Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, April 29, 2013

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Varied Findings in Turkey

After the dead and injured were evacuated across the border to Turkey, it was hoped tests there would show they'd been exposed to chemical weapons. The first specific news back, however, was contrary.

Doctors in Turkey say initial tests of blood samples from victims of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria last month are negative for sarin gas.

Medics tested the blood samples — which were taken from some 13 victims of an attack that included white powder in the northern village of Saraqeb on April 29 — at the Reyhanli hospital on the same day, but did not find anything unusual, they said.

They tested the blood specifically for sarin gas — a nerve agent — and also ran regular bloodwork. The samples from the victims, who suffered from dizziness, vomiting and respiratory difficulties, have since been sent to the Turkish capital, Ankara, for further testing.

"The symptoms were consistent with those caused by a chemical, and the effects of this chemical were very serious and potentially fatal,” said Dr. Ubada Alabrash, who treated the victims at Reyhanli hospital. “But we couldn’t identify what the chemical was.

Doctors in Reyhanli, in Turkey’s Hatay province, say they believe the Turkish government will keep the final results a secret due to the potential global political consequences of either negative or positive results.

Apparently the tests in Ankara went different. Except they aren't specifically cited - just peripheral clues the president thinks are adequate. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:00, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Keeping the "final results a secret" equals to the Turkish government stating that it has the right to falsify and declare either negative or positive results depending on the desired global political consequences.
For any results to be factually meaningful, the investigative process must be open and not subject to the desires of global geopolitical players. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:52, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
The Turkish government is treating around a dozen patients who have exhibited unusual symptoms suggesting they were exposed to a chemical weapons attack, a Turkish source said. "They were not injured by any kind of conventional arms. Tests showed excessive results which produced findings to let us make that statement," a Turkish source with access to Turkish government findings told CNN, on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the allegations. The Turkish source was referring to an announcement by Turkey's prime minister which accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. "It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview broadcast on NBC News Thursday night.

"There are patients who are brought to our hospitals who were wounded by these chemical weapons," Erdogan added, speaking through an interpreter. Erdogan said he wanted the US to "assume more responsibilities and take further steps" when it comes to Syria.

Lab Tests for sarin exposure in Europe

Fabius reported that this was one of two incidents from which blood and urine samples had tested positive for sarin exposure in a French lab (http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/syria-295/events-5888/article/syria-chemical-weapons-statement). Some positive test results were confirmed at Porton Down but it's not clear if they relate to this specific incident (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/06/french-sarin-detection-syria)

This incident may give clues to the method by which individuals with positive test results could have been generated for the 21 August incident. SANA has a bizarre story about people being made to inhale a white powder, then taken to hospital for tests. If they were given IMPA, this would give blood tests positive for IMPA-albumin adduct (the state-of-the-art test for sarin exposure), and urine tests positive for free IMPA, IMPA is easy to buy. nontoxic and the sodium salt would probably be a white powder. But difficult to get the dose right for inhaled/snorted powder: why not give it by mouth? ---Pmr9 (talk) 15:33, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

The first link actually doesn't specify incidents, but I found a detailed second-hand citation of Le Monde's stuff from/with Fabius, mentioned below already, so never mind citing it beyond "Le Monde reports that the French lab examined samples from victims of a government helicopter attacks on Saraqeb on 29 April." --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:02, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

I think this story is important because it links positive blood tests for sarin in a French government lab to an alleged incident where the story that the regime used chemical weapons doesn't stand up and is open to ridicule. The rebels claim that the agent was disseminated by plastic riot control canisters, but JaN is the only group known to have these canisters. The story about people being rounded up, coerced to inhale white powder from plastic bags, then having it thrown in in their faces before being dragged off for blood tests is so bizarre that even SANA is unlikely to have made it up. It's possible that this was a dose-finding study, where the rebels were asked to find some volunteers but failed to follow best practice for clinical research due to lack of training and supervision. ---Pmr9 (talk) 15:40, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

