Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, April 11, 2014

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Sources

"There is information that the terrorist al-Nusra Front released toxic chorine...leading to the death of two people and causing more than 100 people to suffer from suffocation," State TV said, adding, "There is information that al-Nusra Front is preparing to hit Wadi Deif in Idlib Province and Morek in Hama Province with toxic chorine or sarin."
This time, the Syrian government sent a letter to the United Nations on March 25 saying that it monitored communications between the opposition in Jobar, which is adjacent to the capital, indicating that “the terrorist organizations are going to launch attacks by using poison gas with the aim of framing government forces.”
While the opposition has remained silent, Israel this time led the charge of accusing the regime of using chemical weapons. On April 7, the Israeli Channel 10 website reported a “major Israeli security source” saying that the Syrian army has gone back to using chemical weapons against the opposition forces. It used it at least in one case on March 17 in Harasta, eastern Damascus. According to the Israeli security source, the material used was not deadly chemical weapons found on the list of prohibited materials based on the agreement with the West, but rather substances that cripple those exposed to it for several hours.
After four days, the Syrian opposition grabbed the accusation and ran with it. The Syrian National Coalition issued a statement asking the international community to investigate the use of poison gas by the regime in Harasta. The Western press started again to play the tune of the regime using chemical weapons. Yesterday, the regime and the opposition exchanged accusations about using poison gas in the town of Kfar Zita in the Hama countryside.
Washington has distanced itself from this debate so far.
The Syrian regime and the opposition agree that an attack took place in Kfar Zeita, but they each blame each other. Given the political situation, the truth may never be known.
The United States has indications that a toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used in Syria this month and is examining whether the Syrian government was responsible, the U.S. State Department said on Monday. "We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical" in the town of Kfar Zeita, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, referring to a rebel-held area. ... "We take all allegations of the use of chemicals in combat use very seriously," she said." We'll work with the OPCW, who is obviously overseeing the implementation, and determine if any violation occurred."
Syrian opposition activists reported that helicopters dropped chlorine gas on Kfar Zeita on April 11 and 12. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, told ABC television's "This Week" on April 13 that the attack was "unsubstantiated." ... Rebel activists posted photographs and video they said showed an improvised chlorine bomb to back up their claims about Kfar Zeita. The government accused rebels of using the chemical. Asked about the government charge, Psaki said: "We're examining allegations. We're obviously looking at the facts on the ground. We shouldn't forget the context of what the regime has been capable of in the past."
Some U.S. lawmakers who have expressed deep skepticism about the chemical weapons agreement said the report, if verified, backed their long-standing call for President Barack Obama's administration to provide more support for the Syrian rebels. "The Assad regime continues to carry out war crimes in its slaughter of innocent men, women, and children. Its breach of the chemical weapons agreement should surprise no one, and unless the Obama administration is willing to force a price for such behavior, we should only expect more atrocities to come," Republican U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona, a frequent critic of Obama's foreign policy, said in a statement. [1]
Chlorine, a so-called dual-use chemical that has industrial uses, is not on the list of chemical weapons submitted to the OPCW but was produced in Syria before the war. It should have been declared if the government has it, an OPCW spokesman said. [2]
President Bashar al-Assad is still using chemical weapons against civilians, a scientific analysis of samples from multiple gas attacks has shown.
In the first independent testing of its kind, conducted exclusively for The Telegraph, soil samples from the scene of three recent attacks in the country were collected by trained individuals known to this news organisation and analysed by a chemical warfare expert.
Our results show sizeable and unambiguous traces of chlorine and ammonia present at the site of all three attacks.
Meanwhile, he says, ammonia and chlorine are volatile and reactive, and should have disappeared quickly. "Two weeks after a release I would expect no traces of chlorine or ammonia to be present in a soil sample," says Trapp. There are other common industrial sources for each gas. Zanders says he would expect to see evidence of corroded metals near the attack – the hallmark of a chlorine release.
  • Human Rights Watch, May 13: Syria: Strong Evidence Government Used Chemicals as a Weapon - Civilian Casualties in Barrel Bomb Attacks on 3 Towns. This is a pretty detailed report, and makes the case (perfectly clear here) that the first one at least has yellow (roughly chlorine-color) smoke at the base of the explosion. Could it be they did drop a chlorine bomb here? Or a regular bomb on a rebel chlorine stash?

