aside What We Know For Sure About What Happened In Syria Around 7th Of April 2018

Both Russia and Syrian government officials are denying that this chemical attack on civilians in the Douma area of Syria, even took place around the 7th in April 2018.

Meanwhile the US intelligence community will be collecting data regarding this reported attack.

Here is the rest of the story…

On April 10, 2018, BBC published the following report,  “Syria war: What we know about Douma ‘chemical attack’

Map showing control of Eastern Ghouta, Syria (9 April 2018)

Excerpts:

Why was Douma being bombed?

“In February, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad launched an assault on the Eastern Ghouta that has reportedly left more than 1,600 civilians dead.”

“In March, troops split the region into three pockets – the largest of which was around Douma, home to between 80,000 and 150,000 people. Facing defeat, rebel groups in the other two pockets agreed to be evacuated to northern Syria.”

“But the group controlling Douma, Jaysh al-Islam, continued to hold out. On Friday, after negotiations with the government stalled, air strikes resumed.”

What happened on Saturday?

“The bombardment continued on Saturday, with dozens of people reportedly killed or injured by conventional munitions before the suspected chemical attack.”

“Activists from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which records alleged violations of international law in Syria, reported two separate incidents of bombs believed to contain toxic substances being dropped by the Syrian Air Force.”

“The first occurred at approximately 16:00 (13:00 GMT) and saw a bakery on Omar Ibn Al-Khattab street in north-western Douma targeted, the VDC said.”

Smoke rises from Douma after a government air strike on 7 April 2018
Image AFP

“It cited a rescue worker from the Syria Civil Defence as saying he smelt chlorine in the air after the strike, but that he could not determine its source.”

“We later discovered the bodies of people who had suffocated from toxic gases. They were in closed spaces, sheltering from the barrel bombs, which may have caused their quick death as no-one heard their screams,” he added.

“The VDC said the second incident took place not far to the east at approximately 19:30, when Martyrs’ Square was hit.”

“At 19:45, more than 500 patients – most of them women and children – were brought to medical facilities with symptoms indicative of exposure to a chemical agent, according to the Syria Civil Defence and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a relief organisation that supports hospitals.”

A child receiving oxygen through respirators following the alleged poison gas attack. Picture: AP
AP PHOTO

“People were treated for breathing difficulties and irritation of the eyes following the first, the UOSSM said. After the second, patients were brought to hospital smelling strongly of a chlorine-like substance and presenting symptoms that included cyanosis, foaming of the mouth, and cornea irritation, it added.”

“A medical student working at a hospital told the BBC he had treated a man who died. “His pupils were dilated and he had foam in his mouth. His heart was very slow. Then he coughed blood into his mouth as well,” he said.”

“Videos posted by the opposition activist group Douma Revolution showed what it said were the bodies of children, women and men found in the affected area. Some had foam coming out of their mouths and noses.”

AP

How many people died?

The VDC said 25 people died as a result of the first strike on the bakery and that another 20 died as a result of the second on Martyrs’ Square.

The Syria Civil Defence and SAMS said rescue workers found 42 people dead in their homes. One person was declared dead on arrival at a hospital, and another six died while receiving treatment, they added. Rescuers were prevented from searching for more bodies by strong odours that caused breathing difficulties.

The UOSSM initially reported that 70 people were confirmed dead. On Monday, it revised down the figure to at least 42, but said it was expected to rise.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said air strikes on Friday and Saturday killed almost 100 people. It said they included 21 who died as a result of suffocation, but that it was unable to identify the cause.

AFP

What could they have been exposed to?

On Monday, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said a fact-finding mission was “gathering further information from all available sources to establish whether chemical weapons were used”.

Experts say it is impossible to know whether a person has been exposed to a chemical agent from looking at a video or photo. The only way to confirm contamination is to take samples and analyse them in a laboratory. However, international humanitarian organisations have not been allowed to enter Douma since early March because of the government’s siege.

The Syria Civil Defence and SAMS believe those who died suffocated as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals, most likely an organophosphate – a compound grouping associated with pesticides and nerve agents.

The UOSSM also concluded that the symptoms of the casualties were consistent with exposure to a nerve agent, possibly one mixed with chlorine. Dr Raphal Pitti of UOSSM France said he thought “chlorine was used to conceal the use of [the nerve agent] Sarin”.

The United States, which supports the opposition to Mr Assad, said the victims’ symptoms appeared to be “consistent with an asphyxiation agent and of a nerve agent of some type”.

What does the Syrian government say?

The Syrian government, which has repeatedly denied ever using chemical weapons, accused rebels of “fabricating” the reports in a “failed attempt” to stop the government retaking Douma.

A foreign ministry source told the official Sana news agency: “Every time the Syrian Arab Army advances in its fight against terrorism, claims emerge of chemical weapons use.”

Syrian government tank advances towards rebel-held Douma (7 April 2018)
Syrian government tank advances towards Douma (7 April 2018)/ Image AFP

“Russia’s foreign ministry said the reports from Douma were “bogus”.

“Its permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said on Monday that Russian military specialists had visited Douma and “confirmed that there were no chemical substances found on the ground, no dead bodies found, no poisoned people in the hospitals”.