LOL! ...were asked to find some volunteers but failed to follow best practice for clinical research due to lack of training and supervision. Yes, we always maintain a balanced, scientific tone in out comments here, but we do not need to be this balanced!
You have not provided a link to the SANA story. When did this happen? Was the SANA story published before the Ghouta incident? OK, found one reference:
On April 19 [sic], activists said the government bombed the northern town of Saraqeb with chemical agents that caused respiratory problems and other symptoms in people who were exposed to them. The state news agency claimed "terrorists" brought bags of an unknown white powder to Saraqeb and opened them. It said the terrorists — the regime's term for the rebels — then transported the injured to Turkish hospitals to "accuse the Syrian armed troops of using chemical weapons."
This story may turn out to be the smoking gun. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 03:16, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
The SANA story (http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/05/01/480240.htm) was published on 1 May, before there had been any reports that rebels or their foreign sponsors were trying to get blood samples from Syria to be tested for CW exposure in UK and French labs. The first report of any testing for CW exposure on samples from Syria that I can find is the French government announcement on 4 June, though the WSJ has since reported that Saudi agents brought a patient to the UK for testing last winter. So the SANA story about people being taken for blood tests must have been based on an informant on the ground: they couldn't otherwise have known this was happening. ---Pmr9 (talk) 10:49, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Not completely following yet, but don't worry, it's on my end. Sounds interesting. Will dive back into this soon. I did see a picture recently, from Brown Moses obviously, of the exact alleged powder in a pile on the ground in Saraqeb, white and chalky, possibly worth a look. Didn't save the link, but it's out there, FYI. Sorry, just felt I should say something in the way of encouragement. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:25, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Le Monde reporters brought samples from Jobar that were sent to the French defence lab at Bouchet. Apparently there was a samples-for-findings deal that allowed Le Monde – and no one else – to publish some information about the lab results, not only from Jobar but also from the 29 April Saraqeb incident. Another French newspaper that tried to explain the science of sarin testing to its readers was told by the defence ministry “The things you mention are not public and are not intended to be”. (http://sciencesetavenir.nouvelobs.com/decryptage/20130902.OBS5212/gaz-sarin-en-syrie-comment-s-effectuent-les-analyses.html)

Le Monde has some information about test results on the Saraqeb samples (http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/06/04/laurent-fabius-confirme-l-utilisation-de-gaz-sarin-en-syrie_3424140_3218.html) although unlike the Jobar incident Le Monde reporters were not involved in bringing out the samples. “The samples taken after the attack by a government helicopter in Saraqeb on 29 April are even more convincing. The metabolite of sarin has been identified in the urine of one victim, and regenerated sarin (that is to say in a pure state) in the blood of two other victims, in one case at raised concentration (9.5 ng/ml).” The samples from Saraqeb were from five victims of whom one has died. They were taken by the care team of a hospital in the Idlib region and transmitted to French services on 4 May, before arriving at the laboratory on 9 May. According to experts, the blood samples are impossible to fake, unlike the urine samples which could possibly be manipulated.”

“Regenerated sarin” sounds like they mean the fluoride ion regeneration test which splits sarin from its binding site on the BChE enzyme. If so, 9.5 ng/ml would imply a massive and lethal dose: an estimated upper bound on the concentration obtainable by this method is 11 ng/ml when the binding sites are saturated (http://jat.oxfordjournals.org/content/32/1/116.full.pdf). The highest level obtained when the regeneration test was used on stored serum samples from Japanese victims was 4.1 ng/ml (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9299607). The regeneration test for sarin-BChE adduct isn't “impossible to fake”, but it would require access to a few microgrammes of sarin and lab facilities equivalent to a hospital pharmacy for preparing injections. ---Pmr9 (talk) 13:26, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

Belated expression of agreement. "I think this story is important because it links positive blood tests for sarin in a French government lab to an alleged incident where the story that the regime used chemical weapons doesn't stand up and is open to ridicule." Although it never has been torn apart and examined yet, so I'm not sure how ridiculous the claims really are. Might start that next. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:02, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

No need - Brown Moses reviewed this incident and concluded that it is highly unlikely that this was an attack with a lethal chemical agent (http://brown-moses.blogspot.com/2013/05/was-attack-in-saraqeb-chemical-weapons.html). So if it wasn't a sarin attack, and yet people tested positive for sarin, what was it? ---Pmr9 (talk) 14:09, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
A Sarin attack after all, many will say. And some, nothing will change their mind. But for the rest, the stuff below should help give it its due.--Caustic Logic (talk) 23:30, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Perry Robinson's review of the evidence up to 26 June