Video

  • Collection of recent videos allegedly showing scenes of chlorine poisoning (not necessarily on the 11th), some more obviously fake than others, by @Syricide. Here for example are two hilarious "doctors" with sunglasses. --CE (talk) 11:26, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
caption open to the clever
Indirect evidence video: now that chlorine was falling on the hapless Sunnis and they beg for protection, someone decides to show ... how they have their kids hide from the bombs in trenches now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BINlLSDW5w8 - as LCC April 12 report describes "Children hide in a trench in Kafr Zeta in northern Hama province as warplanes fly overhead." No warplanes audible, no real worry shown. It's a light0hearted staged scene. But WTF were they thinking we'd think? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:51, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

VDC

The Syrian Center for documentation of violations (CDV) issued a report:

(English version) Google translated from Arabic, this report calls for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons "to send a specialist team to the sites which were exposed to these gases and open an immediate investigation," a referral to the ICC, and for the UN security council to force the Syrian government to both allow UN inspectors into the cirty, and to halt all military activity against rebels in "the city," to preserve the evidence of course. [3]

This report draws on activists, field clinic doctors, a "defected colonel" (who explained Assad's motive), and more, to make these claims: - 3 barrels of explosive at around six in the evening of Friday, 11.04.2014 , and two others were about eleven o'clock at night. - One medical source said "the smell of the gas used was very clear as chlorine gas which is similar to a preparation ( Clorox ) which is used in homes , the temperature was relatively warm with winds of medium Alsrahmma led to the erosion of the smell of gas surroundings 500 meters from the (impact site." - Rebel medics collected blood and urine samples from the five most effected. Those seem to be 5% of a total of about "the estimated 100 cases." "Following treatment provided improved state of 95% of the patients except for five cases of severely infected , where was converted to 3 hospitals in northern Syria." - The death toll is unclear but low. All they specify is an unidentified child actually killed by a head injury (caused by the barrel bomb but complicated by the gas), and a 70-year-old man from Morek named Mustafa Ahmed al-Mohammad, also killed by head trauma. Actual gas fatalities, unclear, possibly zero. Most victims were "displaced" people (often meaning hostages) from Morek. "It is worth mentioning that most of the injured were displaced from the neighboring city of Mork." Yes it is.

A second gassing the following day is mentioned:

Also been used explosive barrels loaded and toxic chemical gas for a second time the next day 12.04.2014 where they were shelling of the city by four explosive barrels each bearing gases and toxic chemical led to get the same symptoms when dozens of residents of the city have been bombing in the warm eastern part of the city , according to witnesses eye . The activists filmed two barrels after their fall , one of them did not explode ; They said it contains gases that led to the injuries . They have images of this. See the device, below. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:17, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

-- VDC entry: Mustafa Ahmad al-Mohammad age 70, from Morek. Martyrdom location Hama: Kaferzita, killed 4-11 by Warplane shelling. Notes IDP, Due to explosive barrel shelling on the town, injured in the head, his daughter died in 16-04 due to inhaling chemical and toxic gasses which has been used in Kaferzita. -- VDC entry: Marwa Mustafa Ahmad al-Mohammad AF age 30, single, from Morek, Martyrdom location Turkey. Cause of Death Chemical and toxic gases. Notes Due to exposure to toxic Chlorine gas in Kafarzieta on 11-04-2014 where she was displaced, transferred to another Hospital out side of Kafarzieta because of her sever symptoms, died in the Hospital she was transferred to. (links to report)

So it took 5 more days for the second person to die - long after chlorine effects should wear off. So one could wonder, if this I true, how the government knew 2 died back on day 2. Or were there 2, with her the third? VDC doesn't have a clear match - woman age 25 by shelling in a village I can't place, some brothers tortured, etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:00, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

