Stephen Lendman: Douma Chemical Incident a US-NATO False Flag… OPCW Is a US Imperial Tool

ST

Sunday, 19 May 2019

The chemical watchdog group is mandated “to implement the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention to achieve a world free of” CWs.

Its mission includes conducting “credible and transparent” on-site inspections to verify use of and destruction of these weapons.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches its mandate, serving US-led Western interests, producing dubious reports with falsified, distorted rubbish, suppressing vital information.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier slammed the group for failing to discharge its duties as mandated by the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Last March, its falsified Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) report on the alleged April 7, 2018 CW incident in Douma, Syria said the following:

“Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma (Syria)…evaluation and analysis…of information gathered by the FFM (gathered much too late to matter) provide(s) reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on April 7, 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

The incident was a US/NATO false flag, Syria wrongfully blamed for a victimless nonevent – no one killed, hospitalized or ill from exposure to toxins, not chlorine or any other banned substance, nothing. The OPCW lied suggesting otherwise.

Douma eyewitnesses and local medical personnel debunked the falsified narrative. Visiting the site days after the alleged incident, Russian technical experts found no evidence of chemical or other toxins in soil samples and other analysis.

Like many other times, Damascus was falsely blamed for what it had nothing to do with. At the time, Russia’s envoy to the OPCW Alexander Shulgin said testimonies from 17 witnesses, including physicians who were right at the scene on that day…recount(ed) the true story of the (false flag) incident.”

“We had no doubt that the allegations of chemical use in Douma are a fabricated and provocative play staged by the so called White Helmets and Western media outlets.”

We can prove that the video of the White Helmets is fabricated, and therefore there is no basis or validity to the signals of Western countries that this material is evidence of a chemical attack in the city of Douma.”

Instead of reporting accurately on what happened, the OPCW bowed to US interests, delivering a falsified report months later.

Damascus slammed the report, saying it “does not differ from the previous mission reports filled with distorted facts” — falsely blaming Syrian forces for CW incidents staged by US-supported terrorists.

Regarding the Douma incident, Syria’s Foreign Ministry blasted the OPCW’s “lack of professionalism,” adding: “It was easy for the Syrian specialists to discover that the OPCW experts were lying when claiming that they investigated the (Douma) incident in the report from various aspects.”

The organization “ignored the possession of toxic chemicals by terrorist groups, although the mission found those substances in the warehouses of terrorists when they visited them.”

The independent Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media obtained an unpublished OPCW report on the Douma incident — indicating it was staged, Damascus having nothing to do with it.

According to the group’s Piers Robinson,”We have confirmation from multiple sources that (the unpublished OPCW report) is authentic.”

Chlorine cylinders found on the scene were placed next to a pre-existing crater — by Western funded, al-Qaeda connected White Helmets. They were not dropped by Syrian aircraft or helicopters as falsely claimed.

Expert independent evaluation determined that two chlorine cylinders were manually placed at the scene to falsely blame Damascus for what it had nothing to do with.

The OPCW’s unpublished report refuted the findings of its published one last March. Ahead of the April 2018 incident, Moscow and Damascus warned of an impending false flag CW attack by US supported terrorists to be wrongfully blamed on Syrian forces.

On Friday, Russia presented a draft Security Council resolution, calling for the OPCW to fulfill its mandate, saying the following:

The Security Council “emphasizes the need to unite the efforts of States Parties to the (chemical weapons) Convention in order to enhance strict compliance with their obligations under the Convention avoiding politicization,” adding: The SC “calls on the States Parties to the Convention to cooperate with each other in a constructive manner and seek to restore the spirit of consensus in the OPCW for the sake of preserving the integrity and inviolability of the Convention.”

Russia’s UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia accused the OPCW of being “hijacked by politics,” adding: “We are trying to get the (organization) back on track because (it’s) off track and now it is so politicized.”

“It was always a technical organ where consensus prevailed, and now we see that it is completely politicized, with politicized agenda from various parties” — its credibility lost.

Throughout years of US launched aggression on the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011, not a shred of credible evidence indicates CW use by government forces. Indisputable evidence shows US supported terrorists used banned toxins numerous times, incidents falsely blamed on Damascus.

A Trump regime veto of Russia’s draft resolution is likely, supported by Britain and France, wanting nothing interfering with their ability to manipulate the OPCW to serve their interests.

Source: Global Research

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Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

ERIC ZUESSE | 27.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

Lies America’s News-Media Tell

Here are America’s recent targets for regime-change (against which have been used economic sanctions, invasion, and enormous destruction) — and all of them are nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade America:

Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

Because all of these were and are aggressive wars by the US against nations that never invaded nor threatened to invade the US, they all ought to be subject to mega-criminal prosecutions as was done by the US, Britain, and USSR, against Germany at the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II. That was merely victors’ ‘justice’, applied by the US, Britain and USSR, but this would instead be actual international justice, the first instance of such in all of world history. It’s desperately needed — especially now.

America’s Government and news-media were and are remarkably unanimous in saying that these invasions and coups are and were done in order to advance democracy and human rights in the given target-nation. However, what it actually brings and has brought, in each and every case, is, instead, massive bloodshed, death, poverty, destruction, and outpourings of refugees — and an increasingly dangerous world, the current world.

Is this lying, by the US and its allies, and their ‘news’-media, mere hypocrisy, or is it something even worse — far worse? In any case, only a fair and international juridical tribunal that’s controlled by no nation and by no alliance of nations can possibly deliver a credible verdict on this. And, so, such international criminal trials must be organized and carried out, or else even worse can be expected to occur. Impunity is desirable only by and for gangsters, and no land where it exists can reasonably be called “democratic.”

America’s news-media — especially the mainstream ones — not only cover-up important truths, but they routinely lie. Both the Democratic Party’s media and the Republican Party’s media report the same lies, which are the Government’s lies, on these international matters. These are lies on which there is bipartisan unity by the nation’s press (and by both political Parties), in order to deceive the public, into support for invading and occupying, or overthrowing via a coup or otherwise, some foreign government. Their target is always a government which America’s billionaires who control international corporations want to replace, and so the US regime unanimously lies against that targeted government, as being dangerous and evil, even though the given takeover-target has never invaded, nor threatened to invade, the United States — is no real national-security threat to the American people. Only on the basis of lies can that succeed. This is the main function of the press, in such countries: deceit, on those international matters.

