Disinfo: West assigns blame for chemical attacks without investigating them


Western governments and organisations continue to accuse Damascus of perpetrating chemical attacks, while being unwilling to actually investigate these alleged incidents. This undermines trust in the expertise and impartiality of the OPCW, whose recent findings seem to be based on political cues from the West.

In addition, Moscow has repeatedly warned the international community of false flag attacks and provocations which are constantly being prepared in Syria. Washington and its allies continue to ignore this vital information.


The story advances recurring disinformation narratives deflecting blame for chemical attacks from Damascus and aiming to discredit the OPCW.

Claims of the OPCW's bias and subservience to Western governments began featuring in pro-Kremlin narratives around mid-2018, when the organisation was being granted new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks.

The OPCW conducts probes into all allegations of chemical weapons' use in Syria, and its findings serve as the basis for publicly available reports and expert notes. The most recent document by the Technical Secretariat offers a detailed response to notes verbales in which both Russia and Syria questioned the credibility and legality of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Douma.

Despite endless appeals for impartiality and transparency, in the immediate aftermath of the Douma attack in April 2018, Russian military police denied OPCW inspectors access to the area citing “lack of coordination” with the UN Secretariat, a claim which prompted concerns over possible evidence-tampering and was later refuted by the UN. Meanwhile, admission was quickly granted to friendly journalists.

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.


  • Reported in: Issue 152
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia, US, Syria
  • Keywords: United Nations, false flag, OPCW, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War, The West


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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