“The doctors in Douma deny that there were people who came to the hospital claiming that they were under the chemical attack,” he added.”

“Mr Nebenzia said OPCW experts should fly to Syria immediately and “see for themselves what happened”, offering protection from Russian troops.”

Syrian Army soldiers advancing in an area on the eastern outskirts of Douma, as they continue their fierce offensive. Picture: AFP
AFP

How has the international community reacted?

“United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said he was outraged by the reports from Douma and warned that “any confirmed use of chemical weapons, by any party to the conflict and under any circumstances, is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law”.

“US President Donald Trump declared on Monday that there had been a “heinous attack on innocent Syrians with banned chemical weapons”.

“Mr Trump said he was talking with US military leaders to decide who was responsible and would make some major decisions within 24 to 48 hours, adding that “nothing is off the table.”

“The UK and France said Saturday’s incident bore the hallmarks of previous chemical weapons attacks blamed on the Syrian government.”

11 comments

    • Dear 1EarthUnited,

      It will not only be the USA intelligence and other experts who will be doing the verifying of what really happened.

      Let’s see what pans out. I am believing that it probably did occur because this has not been the first time but I will take a wait and see attitude for now.

      Thank you for the references.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  1. This is another chapter in a long and bloody war which has exacted a fearful toll on innocents.
    In itself this is one war which is linked to the struggle for control of the Middle East being waged between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the scope and depth of which is on the point of side-lining Israel.
    These wars fact are many and varied in size and intensity, extending along The North African coast and quite beyond the control, or even comprehension of the USA and Russia, both of whom at time seem to be played rather than players.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Roger,

      I concur. I do want confirmation of what occurred because of the timing of this attack having occurred soon after President Trump announced his plans to withdraw US troops from Syria asap. It is possible that the Syrian President Assad could have believed he could now act with impunity. But on the other hand, this would have been an incredibly stupid move, even for the brutal dictator.

      Those who stood to gain by this move would be Saudi Arabia and Israel. Yes, the Suds, UAE and Israel have been playing the US and President Trump like a finely tuned piano. All of these players would act to keep US military in the region.

      But this is not the first time that President Bashar al-Assad has resorted to the usage of chemical agents on his peoples and so, he has not earned the benefit of the doubt. Except for the knowledge that he would be thrilled to see the US military leave, I wouldn’t have any.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • “It is possible that the Syrian President Assad could have believed he could now act with impunity. But on the other hand, this would have been an incredibly stupid move, even for the brutal dictator.”

        That’s why this latest attack is looking more like a false flag setup. It makes absolutely no sense for Assad to antagonize the US to stay if his goal is the polar opposite.

        Cui bono? More attacks to come in the near future I’m afraid.

        Like

        • Dear 1EarthUnited,

          It is the Cui bono question that makes me have some doubt. It is unfortunate that that President Putin who always denies everything no matter how culpable, and President Assad who has a history of using chemical/ gas agents on his peoples have no credibility on the world stage.

          I among many would welcome an independent investigation if this was possible.

          Hugs, Gronda

          Like

      • The Assad family (or to be more correct clan) have history of ruthless suppression of any rebellions, meeting violence with a fearsome response. In 1982 when the Muslim Brotherhood seized control of Hama full scale war was used and the death toll ran into four figures (between 1,000 and 25,000).
        The Assads and their followers will view this as a battle for their own personal survival, hence the sheer weight of destruction.
        The see-saw responses from the current Whitehouse Administration shows how very much out they are of their depth.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Gronda, I would hope Trump will involve Congress and other country leasers on this decision to proceed. Using chemicals cannot be condoned, but we need to make darn sure we are accusing the right folks. Keith

    Like

  3. Please share my latest post with your readers. It’s about the lack of evidence against Syria.
    https://leilapiazzadotcom.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/no-facts-no-war/

    Gronda, this is not the first time. That is to say, it’s not the first time the Syrian government has been accused of using chemical weapons without proof. In fact, there has never been any credible proof offered by anyone making accusations. Everything is allegations, accusations, suspicions, and suppositions. Look through past articles. Look for the words “allege” “believe” “conclude.” These words are not evidence. If you’ve seen some actual evidence, I’d love to hear it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear LeilaPiazza,

    Welcome!

    This is a comment that I wrote elsewhere but It might help you to feel a bit better about all of this.

    The Secretary of Defense General Mattis who is a grown-up is at the helm.

    He is waiting for the results of the fact finding mission by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) before taking action.

    The reason for this is to verify the claims that chemical/ nerve gas was used by Syrian government on civilians. There are ways to determine origin.

    President Putin has been denying that Russia or Syria are responsible..We need to do the verification because admittedly this was such a stupid act by President Assad that one has to question it.

    US had announced that US military would be leaving asap. President Assad, Russia, Iran, Turkey were in the drivers’ seat. Why would President Assad be so stupid as to wave a red flag in front of USA by gassing his peoples on 4/7/18 to keep us in the game. The countries that stood to gain by keeping the USA in Syria are Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel.

    If President Assad was so stupid, Russia should shoot him. He is an animal.

    In short, General Mattis will not take action until there is more definitive verification.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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