In other words: the US Government is fascist, like the Axis powers were in World War II. This is worse than, for example, merely wasting billions of dollars on building a border-wall against Mexico in order to protect Americans, but it receives far less press-attention (perhaps because the press is so unanimous in endorsing and supporting these atrocities — and that’s yet further evidence of the American regime’s fascism). The press is owned by, and funded by ads, and donations from, America’s billionaires, the very same people who fund our politicians and who also own controlling interests in the weapons-firms such as Lockheed Martin, which can’t survive without these weapons-sales, and which therefore demand constant conquests, in order to create new markets for their wares, new “allied nations.”

So, naturally, America’s military is mainly the enforcement-arm of the billionaires who control US-based international corporations (especially the weapons-firms and the extractive firms such as mining and fuels, which corporations crave to control foreign natural resources), and those people also control America’s Government and press, and this produces the unanimity for these regime-change operations — which likewise fits the fascist model.

The US is clearly the world’s leading fascist nation, and there is no close second (and none of the nations that the US regime is trying to conquer is fascist at all). What Germany was under Hitler, the US is and has been at least since the time of US President Ronald Reagan. The US has been a dictatorship since at least 1981.

Coup or invasion (either form of aggression) is an international war-crime, but the deceit against America’s public usually succeeds, because the public trust especially the billionaire-controlled mainstream press, which is always leading these lies-for-conquest.

Furthermore, almost all of the ‘alternative news’ media are likewise owned by (and funded by ads or donations from) wealthy interests that participate in and benefit from this mass-deceit — from the stenographic ‘news’ reporting, the Government’s accusations against the particular target-nation that’s about to be (or has been) regime-changed.

For example, all of America’s ’news’-media were stenographically reporting the US Government’s many lies about ‘Saddam Hussein’s WMD’, in order to ‘justify’ America’s kicking out the UN’s weapons-inspectors and simply bombing Iraq and invading and militarily occupying, and basically destroying, that country (which had never invaded ours) in 2003. All of America’s ‘news’ media did the same, but especially all of the mainstream ones did, of both the right and the left, all the way from Fox News to the New York Times. They all were hiding the truth and lying to support an illegal invasion — an international war-crime under international law, and violation of the UN’s Charter. Did Americans stop buying those ‘news’papers and watching those ’news’ channels, and buying those ’news’ magazines, after the truth became reluctantly exposed (during 2002-2005) that those ‘WMD’ didn’t exist and no longer had existed after 1998? No, those same ‘news’-media still are successful. (They all ought to be long-since out-of-business, but such accountability doesn’t exist in the news-business. Not only does a major ‘news’-medium hide its own corruption and lying but it hides that of all other major ‘news’-media, because otherwise the entire ‘democratic’ system of control by the nation’s billionaires would simply collapse.)

America’s ‘news’-media report just as much false ‘news’ (not merely what they call “fake news,” but actually false ‘news’) today, as they did back then, because America’s ‘news’-media cover-up not only for themselves, but also for each other, since they all lie so routinely in order to ‘justify’ their Government’s aggressions, coups, military invasions, foreign mass-murders, etc., and those invasions and coups are part of the unspoken business-plan of them all, for growth or expansion of their global control.

These atrocities are all done for ‘national security’ reasons, and in order to ‘spread democracy’, and in order to ‘protect human rights around the world’ — and Americans continue to believe it, and to believe the regime, and to subscribe to those same mainstream (and hangers-on) ’news’-media. Accountability against lying doesn’t exist in a hyper-aggressive ‘democracy’, a would-be all-encompassing global empire, which America has certainly become.

Today, these ’news’-media hide that they’ve been lying when they report that Russia ‘hacked’ Hillary Clinton’s email and John Podesta’s computer. Just click onto that, right there, and you will immediately see the latest documentation that it’s all mere lies against Russia, which is the only nation that does actually possess the military wherewithal to stand up against the US regime (since it inherited the arsenal of the former Soviet Union when the Cold War ended in 1991 on their side — though that war secretly continued and still is continuing on the American side).

These fabrications could have many reasons, but perhaps the likeliest is in order to increase weapons-sales by Lockheed Martin and other US weapons-makers, all of which are 100% dependent upon their sales to the US Government and to its allied governments. (There are consequently interlocking directorates between the ‘news’-businesses and the armaments-firms, and the Wall Street banks, and the think tanks, etc.; and all of this is intensified by the revolving door between Government officials and the private sector, such as generals becoming directors of ‘defense’ firms.) But this fraud that ‘Russia hacked the election’ has been exposed before, though not with the same thoroughness as it is in that latest news-report, which comes from the “Sic Semper Tyrannus” blog. You might happen to think that it must be ‘fake news’, because it’s from a non-mainstream site? It comes from Bill Binney, who is the NSA whistleblower who was the NSA’s top signals-intelligence analyst before he quit in disgust at the Government’s lying. Of course, he had tried all the mainstream ‘news’-media as prospective outlets for this news-report, but they’re not interested in exposing the truth — because that would expose themselves to be liars. Once a major lie is told, and told repeatedly, by a major ‘news’-medium, exposing that lie would be exposing itself — and none do that.

They also hide that they’ve been lying to report that America was justified to bomb Syria on 11 April 2018, justified to do it in order to punish Syria’s Government for having perpetrated a chemical weapons attack on 7 April 2018 in the town of Douma — a chemical weapons attack that was actually fabricated by the US and its allies, and which US Government lie is still being protected (hidden from the public) by the US regime’s ’news’ media, which media, for example, fail to report that the OPCW did not find any such attack to have occurred:

“OPCW Issues Fact-Finding Mission Reports on Chemical Weapons Use Allegations in Douma, Syria in 2018 and in Al-Hamadaniya and Karm Al-Tarrab in 2016”

Friday, 06 July 2018

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — 6 July 2018 — The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), issued an interim report on the FFM’s investigation to date regarding the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria on 7 April 2018.

The FFM’s activities in Douma included on-site visits to collect environmental samples, interviews with witnesses, data collection. In a neighbouring country, the FFM team gathered or received biological and environmental samples, and conducted witness interviews.

OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.

If those “final conclusions” are ever made public by OPCW, will you trust your ’news’-media to report them honestly? And, if the conclusions never are published, will you think that the US regime and its ’news’-media are war-criminals there, just as they were in Iraq, and Syria, and Yemen, and Ukraine, and so many other countries?

According to Russian Television, or “RT” — which all major ’news’-media in the US and its allied regimes say is ‘untrustworthy’ — “Real ‘obscene masquerade’: How BBC depicted staged hospital scenes as proof of Douma chemical attack”. That op-ed by the great British investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley, who specializes in Syria, isn’t published by the BBC, or by ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, PBS, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Guardian, or Washington Post. It’s too honest, for that. Could this be part of the reason that they call RT ‘fake news’? If so, maybe RT should replace them, at least for international reporting.

And, before that, there was the claimed 21 August 2013 sarin gas attack in the town of Ghouta by Syria’s Government, which was actually done by the US Government’s allies who were trying to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government — it’s what’s called a “false flag attack” — one that’s designed to be blamed against the other side, in order to serve as an ‘excuse’ to invade. The American Government and its ‘news’-media keep making suckers out of the American public this way, and yet the American public continue to subscribe to them — to pay their good money, for such evil propaganda. Apparently, nobody is even embarassed. It simply keeps happening, again and again.

Another recent example is the ‘democratic revolution’ in Ukraine in February 2014, which was actually a US coup that destroyed that country.

And the latest example is the US-and-Canada-led effort to impose a fascist regime in Venezuela.

Furthermore, as one of the perceptive reader-commenters to that latest Binney article on ‘Russiagate’ noted: “Craig Murray, in a very revealing but neglected interview with Scott Horton, said‘I should be plain that the Podesta emails and the DNC emails of course are two separate things and you shouldn’t conclude that both have the same source. But in both cases, we’re talking of a leak not a hack, in that the person who was responsible for getting the information out had legal access to that information.’” Murray, a whistleblower and former UK Ambassador, had been personally involved in that, by transferring a thumb-drive from the DNC whistleblower to Julian Assange, and he also said there, “If you are looking to the source of all this, you have to look to Americans,” and not at all to any Russians or other foreigners.

The comprehensiveness of the deceit by the US regime is beyond what the vast majority of Americans can even imagine to be the case. It is simply beyond the comprehension of most people. And that false ‘news’-reporting then becomes basic to, and enshrined in, false but best-selling ‘history’-books, so as to deepen, yet further, the deception of the public.

On Sunday, February 24th, the “Zero Hedge” independent news-site headlined “WaPo Quietly Deletes Branson’s Venezuela Concert From Article After ‘Fake’ Attendance Figures Exposed” and reported (and documented) that the British billionaire Richard Branson’s free pop-concert on Friday February 22 at the Venezuela-Colombia border in support of Washington’s attempted coup to overthrow Venezuela’s democratically elected President had drawn less than 20,000 fans instead of what had been reported in the US regime’s Washington Post, which had reported that 200,000 attended, and that as soon as the US regime’s fraud was publicly exposed — which was done by means of a photo of the crowd which had been taken by Dan Cohen of Russia’s RT, plus careful independent calculations by the “Moon of Alabama” blogger — the US regime’s ‘news’paper retroactively removed their ‘news’-report’s crowd-size-estimate from the online version of their ‘news’-report. Of course, the ‘error’ had already been physically printed in that trashy ‘news’paper, which might (at its discretion) subsequently publish a printed correction, saying that they’d only been trying to fool their subscribers in order to assist propaganda supporting the US regime’s grab for control over Venezuela.

The problem isn’t ‘fake news’ from RT or from small online sites (such as all of the major media claim to be the case), but false ‘news’ from mainstream US (and allied) ‘news’ (propaganda) media. They’ve all got millions of victims’ blood on their hands, and they’re not even a bit ashamed of any of it — and of shifting the blame for it to the targeted nations.

PS: Max Blumenthal is an investigative journalist who formerly believed the lies from the (think tanks and other agencies of the) billionaires who finance the Democratic Party. He was the star journalist at one of the Democratic Party’s leading ‘alt-news’ propaganda-sites, AlterNet, until he lost his employment there after starting to expose the rot that he had previously been fooled into supporting. He increasingly moved away from liberalism to progressivism; and the Democratic National Committee doesn’t want any of that, except as window-dressing — and Blumenthal decided he could no longer do that. He became unemployed for a while and then established, along with another former AlterNet reporter “The GrayZone Project,” in order to continue being employed. Blumenthal recently issued a YouTube video in which he interviewed star Democratic Party Presidential aspirant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other members of Congress “Is the US Meddling in Venezuela? Max Blumenthal Asks US Congress Members.” As you can see there, all of them are either mildly or very supportive of Trump’s coup-attempt in Venezuela. Unfortunately, Blumenthal didn’t interview Tulsi Gabbard, who might possibly be an exception to the depressing rule that corruption reigns, and who recently announced her candidacy for the US Presidency. Nor did he interview Bernie Sanders, nor Sherrod Brown, nor Elizabeth Warren, all of whom likewise are competing for the progressives’ votes in the upcoming Democratic Party Presidential primaries. As for the other Democratic contenders, they’re competing to become instead the new Hillary Clinton — the American billionaires’ favorite. Instead, with Trump, we got in the 2016 Presidentials their second choice.

On February 18th, Blumenthal and a colleague, Alexander Rubinstein, headlined at one of the few sincere and honest US-based international-news sites, “Mint Press,” “Pierre Omidyar’s Funding of Pro-Regime-Change Networks and Partnerships with CIA Cutouts”, and they exposed Omidyar, the owner of a famous ‘news’ site that’s targeted at naive progressives, “The Intercept.” Whereas Mint Press is called ‘fake news’ by America’s billionaires’ ‘news’-media, The Intercept (which isn’t nearly as honest as Mint Press is) is not. The dictatorship’s aim is to crush the truth, and (like The Intercept does) they let in just enough of truth so as to keep hidden what’s most important to them to keep hidden from the public — things such as what Blumenthal and Rubinstein are now disclosing.