The report mentioned a girl, implicitly one of the Morek IDPs, but no such entry appeared. However, this must be her, only Idlib girl to die that day: Daughter of Shareef Qeytaz mother's name: Hayah Ahmed Qeytaz (not the usual "maiden" name). But she's from Maarat Numan, it says. Martyred due to the air regime's helicopters shelling. And they either list her twice, or she had a sister or relative who also died: Rama Mahmoud Quitaz (suggests father named Mahmoud, not Sharif) Also from Maarat Numan, but died in Turkey, only on April 13. Notes: "Martyred due to her wounds sustained due to the regime air forces' shelling before two days." So, on the 11th ... wherever. Confusing. Photo included: wrapped for burial, major black eye, small mark above other eye, face intact but head massively wrapped. Possible smoke-staining of nostrils and gums, would suggest prolonged smoke exposure during "displacement." --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:20, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Comparing the 13 deaths in the OPCW third report with the VDC deaths attributed to chemical weapons, 9 of them are matched. The family of 4 in Talmanah who died after an attack on 22 May don't appear in VDC at all. The teenage girl in the al-Sousy family who OPCW reports as dying in hospital outside Syria doesn't appear in the VDC records.
Quick correction: I just didn't look for the May deaths. Only CW or Hama death May 22: Soad al-Alloshy adult female, from Soran, died in Idlib:Tamanaah (north of Maan) notes: IDP, due to inhaling Chlorine gas which has being delivered by Arial barrels shelling, due to sever breathing problems. Delayed deaths don't help (up to June 6) The other 3 aren't listed. And the April 18 attack, also in Tamanah, I now see (VDC martyrdom location) has only 3. 8 killed in 2 attacks, per OPCW, 4 listed by VDC. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

More thoughs on the OPCW report:-

1. Of the 13 fatal cases, 9 deaths occurred "while en route to higher medical echelons". Something lethal about these ambulance journeys.

2. The OPCW team seems to accept that the deaths were caused by chlorine on the basis of what they were told by the doctors, plus one or two photos showing dead people with cyanosis. “These [13 fatal] victims presented acute lung injuries induced by toxic gases followed by pulmonary oedema” but it appears that the evidence of lung injury followed by pulmonary oedema is is just based on what they were told, not on reviewing chest X-rays or slides made at autopsy.

3. The best-documented fatal cases would be the three who died in hospital outside Syria - but it's not clear from the report that the OPCW team had any documentation of these hospital episodes. They didn't apparently visit the (presumably Turkish) hospitals. Pmr9 (talk) 16:48, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Good thoughts. Looks like an exercise in acceptance. They're pretty zen that way. Doing some comparison now checking that report. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:48, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

SOHR Facebook

  • April 11 final toll: No mention. 4 soldiers, two civilians, one rebel killed.
  • April 12 final toll: No mention either. 5 soldiers, one civilian, one JaN fighter "killed by barrels bombardment on Hama countryside. ."
  • April 13 final toll: Still nothing. 3 soldiers, 3 civilians, 1 JaN.
  • April 14: Same. 2 civilians, 1 rebel, 4 soldiers.
  • April 15: "Hama province: The airforce renewed bombardment on the Kafrzeita town amid regime bombardment on parts of the Mourk town with no reports of injuries. 1 woman suffocated to death after aerial bombardment on the Kafrzeita town and its surrounding areas."

Apparently, then the people who knew about this attack at the time are not members of SOHR's extensive activist network. People outside that include the Syrian government, the various Islamist and especially al-Qaeda groups ... also, it suggests that this helicopter dropping this regime-improvised device was not terribly visible to the wider populace, which will include SOHR types, normally. Maybe it was a low-flying chopper, killing people in a basement somewhere? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:14, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Incident Delineation

Since we've lost track of new CW allegations until this story hit, it might be useful here to catalog and sort out what we've missed. It seems April has been a busy month for toxic molecules in Syria.

