issue 141
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: The Netherlands, Syria
  • Keywords: Douma, OPCW, Syrian War


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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The 2014 coup in Ukraine led to 10,000 casualties in Donbas

In April 2014 the Ukrainian authorities initiated a military operation against the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic who proclaimed their independence following the February 2014 coup in Ukraine. According to the recent UN data, more than ten thousand people became victims of the conflict.


No coup took place in Ukraine in 2014. The demonstrations which emerged in November 2013 were the result of the frustration with then the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to refuse to sign the EU-Association Agreement. Please see a previous debunk on that here.

It was Russia that provoked a war in Ukraine.

OPCW pressured by US to issue biased report on Douma chemical attack

The OPCW issued a biased report on the alleged chemical attack in Douma under pressure from the US, which needed a pretext for conducting air strikes in Syria. The report, compiled by the organisation’s Fact-Finding Mission [FFM] and issued in March 2019, states there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that a toxic chemical was used as a weapon in Douma in April 2018.

The paper contains multiple gaps and inconsistencies, and dismisses vital evidence which Russian and Syrian officials supplied to the OPCW, including over a dozen witness accounts attesting that no chemical attack had taken place in Douma. The witnesses said they had been forced to appear in fake footage of the purported attack devised by the White Helmets, an aid group with links to terrorists.

The truth about Douma has yet to be established, despite continuous efforts by Moscow and Damascus to facilitate an objective investigation.


This article is a part of an ongoing disinformation campaign surrounding the 2018 chemical attack in Douma, which claims that the incident was staged to demonise the Assad regime and Moscow’s role in the Syrian conflict.

The Kremlin began portraying the OPCW as an pawn in Western geopolitical designs around mid-2018, when the organisation was being granted new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks.

Ukraine is under external control

No one doubts that Ukraine is under foreign control. The current government has handed over its sovereignty to the West [the EU and the United States]. Now, they decide what reforms we should have, who should be our friends, what are our priorities. At the same time, they do not help us to build a strong, independent state, they use Ukraine in their own interests.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. EU and US are not controlling Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world but violated by Russia.