Everybody except America’s 585 billionaires should be reading sites such as the ones that publish Blumenthal and Rubinstein, and other honest investigative journalists (which are banned at all of the mainstream sites). Propaganda that poses as ‘news’ has to be crushed, in order for truth itself not to be crushed. But can their exposé of Omidyar win a top national journalism award without thereby bringing down the entire rotten and corrupt superstructure of lies? And that would also bring down the enormous international crimes this superstructure has supported and continues to support, such as Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011-2018, Yemen 2015-now, Ukraine 2014, and Venezuela 2017-now.

If such news-reports cannot win top journalism prizes, then what hope is there, realistically, that things will ever be able to improve?

Only by removing the blinders from the public, can the public see the light and the actual truth, about the world in which they are living. That’s what is needed in order for democracy to be able to exist. What now exists is, instead, dictatorship. That’s the current reality. It includes the European Council, which is the unelected government of the EU, which clearly is a dictatorship (and this is true even if Brexit is wrong), and it also includes every other ally of the US regime. The EU was created by the US and its allies after WW II. It “always was a CIA project.” FDR was dead, and maybe whatever there had been of US democracy died along with him. The UN that exists is not the one that he had intended and so carefully planned. We’ve been living in a charade. It didn’t start in 1981. There is this, and there also is this. It’s FDR’s vision turned upside-down and inside-out. That’s the actual world of today. It’s based on lies.

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So-called “White Helmets” Preparing to Film Staged Chemical Attacks in Idlib Hospitals: Zakharova

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Moscow is concerned over the fact that terrorists have not abandoned their attempts to stage chemical attacks against Syrian civilians.

The White Helmets have deployed equipment in several hospitals in the Syrian province of Idlib to film false flag chemical attacks and blame it on Damascus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated on Thursday, according to Sputnik.

“There are also serious concerns about reports that terrorists are not abandoning attempts to fake the use of chemical weapons against civilians. According to available information, a group of activists, the notorious pseudo-humanitarian organization, the White Helmets, have prepared the necessary equipment in several hospitals of Idlib to film such provocations”, Zakharova said at a briefing.

The spokeswoman elaborated that tensions were running high in the Idlib de-escalation zone, saying that Tahrir al-Sham militants are carrying out daily shelling of nearby areas and actively building up their forces near the contact line with Syrian government forces, Sputnik said.

Moscow and Damascus have on a multitude of occasions pointed out that the White Helmets have staged a number of provocations in Syria involving the use of chemical weapons in order to blame them on the Syrian government and provide Western countries with justification for intervention in the Arab Republic.

The notorious NGO has repeatedly been busted staging and filming false-flag attacks: last April, the group published footage featuring doctors in Douma hospitals treating patients that had suffered from an alleged chemical attack by the Syrian Arab Army.

Reports of the purported use of chemical agents in Eastern Ghouta surfaced on 7 April 2018 in some media, citing militants on the ground. A number of Western countries, including France, the US and the UK, quickly picked up the claims, and instantly accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of having dropped a chlorine bomb on civilians.

Damascus vehemently denied the allegations, denouncing the attack as a staged provocation to justify potential foreign intervention. Immediately after the purported incident, Moscow dispatched its chemical corps commission to inspect the site and determine whether there had been an actual chemical attack; the expert group, however, found no traces of chemical agents in Ghouta.

US Troop Pullout From al-Tanf

Speaking of the envisaged US withdrawal from Syria, Zakharova said that Moscow had urged Washington to immediately pull its troops out of the al-Tanf zone and transfer the area to Damascus’s control.

“We urge Washington to immediately withdraw its troops from At Tanf are and transfer control over this territory to the Syrian government, which could take care of its citizens as we see it can do”.

Zakharova also drew attention to the “plight of the inhabitants of Rukban camp for internally displaced persons”, which is located within the 55-kilometre security zone set by the Pentagon.

“The full responsibility for the depressing situation in the camp is borne, of course, by the United States, which illegally occupies this zone, and secondly, deploys its military base there, regularly providing material and technical support, while not contributing to the delivery of food and medicine to the residents of Rukban. It is necessary to immediately take measures to resettle the camp”, she noted.

H.M

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WMD Take Two: Chemical Weapons Claims in Syria

By Tim Anderson
Source

 

Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack de6b8

Millions of words have been written about chemical weapons in Syria, and many people are still confused. How can the average person understand this controversy? Rather than debate each incident, I suggest some basic forensic principles can help us ‘cut to the chase’. In particular, we should ignore the endless partisan stories and pay more attention to the genuinely independent evidence.

I investigated and wrote about the early stages of this issue back in 2013, then published a chapter on it in my 2016 book, The Dirty War on Syria. I concluded that the August 2013 incident in the East Ghouta was fabricated by the anti-government ‘jihadist’ groups, in an attempt to attract greater NATO support, as had happened in Libya.

The Dirty War on Syria 6cbfa

In a diplomatic move, Russia persuaded Syria to give up its actual chemical weapon stock (held as a deterrent against Israel) and indeed that stockpile was certifiably destroyed in 2014. But this did not put an end to the allegations. Similar accusations came from the sectarian Islamist groups, particularly in 2017 and 2018, as the Syrian Army drove them out of the country’s cities. Western governments and their media once against raised a ‘weapons of mass destruction’ cry.

First of all, we are entitled to consider the circumstances of all these claims. We must be skeptical because many were fooled by the false claims over ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMD) in Iraq. The ‘chemical weapons’ allegations are similar, in that they refer to banned WMDs and seem to provide a pretext for military intervention. These are claims promoted by the same states that ran WMD stories against Iraq. Other extraordinary allegations were argued to justify the NATO bombing of Libya. In each case, exceptional claims have been used to justify (or cover up) what would otherwise be seen as transparent aggression.

Second, regarding Syria, we should note that none of the chemical weapons claims were linked to any conventional military objectives. Such weapons are simply unsuited to urban warfare. This was different from the circumstances of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. There the US helped Saddam Hussein use chemical weapons against Iran’s mass troop movements (‘human waves’), and against the Faili Kurds of Halabja, who were armed by Iran (Harris and Aid 2013; Tan 2008).