Kafr Zita location: 25 km northeast of Hama city (on Wikimapia)

Kafr Zita Area

Map with Sherlock Telegraph report shows the 3 successful attacks - April 11 and 18 in KZ, 21 in Talmenes. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:29, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

  • April 11, Kafr Zita main subject: around 100 effected, 5 seriously, none fatally. Two others died from head injuries. Both were IDPs. (see #VDC)
  • April 12: failed attack, see Brown Moses
  • April 18: Kafr Zita (some say) or Tamanah on WM. VDC lists 3 victims: Amina Mustafa Iskandar, Adult - Female married with 2 children, from Khan Sheikhoun. Notes: IDP, a father and a mother and their son killed due to exposure to chemical and toxic gasses by the government force helicopter shelling. The others: Abdul Naser Hasan al-Sousy Adult - Male Mohammad Abdul Naser Hasan al-Sousy Child - Male video - specified as Amina's son, all from KS, IDP, same notes. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:27, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Martyrdom location for these: Idlib:Tamanaah --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:06, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
On Monday, opposition groups reported a further attack, this time 20 miles northeast of Kfar Zeita in the town of Telminnes. Video footage was posted on YouTube by several opposition groups of men, women and children being treated in a field hospital. Many appeared to have trouble breathing and medics held them down. One boy who looked less than 10 years old shook as a medic poured a liquid on his eyes and in his mouth.

A Reuters photograph of another young boy who had been transferred to a hospital closer to the Turkish border showed him lying dead on a stretcher with blood around his mouth. Medics said he had been exposed to chlorine gas at Telminnes. Videos from the site of Monday's bombing showed the same yellow canisters, this time twisted from an explosion. [2]

VDC: all Idlib CW deaths in this span = 3 total from Telmenes. Mahmoud Abdul Razaq Hashash "Nawas" child-male, age 7, died 4-21 "Martyred due to exposure to Chlorine gas which was contained in a barrel bomb shelled on his house, delivered by the government helicopter" 2 delayed deaths in Turkey, both listed on April 25: Maryomeh Abdul Razak al-Hashash"Nawas, girl, 14, from Telmenes, "Martyred with her brother due to exposure to Chlorine gas which was contained in a barrel bomb shelled on their house on 21-04-2014, delivered by the government helicopter" Khadiga Mohammad Barkat, A-F, Telmenes, Martyred with due to exposure to Chlorine gas which was contained in a barrel bomb delivered by the government helicopter on a house on 21-04-2014 --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:27, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Elsewhere

Reuters, April 21, reports on at least four allegations just in in April, the last being "last week" in the Damascus suburb of Harasta, posting "footage of four men being treated by medics. [1]

VDC records of all CW deaths April 10-15 show only two - both unidentified non-civilians (rebels) killed in Harasta. Notes say "Three martyred due to regime use of chemical and toxic gasses on Harsta front in a tunnel, the three bodies couldn't be retrieved . VDC cannot confirm this directly." Date: April 11. Hm. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:35, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Found the third entry. Oddly, appears same day as Marwa, the second civilian victim from Kafr Zita - April 16. Abdullah Khalil Kharzom from Harasta. Date of death 2014-04-16

Cause of Death Chemical and toxic gases Rank FSA Notes Due to the regime`s army use of chemical and toxic gasses during the clashes in Harasta, he reached the feild hospital and his heart was stooped. he was announced dead after the failure of CPR. Video of the martyr www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3CBSTLCBvk&feature=youtu.be CPR doesn't run 5 days. So death date is wrong. Is it for the same for Marwa? --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:06, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Incidents By UN-OPCW Status

As the Joint Investigative Mechanism report came in in 2016, head investigator Virginia Gamba gave an interview explaining the nine (or ten?) incidents they investigated. Three were clear to them, and blamed on a party:

  • Telminnes, April 21, 2014 (Syrian government)
  • Sarmin, March 2015 (Syrian government)
  • Marea, August 2015 (Islamic State)

Three require a little more work, and should be done in September:

  • Kafr Zita (18 April 2014);
  • Qmenas (16 March 2015); and
  • Binnish (24 March 2015).
  • "there’s a fourth [one] coming from the forensic institute laboratories, and we need this to be able to reach a conclusion on those" = ?

