Disinfo: Whistleblowers expose lack of evidence in OPCW’s Douma report


The credibility of the OPCW’s final report on the 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Syria has been fundamentally compromised by whistleblowers.

An OPCW engineering assessment leaked in May 2019 shows that chlorine canisters were manually placed at the scene of the incident, rather than dropped from the air as the OPCW has claimed.

An internal e-mail by an unnamed employee shows that the final version of the Douma report deviates considerably from the interim report and cherry-picks facts to support a predetermined conclusion.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW; lending credence to the claim that the 2018 Douma attack was staged; and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks in general.

The story relies mostly on two already-debunked leaks and does nothing to undermine the conclusions reached by OPCW. The concerns raised in the first document have been addressed in the final report (see Annex 6, pp. 55-6) and do not support the claim that the incident was staged. See the full debunk here.

The second document, an unattributed internal OPCW e-mail, is dated 22 June 2018 and far predates the publication of the final Douma report (1 March 2019). In fact, the latter addresses all points and concerns raised by the author of the e-mail. See here for a point-by-point disproof by Bellingcat.


  • Reported in: Issue180
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/01/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Syria
  • Keywords: false flag, Douma, OPCW, West, Chemical weapons/attack, 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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