I suggest that some standard legal-forensic principles can help us disentangle the claims and counter-claims. These involve (a) identifying interested parties, and discounting their promotional ‘evidence’ as ‘self-serving’; (b) identifying genuinely independent evidence, whether from witnesses or technical experts; and (c) making use of ‘admissions against interest’. These are standard concepts in criminal law.

In practice, it means putting to one side ALL the claims and arguments of interested parties. That is, ignore everything said by the Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and their media; and put aside everything said by the armed groups and their supporters, that includes the governments and media of the USA, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel. We also have to ignore paid agents of the warring parties, such as the Aleppo Media Centre (paid by NATO governments), the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (paid by Britain), ‘Bellingcat’ (paid by the US Government) and others. This includes Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which have both help sell false pretexts for intervention and war. For example, Amnesty International had backed the false ‘incubator babies’ story that helped drive the first Gulf war against Iraq; they backed (but later retracted) false allegations against Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi; and in 2012 they praised the NATO occupation of Afghanistan (Anderson 2018).

What do we have left? Genuinely independent evidence! Let’s look at that in the four most publicized chemical weapons claims: Khan al Asal (2013), East Ghouta (2013), Khan Sheikoun (2017) and Douma (2018).

The first alleged use of sarin gas in Syria was in April 2013 at Khan al Asal, on the western outskirts of Aleppo city. The Syrian government reported to the UN that anti-government armed groups had used sarin gas, killing 25 and wounding dozens more, both soldiers and civilians. In May 2013 investigator Carla del Ponte confirmed that the UN had evidence of the ‘rebel’ use of sarin gas. Also in May 2013 Turkish police reported finding a 2kg canister of sarin, after raiding the homes of Jabhat al Nusra (al Qaeda) members in Turkey (Anderson 2016: 199-201).

The UN eventually sent weapons inspectors to Damascus, in August 2013. However, just as these inspectors arrived in Damascus, a sarin incident was staged in the East Ghouta area. Video and photos were published of sick or dead children, and the armed groups and their sponsors blamed the incident on the Syrian Army. Syria denied it. The armed groups claimed up to 1,400 were killed, but only eight bodies were reported buried. Syrians questioned the origins of the pictured children, as the area in question had long been a war zone and ghost town, with no schools. It was suspected that these may have been kidnapped children (ISEAMS 2013). This incident overshadowed and delayed the Khan al Asal investigation, and led to an international crisis which was partly resolved by the Russian proposal to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpiles.

UN Investigation of this second major allegation, the August 2013 East Ghouta incident, was given priority over the earlier Khal al Asal investigation. Nevertheless, in December 2013 the UN team presented a report on those and other reported incidents of that year. Because of divisions at the Security Council, the investigators were asked to report on the actual incidents, but without seeking to cast blame. They found that chemical weapons had been used on five occasions (Khan al Asal, East Ghouta, Jobar, Saraqueb, and Ashrafieh Sahnaya), and on three of those occasions, they were used against soldiers (UNMIAUCWSAA 2013). Only the armed groups were attacking Syrian soldiers. That finding discredited a key argument from the Obama White House, that only the Syrian government had the capacity to launch a sarin attack.

Two additional independent reports undermined the August 2013 accusations. A January 2014 report by MIT scientists Richard Lloyd and Professor Theodore Postol found that the improvised rockets used had a range of only 2 kilometers and so “could not possibly” have been fired at the East Ghouta site from any of the closest Syrian Army positions, as had been suggested by the White House report. Richard Lloyd had been a UN Weapons Inspector, while Professor Ted Postol had been a forensic advisor to the US military. Their independence was unquestionable. A third independent report came from famous investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. His report (‘Whose Sarin’, December 2013) found that many in the US intelligence community did not believe the White House report, which omitted all reference to the evidence of sarin possessed by Jabhat al Nusra (al Qaeda). “When the attack occurred al Nusra should have been a suspect, but the [Obama] administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad,” wrote Hersh.

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So, when stripped of the clamor from the warring parties and their supporters, the independent evidence of East Ghouta incident of August 2013 lines up against the al Qaeda groups, which controlled much of the East Ghouta area and wanted a pretext for greater military assistance from NATO.

We can apply the same principles to the third highly publicized incident, the alleged sarin attack on Khan Sheikoun (Idlib). This served as the pretext for President Trump’s 7 April 2017 missile attack on Shayrat airbase in Syria. By this time Syria, with help from Russia and Iran, were driving back the armed ‘jihadists’. These groups and their supporters, in particular, the US government and various paid ‘information activists’ claimed it was an attack by the Syrian airforce; the Syrians denied it.

What did the independence evidence say? Once again Professor Ted Postol issued a report, the main focus of which was White House reports from the Trump administration. After analyzing the allegations, video and wind evidence he issued a rebuttal which said: “the nerve agent attack described in the White House report did not occur as claimed. There may well have been mass casualties from some kind of poisoning event, but that event was not the one described by the WHR” (Postol 2017a). Once again Syrians suspected kidnap victims were being used for these ‘false flag’ attacks. Later Postol issued a second and a third report. Taking into account further information argued by the jihadists in Idlib, and other US allies, he concluded: “the WHR was fabricated without input from the professional intelligence community” (Postol 2017b).

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In the Khan Sheikhoun case, US agencies used each other to lend the appearance of ‘corroboration’. So the US and UK funded groups, the White Helmets, provided ‘evidence’ of the Sarin attack to both the UN’s OPCW and to the US group Human Rights Watch (2017). Funded by the UK and US governments, there is substantial photographic and video evidence that The White Helmets are close affiliates of the armed Islamist groups in Syria, including Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS/DAESH (Beeley 2018; Hands Off Syria 2019). However, for the purpose of this analysis, it is sufficient to observe that their major funders are the governments of the UK and the USA, active parties in the war against the Syria Government. That alone disqualifies the White Helmets as a source of independent evidence. Nor is Human Rights Watch (HRW) an independent NGO. It is closely linked to the US foreign policy elite, and its leader Kenneth Roth has issued a series of demonstrably false claims about Syria, during the long war (Anderson 2018).