And, finally, three were shelved: "There were a last set of three, and these ones the Leadership Panel has determined that they are inconclusive – we cannot get sufficient information, or that there is information that is too contradictory for us to be able to continue with this – so there will be no further investigation in these three cases"

  • Kafr Zita (11 April 2014)
  • Al-Tamanah (29 to 30 April, 2014)
  • Al-Tamanah again (25 to 26 May, 2014).

Between that, those listed above, those analyzed here, and some reference to Wikipedia's big list of CW allegations, the following table of 7 incidents.

incidents correlated
Date-loc # killed JIM status notes
April 11, Kafr Zita 0-5 shelved "No one killed by the gas" or 2 IDPs by head injuries (old man, girl), plus a woman (old man's daughter) died later by gas, possible sister and mom for the girl, by "shelling" = ?
April 18 Kafr Zita 0 pending ...
April 18, Tamanah 4 (3 named) never considered? woman, husband, son, IDP from Khan Sheikhoun + another
April 21 Telminnes 3 Syria blamed boy dies then, mother and sister days later in Turkey
April 29/30, Tamanah 0 shelved
May 22 Tamanah 4 never considered? OPCW: "a mother aged 30 years, her sister aged 16 years, and two children (a five-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy) belonging to the same family"
May 25/26 Tamanah 0? shelved

(note: April 18 appears to have both a Kafr Zita and a Tamanah attack, when above it seemed like confusion over one incident. Tamanah reports 7 total CW incidents in this span, per the big Wikipedia list - OPCW can't solve or didn't try in all cases.)--Caustic Logic (talk) 09:54, 1 September 2016 (UTC)

Death Toll(s)

The front page currently says "On April 11, 2014, around a dozen children are allegedly killed and a hundred people wounded..." CE wrote that. Where is a dozen kids from? That isn't popping up obviously in sources here, but would be highly interesting. Or, if not supported, should be changed. (to what exactly, not sure) --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:10, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Front page fixed. Early reports had a dozen kids, dramatically, "suffocating." Expected dead maybe. In the end "“no one died because of the gas as a direct reason," as the VDC reported on the 14th. Two died from head wounds. But it might be 5 who died eventually, at least three, all displaced, from 2 different places, all but one from shelling wounds, not chemicals. (will take explaining, below). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:29, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Considering the subsequent attacks, OPCW footwork already by now decided by the end of May, 13 were killed in a total of 4 deadly attacks, out of many more non-deadly ones. (I'm saying 16, because they only have 2 in that first attack to the 5 I'll argue for). --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:29, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Victim Records

I wanted a readable stand-alone form of this point, and put together Syria Chlorine Allegations: 2014 Attacks Target IDPs. The case for 16 victims, with 13 being "displaced," likely meaning captives. I intend to copy the relevant records here, but not right now. First, I was hoping for any thoughts on the connections I make there. That basic concept - the first attacks Qeytaz link (it's circumstantial, but how weak) - the last thought, at bottom: was the April 11 Harasta incident supposed to be part 2 of Assad's starter attack, gone wrong inside a tunnel, killing 2-3 rebel guys? Yeah, makes sense, right? Hard to prove, but lends some weight to the same people being behind the other part of that ... --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:36, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

The Device

April 12 Barrels: The remains of the alleged chlorine barrels used in a follow-up attack of the 12th, allegedly, can be seen in photos provided by the CDV in their April 14 report. barrel 1 - barrel 2. Both show close-ups on just heavy iron plating, fairly rusted, with no kind of mechanisms or anything shown. Each one shows different parts of this central stamp in what seems English:

CL2 (read chlorine)
(a V logo and circled B)
NORINCO CAF

The second one has stamped to the left side:

NO
TP 45 bar
WP 30 bar
w __ kg

And to the right, a V, maybe S right beneath, then the picture and it seems the fragment cut off. [3] --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:29, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Despite the name's sound, NORINCO is a Chinese company, their biggest arms producer, according to Reuters, April 22: China North Industries Group Corporation "Norinco" didn't answer "repeated calls." [2]

Reuters' Oliver Homes had Brown Moses provide analysis of the barrel bombs used here.

