Alleged Chemical Attack, August 24, 2013

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to navigation Jump to search

On August 24, 2013, soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army were allegedly affected by sarin nerve agent fired by militants they were confronting in outer Jobar, near the location of the Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013 and its suggested rocket firing spot. At least ten soldiers were admitted with serious symptoms, and blood tests verified and even replicated by the OPCW a month later confirm sarin in the blood of at least some of the soldiers. A facility with the same kind of munition used was discovered, along with many items best suited for handling sarin and loading it into weapons, including mortar shells, larger canisters, propane tanks, etc. It seems to be from this lab that two sealed canisters the same exact kind reportedly used in the attack on the 24th) were tested by the OPCW and also found to contain sarin. But indications are the influential opinion behind the scenes holds that the Syrian government produced that sarin, however exactly it got to be in that facility and in its troops.


United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic December, 2013

"Based on interviews conducted by the United Nations Mission with military commanders, soldiers, clinicians and nurses, it can be ascertained that, on 24 August 2013, a group of soldiers were tasked to clear some buildings near the river in Jobar under the control of opposition forces (see figures 7.1 and 7.2). At around 1100 hours, the intensity of the shooting from the opposition subsided and the soldiers were under the impression that the other side was retreating. Approximately 10 meters away from some soldiers, an improvised explosive device (IED) reportedly detonated with a low noise, releasing a badly smelling gas."

The report relates how ten soldiers were affected enough to force a retreat to the hospital, with four of the were especially bad off, unable to stand. The symptoms were consistent with sarin exposure, and tests would apparently confirm this (see below)

"The Syrian authorities provided the remnants of two IEDs allegedly used to disperse the chemical agent during the incident in Jobar on 24 August 2013, which were collected from the site of the incident by one Syrian officer."

"One of the IEDs showed signs of having undergone a complete detonation. The second was relatively intact due to partial detonation, thus enabling a study of its characteristics. The containers observed and photographed by the United Nations Mission (see figures 7.3, 7.4 and 7.5) were made of steel sheeting, with a thickness of 1 millimeter, bent and welded together until obtaining its final shape and dimensions. Their surfaces did not receive any form of painting or coating and both presented signs of superficial corrosion."

Figure 7.6 relates the dimensions... Jobar Map 2020 overview.png

Sarin Findings (Soldiers)

a badly smelling gas" reported by the affected soldiers is probably the same "foul" and "strange" odor in all other credibly described sarin cases: Sarin and the foul irritant(s)

"A group of 10 soldiers was evacuated in armoured personal vehicles to the field medical point with breathing difficulties, blurred vision and with strange symptoms not further specified. Four soldiers were severely affected. They were only partially conscious and not able to support themselves. They were treated with intravenous fluids and oxygen before being sent to Martyr Yusuf Al Azmah Military Hospital. Another 20 alleged victims arrived later at the same hospital with similar symptoms, but they were in stable condition and were, after some time, sent back to their units."

… Table 7.1 gives biomedical samples: Subject B116 tested Positive in both labs 2 and 3 for sarin in plasma samples taken 26/09/13.

Weapons Lab

Figure 7.6 showed the "intact IED" that should have the same measurements as "the munition allegedly used" suggests it's not one of the two used. And the date for that IED's (use? discovery?) is 25 August. The following paragraph relates the discovery of more such shells on 25 August, but also claiming it's immediately following "the Jobar incident on 25 August 2013," which is an error.

"The United Nations Mission was also presented with two metal canisters discovered by Government soldiers during the offensive operations in Jobar on 25 August 2013 in the immediate aftermath of the incident and in close vicinity of the site of the alleged incident. These presented similar characteristics with the IEDs claimed to have been used to disperse the chemical agent in the Jobar incident on 25 August 2013 (see figure 7.6 above)."

The report also includes an image of the detonated shell's fire train, gives notes on the construction (prob. amateur but skilled), lack of painting, estimated volume of four liters.

"The United Nations Mission, however, could not independently verify the information received, therefore, it did not establish the provenance of the IEDs and could not link them to the location of the alleged use. While the United Nations Mission visited the site, it found the site to have been corrupted by mine-clearing activities. As such, there was no probative value in collecting samples. The Syrian Government allegedly recovered soil samples from the impact site that tested positive for Sarin. The United Nations Mission could not verify the chain of custody for this sampling and subsequent analysis."

This apparently refers to the same facility filmed by Syrian, Abkhazian, Russian, and Chinese news media - found to include 4 copies of the same kind of munition linked to the incident on the 24th.

8-24-2013 UN Munition 2.png

Jobar Lab 2.jpg

Jobar Lab Lloyd Slide 2.png

Imagery sources:

Room Overview.png In the room (to be revised/improved by anyone), from right front back, left, left side to front:

  • 2 long gas cylinders (gray, dark blue),
  • tubular rocket (engine?) and (detonator?),
  • 2 35cm shells (blue square above)
  • grenades, white residue, loose (pins?)
  • 2 large propane tanks
  • various welded canisters/incomplete IEDs
  • 2 35cm shells (green square)
  • another propane tank
  • torn open box of (atropine?) ampules, I.V.C. brand, fluid bags for IV infusion (sarin treatments)
  • mortar shells, white residue
  • bundles and bagged dry substances, powder
  • batteries/power sources/adaptors
  • rolls of clear adhesive tape
  • tall white gas cylinder
  • large sacks of powder (one labeled, Saudi?)
  • 5 plastic 5-gallon jugs (one yellow, 4 blue)
  • box for protective coveralls (likely in there, maybe never used)
  • more I.V.C. ampules pulled from a torn-open box
  • a pile of gas masks, seeming near new, just pulled from or still in 2+ plastic containers w/lid and shoulder strap, several new plastic gloves, mostly still bagged.
  • another 5 gallon yellow drum, labeled (better res. would be legible)
  • a large wooden spool for (electrical wiring?)

Sarin Findings (Weapons Lab)

“The Joint Mission confirmed that these contained sarin,” said Ban’s letter. The letter said the cylinders were “reportedly seized by the armed forces of the Syrian Arab Republic in August 2013 in an area reportedly under the control of armed opposition groups.” OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said in a report attached to Ban’s letter that the Syrian government declared the cylinders “as abandoned chemical weapons,” but neither Uzumcu nor Ban stated when they were handed over to the joint mission. Uzumcu said the Syrian government told the OPCW “the items did not belong to it.”

Jean-Pascal Zanders, August 2014: "Analysis of their contents by the OPCW confirmed sarin as their payload. Moreover, the filling displayed all the characteristics of sarin as produced by the Syrian government, the principal telltale sign being the presence of hexamine (hexamethylenetetramine). … Strictly speaking, the chemical analysis of the sarin in the two ACW confirms beyond any doubt that the nerve agent was produced by means of the same process as the one used by the Syrian government. The distinctive signature, however, cannot exclude the possibility that insurgents might have captured some CW. Western officials tend not to give much credence to this hypothesis."

Explained in a comment: "The OPCW carried out separate chemical analyses on its contents (as stated in the posting), the results of which are not in the public domain. The hexamine presence was confirmed in several discussions I have had over the past two months with people closely following the Syria dossier, including government officials, diplomats and scientists."