The OPCW would later report that there had been use of a “sarin like substance” in Khan Sheikhoun (OPCW 2017). However, even here they relied on evidence provided by the White Helmets, as no-one from the OPCW visited the site. This problem was discussed by another clearly independent expert, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Ritter had warned that Iraq had no significant weapons of mass destruction. He was ignored then but was later proven correct. In mid-2017 Ritter wrote that the Human Rights Watch claim that “the material cause of the Khan Sheikhoun event is a Soviet-made KhAB-250 chemical bomb” must be false as:

“if a KhAB-250, or any other air delivered chemical bomb had been used at Khan Sheikhoun, there would be significant physical evidence of that fact, including the totality of the bomb casing, the burster tube, the tail fin assembly and parachute” (Ritter 2017).

The OPCW was, therefore:

“in no position to make the claim … [that] a sarin-like substance was used at Khan Sheikhoun, a result that would seemingly compensate for both the lack of a bomb and the amateurish theatrics of the rescuers” (Ritter 2017).

The main reason for this was that there was a broken ‘chain of custody’ in taking samples from the site, out of Syria to the OPCW (Ritter 2017). That act was carried out by the obviously non-independent White Helmets.

We see once again that when the shrill propaganda is removed, and we pay attention to genuinely independent and qualified voices, we can see the makings of another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ scandal. The partisan sources mislead us.

The fourth and final widely-publicized, alleged chemical weapons incident was said to have been carried out just as the Syrian Army was about to liberate the city of Douma from al Qaeda and its allied ‘jihadists’. This was the alleged 7 April 2018 attack on Douma hospital. Notice that the Syrian Army, by this time, with Russian and Iranian help, had been steadily driving the armed groups out of the urban centers. Once again, any military rationale for the use of chemical weapons was absent. Yet that is what the Douma-based ‘Army of Islam’, the banned Jabhat al Nusra and their western sponsors claimed.

Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack white helmets 9166e

Once again the armed groups and their White Helmet partners issued video which showed people rushing around the hospital reception area, washing people including children with water. The White House and associated media and paid agencies (including the BBC, CNN, Bellingcat and the US-based ‘Syrian American Medical Society’) repeated the jihadists’ stories. The ‘Army of Islam’ media group, the Ghouta Media Centre, put out the story that ‘hundreds’ were killed and injured by a “barrel bomb containing sarin” (Embury-Denis 2018). A White House statement duly affirmed:

“The United States assesses with confidence that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons in the eastern Damascus suburb of Duma on April 7, 2018, killing dozens of men, women, and children … information points to the regime using chlorine in its bombardment of Duma, while some additional information points to the regime also using the nerve agent sarin” (White House 2018).

Most western media ran with this. Later the story would be revised to a ‘chlorine bomb’, after a photo of an unexploded tank was shown in a building.

After the Syrian Army took control of Douma, one of the children in that video would denounce the story, saying he was effectively dragged into his unexpected film role and experienced no toxic chemicals. Yet, because he contradicted the jihadists claims, western media suggested he might have been an “unwitting pawn” (Barker 2018). However, as well as this unwilling ‘victim’, no less than twelve hospital staff told media in Damascus that no chemical attack took place. Several of them were flown to The Hague to repeat this evidence. These doctors and nurses said, in various ways, that there had been an extended filmed commotion at reception; but there had been no air attack on the hospital, there were no fatalities and there had been no chemical weapons (RT 2018b). The British Guardian called this an ‘obscene masquerade’, organized by Russia. Western agencies claimed that these witnesses had probably been pressured by the Syrian Government (Wintour 2018). Before this particular controversy is dismissed we might observe that hospital staff in Douma could not have survived had they been government sympathizers. It is well known that both religious minorities and government supporters were murdered by the Army of Islam and Jabhat al Nusra. In that sense, those medical staffs were likely quite independent.

In any case, not long after the area was liberated the UN’s OPCW went in and made their report. First, they found no trace of any nerve agent: “no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected” (OPCW 2018). So much for the claims from the ‘Ghouta Media Centre’ and the White House. But what about the chlorine backup story? The UN team did find “various chlorinated organic chemicals … from two sites”. However “the FFM cannot confidently determine whether or not a specific chemical was used as a weapon” (OPCW 2018). This report was misused by some media to pretend that the UN group had found that chlorine was used as a weapon. Yet others pointed out that ‘chlorinated organic chemicals’ are found in most households, including as cleaning agents in hospitals. Although under great political pressure in New York, the UN team had rejected the Douma story.

Nevertheless, relying on the general spin over the OPCW report, the BBC (2018) headlined: ‘Douma attack was chlorine gas – watchdog’. This story was a misrepresentation of the OPCW report. It was soon deleted from BBC websites; but not before it had been picked up by several other sites (e.g. MyVueNews 2018).

To wrap up five disgraceful years of chemical weapons propaganda, forensic principles entitle us to look at independent statements, or ‘admissions against interest’, by the warring parties. That includes statements from military leaders in the USA and the UK. US Defence Secretary James Mattis, for example, both before and after the Douma incident, said that he had “no evidence” Syria had used sarin but was relying on media including social media stories. On 3 February 2018 Mattis was reported as saying: “We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used. We do not have evidence of it. We’re looking for evidence of it” (Burns 2018). In April, just days after the Douma claims, he told the US Congress: “We are not engaged on the ground there so I cannot tell you that we have evidence, even though we certainly had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used” (RT 2018a).

Two former British military leaders expressed their incredulity at the Douma claims, even though those claims had been backed by their government. That fact makes them both independent, as well as qualified. Former SAS commander British General Jonathan Shaw asked:

“Why would Assad use chemical weapons at this time? He’s won the war. That’s not just my opinion, it is shared by senior commanders in the US military. There is no rationale behind Assad’s involvement whatsoever. He’s convinced the rebels to leave occupied areas in buses. He’s gained their territory. So why would he be bothering gassing them?” (Basu 2018).