Eliot Higgins, a British-based researcher who trawls daily through online videos of Syria's civil war to verify weapons in them, said that these "chlorine bombs" have similar features to improvised barrel bombs the army has used in the war.
He said one bomb from Kafr Zeita shows metal rods, consistent with other large government barrel bomb designs, to hold the impact fuse plate in place.
Another video of an exploded barrel bomb shows a canister inside the barrel, which has fins on the back and what appear to be explosives around the top of the canister with a detonation cord.
"The interesting thing about these new videos is that there's the same blue det cord you see in other DIY barrel bombs," Higgins said.[2]

The Chinese foreign ministry did answer to the inquiry by Reuters. --CE (talk) 12:19, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Video Analysis

We should have some. Mainly, the two sunset impact videos - signs of staging, fakery? Do they even line up with the rebel story? Pecuilar whistling sound, lower power explosion, as described? --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 8 August 2015 (UTC)

Timing

Chlorine is not among the listed chemicals to be destroyed. It has plenty of legitimate uses and so was neither listed nor asked after along with weapons-only chemicals. Following the new allegations, Reuters' Oliver Holmes wrote this:

Chlorine, a so-called dual-use chemical that has industrial uses, is not on the list of chemical weapons submitted to the OPCW but was produced in Syria before the war. It should have been declared if the government has it, an OPCW spokesman said. [2]

It seems unlikely, or begging an explanation, that weaponized chlorine bombs bought from China were not among the type of things asked after. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:18, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

World Reaction

United States

CNN report passed on a sampling of different views on the 21st:

  • "Our assessment is it is, at a minimum, concentrated chlorine dropped from helicopters," a U.S. official said. "That could only be the regime." The official did not speak for full attribution.
  • "You don't have to use sarin and mustard to terrorize a population," another official said of deadly chemical gases. "And you don't have to kill a lot of people to terrorize the population."
  • Sen. John McCain said "If substantiated," the charges meant "the Assad regime must finally be held accountable for it actions."
  • "There is not a consensus," another U.S. official said. "Some would like to be stronger and some are more cautious. It can't go answered but if we equate it to a chemical attack then the question becomes what are we going to do about it? And I don't think we have figured that out yet."

And this kind of variety of viewpoints co-existing and learning from each other is what ensures that we will always have a vibrant and functioning democracy. :| --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:52, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

France and Israel

(f/c)

Syria

Syrian state media SANA didn't report it immediately, or at all clearly, but on the 14th reported on letters delivered to the United Nations: Syria holds US, Turkish government, Israel, Saudi Arabia responsible for previous and potential chemical massacres in Syria:

The (Foreign) ministry added that it supplied the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary-General with important information that divulge intentions of terrorist groups to use chemical weapons in Damascus countryside, Hama countryside and several other areas across Syria to frame the Syrian government for the attack. Syria also sent a new document containing incontestable proof that armed terrorist groups are in possession of the toxic chlorine which they intend to use in Aleppo governorate and other areas in Syria, the letters said.
The Syrian government holds the US administration, the Turkish government, Israel and Saudi Arabia and terrorist groups fully responsible for the previous crimes involving the use of chemical weapons in Syria or the ones that might be committed against the Syrian people in the future, added the letters. The letters said Syria calls on the UN Security Council to shoulder responsibilities according to its counterterrorism resolutions and demand that countries supporting terrorists with weapons and funds refrain from it. Syria reaffirms the importance of emptying the Middle East of chemical weapons, the letter concluded.

But earlier on April 1 they reported on UN representative Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari alerting the intercepted calls, interceded plots, and other signs of increasing plans to use toxic gas and frame the government. Jobar, Damascus, was specified at the time: Al-Jaafari: Terrorists planning to launch chemical attack on Jobar to accuse the government From a SANA site search, English only, this is all I found of any relevance to date) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:52, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

China

(f/c)

OPCW Team Confirms, Survives

"The information that was available to the fact-finding mission lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals - most likely pulmonary irritating agents, such as chlorine - have been used in Syria," the body said.

But before that...

The inspectors, from a joint OPCW/United Nations fact-finding team, were travelling to the central province of Hama to investigate allegations of illegal chlorine attacks by government forces when their convoy came under attack. [ID:nL6N0OD2M6]
No team members were injured in the attack, which the Syrian government blamed on rebel fighters.
"Despite the grave incident which prevented the fact-finding mission from conducting an important field visit, the team was able to prepare a preliminary report," the organisation said in a statement.

They did not attribute blame for the chemicals or the attack, which was apparently the kind with guns, not gas. --Caustic Logic (talk) 22:48, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

The source appears to be this press release from OPCW [1]

Ahmet Üzümcü states that "the team was able to prepare a preliminary report". Although he hasn't released this report he says it "lends credence" to a chemical attack. If the report just specifies the agent as "most likely pulmonary irritating agents" then the information available to the team must be pretty vague. Any clothing or vegetation near the impact site of a chlorine bomb should show obvious bleaching - can any of the photos exclude this? Pmr9 (talk) 12:35, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

OPCW Third Report 18 December 2014

http://photos.state.gov/libraries/netherlands/328666/pdfs/THIRDREPORTOFTHEOPCWFACTFINDINGMISSIONINSYRIA.pdf This report is worth a closer look with hindsight from our investigation of the Sarmin attack on 16 March 2015.

There are some interesting points from the section "Discussion of medical symptoms, signs and treatment":-

1. Of 17 survivors of alleged chlorine attacks in Talmenes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zita, 9 reported loss of consciousness. As discussed on the Sarmin page, this is not a symptom of non-fatal chlorine poisoning. A more sceptical OPCW team might have asked more questions about this - did they lose consciousness before or after they came under medical care?

2. There were 13 reported fatalities. At least four of these had autopsies, and for at least three of these the autopsy records were available to the OPCW team. However there's no mention of what these records showed. It looks as if four families accounted for almost all these fatalities.

3. As the report notes, severe chlorine poisoning causes pulmonary oedema (filling of the lungs with fluid), usually as a delayed response. This diagnosis is made by chest X-ray. The report states that the chest X-rays "reveal pulmonary oedema, as told by the treating physicians". No chest X-rays are reproduced in the report, and there's no mention that any were reviewed by the OPCW team. Some of the severe cases were transferred to Saraqeb.

4. The report cites 142 videos and provides screen grabs from some that were "provided by an interviewee". Some of these videos appear to be the same as those uploaded to YouTube by opposition activists. Pmr9 (talk) 17:20, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

2016 UN-OPCW Report

http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2016/738 August, 2013 page 25-25 give more detail on this incident, with some details (like the legnth of the video edit) still pending. A number of interesting points raised. The Syrian government's claim (to be indirectly responsible) appears to be proven wrong - the gas cloud does not rise from the Nusrah Commander's home, as the given coordinates placed it) The Leadership Panel’s assessment: "While a significant number of people — up to 150 — may have been exposed to chlorine on 11 April 2014, the Leadership Panel determined that there was insufficient information at this stage to draw a conclusion on the actors involved." --Caustic Logic (talk) 05:34, 11 September 2016 (UTC)

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 U.S. says has indications toxic chemical used in Syria this monthBy David Brunnstrom, Reuters, April 21
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Syria's chemical weapons wild card: chlorine gas By Oliver Holmes, Reuters, April 22, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 أنباء عن استخدام غازات محرمة دوليا في مدينة كفرزيتا - محافظة حماه ( Reports of the use of internationally prohibited gases in the city Kffersita - Hama Province ) Center for documentation of violations in Syria, April 14, 2014