A similar opinion was expressed and developed further by Lord Alan West, former senior British government security advisor and former head of the British Navy:

“Just before he [President Assad] goes in and takes it [the Douma area] all over, apparently he decides to have chemical attack. It just doesn’t ring true, it seems extraordinary because clearly, he would know that there is likely to be a response from the allies … what benefit is there for his military? Most of the rebel fighters, this disparate group of Islamists, have withdrawn, there are a few women and children left around. What benefit is there is doing what he did [sic]? I find that extraordinary. Whereas we know that in the past some of the Islamic groups have used chemicals, and of course there would be huge benefit for them in labeling an attack as coming from Assad, because they would guess quite rightly that there would be a response from the US, as there was last time, and possibly from the UK and France … The reports that came from there were from the White Helmets who, let’s face it, are not neutrals, you know, they are very much on the side of the disparate groups who are fighting Assad” (NewsVoice 2018).

These are genuinely independent assessments from two military experts. ‘Similar fact’ principles of criminal law entitle us to apply their rationales over Douma to the earlier claims made by the same armed groups in the same area, back in August 2013. That is, there is a pattern of behavior from these armed groups, involving repeated fabricated claims, to gain greater outside military support. This ‘similar fact’ pattern increases confidence in the evidence that they have indeed been fabricating their claims against the Syrian Army.

When we remove the clamor from the warring parties, their media, and paid propagandists, the independent evidence points in one direction: every single claim of chemical weapon use by the Syrian Army was a fabrication. As Lord Alan West said, the al Qaeda aligned groups wanted to attract greater western military support. Western governments and media went along with this extended ‘WMD’ hoax. The scandal served to hide naked US-led aggression against Syria. Western audiences were played, for the second time in a decade, over a ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ scam. Most took the bait.

POROSHENKO GOVERNMENT MAY STAGE CHEMICAL ATTACK TO PROVOKE NEW ROUND OF HOSTILITIES IN EASTERN UKRAINE

South Front

05.12.2018

Poroshenko Government May Stage Chemical Attack To Provoke New Round Of Hostilities In Eastern Ukraine

ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE: AFP 2018 / YURIY DYACHYSHYN

The military command of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) received information regarding several scenarios of a Ukrainian offensive in Donbass. The details of the alleged Kiev plan were announced by the deputy chief of the People’s Militia of the DPR Eduard Basurin on December 4.

“Our intelligence obtained reliable data on the training of Western curators, together with the Ukrainian command of several options for the offensive,” Basurin said in a statement.

Most notably, there is allegedly a chemical attack being planned in the Kiev-controlled settlements in the Gorlovka area in eastern Ukraine. Prior to this, intelligence suggested that the preparation of such a scenario was being prepared by British experts.

The DPR Militia stated that in Mariupol bloody provocations are being prepared on land and sea. Both scenarios are designed for numerous casualties among the civilian population and the armed forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the subsequent accusation in this of the forces of the People’s Militia.

“This occasion will immediately be used to deliver a massive missile and air strike on the critical objects of the Republics. In particular, artillery and aviation will hit the places that store military equipment, established by the Minsk agreements, weapons and fuel warehouses,  civilian infrastructure,” Basurin said.

The People’s Militia didn’t rule out that these scenarios can be implemented consecutively, “to guarantee the image of the tyrant in the face of the Republic’s leadership in the eyes of the international community and justify the total mobilization of Ukrainian citizens into the ranks of Ukrainian military.”

On December 5, concerns about a possible staged chemical attack in eastern Ukraine were repeated by a spokesperson for the Russian Foriegn Ministry Mariya Zakharova.

“We are calling on the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] monitoring mission to intensify their activities in Donbas. What is needed is a comprehensive picture on the military preparations by Ukraine, not some fragmented pieces of information,” she said.

On December 1st, Basurin warned that Kiev is preparing for a large-scale offensive against the DPR.

“Training of the shock group is underway. This is evidenced by the concentration on the Mariupol tactical direction of three brigades – 79 separate assault and assault brigades, 36 separate brigades of marines and 128 separate mountain assault brigades, who received the task of conducting offensive operations in the Novoazovsk region in early December with access to the border with Russia,” he said.

According to him, breaking through the first line of defense was entrusted to elite formations of paratroopers and marines. Basurin considers this a tactical mistake of Kiev and the “incompetence of the Commander of the Combined Forces Sergey Naev, who for the sake of devotion to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is ready to sacrifice personnel for the sake of achieving dubious goals.”

On November 21st, the head of the press services of the People’s Militia Daniil Bezsonov quoted intelligence that suggested a group of British military expertshad  arrived in Artyomovsk under control of Kiev to participate in a chemical attack in the north of the republic.

“The Ukrainian side does not leave intentions to conduct chemical sabotage in the north of the DPR. Our intelligence obtained data on the arrival at the headquarters of the 72nd brigade in Artyomovsk a group of military specialists from the UK,” he was cited as saying.

According to the provided information, some of the arrivals are part of the units of the special operations forces of the armed forces of the United Kingdom. Also, according to DPR intelligence reports, in the populated areas of Dacha and Dzerzhinsk, 2 and 5 km from the contact line, there was an arrival of special units with personal equipment for chemical protection and boxes with chemical hazard warning.

Furthermore, following the incident between a Ukrainian naval group and Russian coastal guards on November 25th, Ukraine decided to impose martial law in 10 regions, primarily along the Russian border. On November 27thTASS cited the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who warned that the imposition of martial law could lead to an escalation in the Donbass.

“This is Ukraine’s domestic affair, but amid the elections, certainly, such a step as imposing martial law has a special undisguised undertone. Potentially, the imposition of martial law in some regions may pose a risk of escalating tensions in the conflict-hit region, namely the southeast,” Peskov said.

So far, if the reports by the DPR are accurate it does appear that there are plans for an escalation in the Donbass.

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The West Stays Mum About Aleppo Chemical Attack

By Alex Gorka
Source

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More than 100 people were injured as a result of a chemical attack in Aleppo on Nov. 24. The Syrian government asked the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to the city. Evidently the rebels were responsible. The West’s reaction has been surprising. Unlike in previous instances, the West has stayed mum instead of creating an uproar after the attacks and blaming Syria without any sort of thorough investigation to prove its guilt.

When rebel-controlled areas came under chemical attacks, Western leaders raised a hue and cry, but they more or less shrugged it off when civilians living in Aleppo’s government-controlled areas became the targets — shot by 120-mm mortars firing chlorine-filled rounds. The shelling came from Idlib — the province where the remaining rebels are based. There is no way the Syrian government troops could have been the perpetrators. Nobody would believe a story claiming that they attacked their own forces so deep behind their own lines. Russia and Syria are proud of the fact they have established peace in Aleppo, and they have no interest in disturbing it.

Neither the US nor its comrades-in-arms — the UK and France — is launching missile and air attacks to strike rebel-held positions in Idlib. And no one is rushing toward international podiums to do any finger-pointing. No statements have been issued from either Washington or Brussels as of Nov. 27. The silence is deafening.

Only French President Macron has announced that his country is condemning the use of chemical weapons in general and in the Syrian city of Aleppo in particular. Some time ago, Paris was vigorously advocating for the West’s intervention in Syria. It joined the US military actions against Syrian government forces. French special forces operate side-by-side with their American counterparts there. The French president has always expressed his indignation and condemnation of the Syrian government for the things it has not done. This time he failed to castigate the radicals in Idlib for the crime they really did commit.

It was Russian forces who attacked the terrorist positions from where mortars were firing chemical rounds, according to intelligence sources. The Russian Air Force prevented another chemical attack in order to protect civilians. Russian and Syrian medical personnel saved human lives by rapidly coming to their aid. Syria and Russia joined efforts in an investigation to produce proof that it was Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants (the former Jabhat al-Nusra) who perpetrated this war crime.

Russia had warned that the White Helmets were preparing to stage such an attack while freely operating in the terrorist-controlled areas. They had been painted in the West as human-rights defenders until their group was exposed as terrorist collaborators. Interestingly, the group had always operated in areas controlled by the extremists, never in zones held by the so-called “moderate opposition.”

But the question is — why were the Russian warnings  ignored? Another question — what will the OPCW do after it has acquired new powers to hand down verdicts about who is to blame? Russian experts are already there investigating and producing tangible results, while that global watchdog is not sure if it is safe enough for a team to be sent to Aleppo! Even if it goes in, it’ll have lost too much time to be able to conduct an effective investigation. The way to do it is to arrive on the scene quickly and gather evidence. It has not done this. Will it cooperate with the Russian military as it should? After all, Russia has hard evidence it can produce, otherwise it would not have attacked Idlib and breached the ceasefire accord. It protected the civilians in Aleppo knowing perfectly it would have to justify its actions.

In any event, the chemical attack in Aleppo is an acid test that will demonstrate the OPCW’s ability to beef up its credibility as an international body empowered with the authority to assign blame. The inspectors did not travel to Syria’s Shayrat air base to conduct an inspection after the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack last year, nor did they go to see with their own eyes what really happened in Douma, where a chemical attack took place in April. It’ll have to behave more responsibly this time, even if its own safety is not guaranteed.

The idea behind the attack was to provoke a clash between Turkey, which is responsible for the situation in Idlib, and the Russian-backed Syrian government that is defending Aleppo. But those plans fell apart when they were exposed by Russian intelligence. The attack was not unexpected. And there was one other thing that was exposed as a result — the duplicity of the West.

CHLORINE TERRORIST ATTACK IN ALEPPO SEES 100+ CASUALTIES

Source

Doctors have treated over 100 civilians, including four children, following the attack by terrorists with chlorine bombs in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, the emergency department of a hospital in Aleppo, Shervan Sheho, told reporters on Sunday.

— UPDATE AT 11:30 GMT +2, FRN RAN THIS ARTICLE WITH THE FIGURE OF CASUALTIES AT 70. THE NUMBER IS CONFIRMED NOW OVER 100 —

“All of the people hospitalized have difficulty breathing and their eyes are tearing,” he said. “In medicine, this is called a gas allergy,” he said.

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One of the eyewitness accounts of the attack, Ahmet Mohammed, told reporters that the victims did not feel the first signs of poisoning.

“My brother was at home, he heard that the bombs were falling, but he did not think anything terrible had happened. However, after two hours his condition worsened, it was difficult for him to breathe, the ambulance took him to a hospital” , said Mohammed.

A resident of Nile Street in Aleppo, Galia Ali, said she received the first aid in the hospital, and only later she was able to return home.

“But my daughter’s condition worsened and my family took her to the hospital,” the woman added.

The city of Aleppo was liberated by Syrian government troops in 2016 after fighting militant groups and terrorists. However, the city continues to suffer attacks on the outter suburbs.

The Russian Center for Syrian Conciliation previously said militants were preparing new provocations with the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, terrorists from the Islamic Party of Turkey took to Syria at least 20 containers with 10 liters of chlorine each. The delivery would have been motivated by an attempt to stage new provocations.

The Russian Defense Ministry also warned that the Al-Nusra affiliated terrorist group Tahrir al-Sham was planning a chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria to provoke the West and incite retaliation against Damascus.

Russian military chemists arrived in Aleppo, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Gendfal Igor Konashenkov said.

“Groups of radiation, chemical and biological protection units with special equipment located in Syria arrived at the bombing area with urgency. They work with the wounded taken to medical institutions and monitor the situation in the area where the militants used poisonous substances “Konashenkov said.

The symptoms of the wounded show that, most likely, the pumps were filled with chlorine, he added.

“According to preliminary data confirmed in particular by the symptoms of poisoned victims, the bombs that were fired in residential areas of Aleppo were filled with chlorine,” the spokesman said.

He pointed out that Russia had already drawn attention to the fact that the White Helmets organization was attempting to organize chemical weapons provocations in the demilitarized zone around Idlib to accuse government forces of using chemical weapons against the local population.

“It is clear that White Helmets are directly linked to terrorist organizations operating in Syria and, in particular, the Idlib de-escalation zone,” he said.

Western states have accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of having carried out a chemical weapons attack in the city of Duma on 7 April. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, rumors that a gas poisoning would have occurred in Duma were spread to justify foreign interference. The Armed Forces of Russia also issued an alert on 13 March stating that there were plans for provocations in Syria.

In response to alleged chemical weapons attacks in the Duma, the United States, Britain and France launched an attack on Syria targeting a number of targets, including alleged chemical weapons factories.

The international community has expressed concern over the use of chemical weapons in Syria since the alleged use of Sarin gas in Damascus in 2013. Following the incident, Syria joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and agreed to destroy your arsenal of chemical weapons.

On 4 January 2016, the OPCW released a report confirming the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal.

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