ALLEGED USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IN SYRIA, Julian Perry Robinson, Univers ity of Sussex, 26 June 2013, http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/spru/hsp/occasional%20papers/HSPOP_4.pdf There's a lot of material here: he has reviewed all the alleged chemical weapons incidents up to 26 June, and has more details of the lab results. I'll read it over the weekend and add some interpretation. Perry Robinson is a respected expert in this area and has a healthy scepticism about intelligence and disinfo ops. His introductory paragraph recalls the "yellow rain" story: "It would be foolish to forget, at the present grim juncture in the Middle East, that a bare thirty years ago the huge intelligence apparatus of the United States Government mistook a natural phenomenon – mass defaecation flights of the Apis dorsata honeybee in southeast Asia -- for communist mycotoxin warfare". ---Pmr9 (talk) 10:03, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

I'll wait to see your analysis, and thanks for doing that!--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:02, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

Rebel Stor(ies) Considered

Delivery Mechanism

Global Arab Network - citing research by by Syrian Network for Human Rights - conveys two different versions of the delivery system. Both agree it came from a "Helicopter belonging to Syrian Government's Air Force (who is owned by only Syrian Government)." Videos show "chemical tank" or "bareels with chemical materials " falling from the helicopter, while elsewhere they say it "dropped bags led to dispersion of dust particles , causing 14 suffocation injuries , transferred   to Saraqeb hospital." [1]

Why the need to work in "bags" dropped from the helicopter? Were there bags involved, needing explaining? (see government stor(ies) below).
Saraqeb 29April canister 1.png
A "chemical tank," as previously noted by Brown Moses and others (like Yalla Souriya) is the same as the one recovered from the April 13 attack in Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo, also involving an alleged helicopter (although some people initially didn't hear rotors, they eventually all told the same story. A BBC report adds that the grenades were placed, two apiece, inside another strange container:
One device was said to have landed on the outskirts of town. Eyewitnesses describe a box like container, with a hollow concrete casing inside. One video apparently shows parts of this on the ground, surrounded by white powder. In another video a rebel fighter holds a canister said to be hidden inside the devices. Witnesses claim there were two in each container. It is claimed one was recovered from Mariam Khatib's garden. [2]

The video: Object and harmless powder, kids walking around it

the glowing, smoking ... cinderblock?
The object falling was glowing, as if on fire, as well as emitting smoke all the way down (see Brown Moses). A bit like white phosphorous, right? Burning concrete tube (?) filled with gas grenades and/or powder bags inside? Hmmm... --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
The specific image he used (uploads disabled ATM). Full-on glowing and giving off white smoke on the way down. Same day as a serious SAA offensive there,* could benefit from some screening smoke. I'm no weapons expert but to me that all says this is white phosphorous, right? Not, usually, a burning concrete box with al-Nusra grenades "hidden" inside. So when did these concrete really get dropped, and from how many inches? Way up, say rebels, hinting why they decided there was a cinderblock housing for the canisters in the first place: Brown Moses added, September 4th (same links above):
Since I wrote this article I have now established through a variety of sources that the smoke grenades were placed inside a breezeblock/cinderblock, then inside a [glowing?] box, and that what was dropped from the helicopter. The grey-white powder is actually the shattered remains of the breezeblock.
That's a comfort, since otherwise it looked like the powder in the (glowing, smoking) bags dropped from the helicopter, or tossed from (normal, non-glowing) bags into the faces of Idlib locals in rebel custody, whichever made more sense. No, it was the smashed cinderblock holding "canisters" with the glowing, smoking, magical outer box that allows it to become visible on rebel video, once again crossed back to dimension Z to appear again when needed. Sorry, kind of struggling here... --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:01, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
  • on this offensive: I'm not sure where I heard that, but checking back: CNN reported the day before "Syrian troops and rebels battled for control of Idlib's Abu al-Zhuhoor military airport..." Must be Abu ad-Duhur - Military Airbase on Wikimapia, 28 km SE of Saraqeb. Video filmed in the Saraqeb area, by description. Where does it actually land? In the city, north of town as alleged, or in an area closer to the airport fighting?BBC video doesn't show the impact, just a span of falling. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:55, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

And then back to barrels ... there was the early report of canisters or barrels, and there are highly powerful TNT "barrel bombs" used by the Syrian air force, and the charges of Dr. Mohammed Walid Tamer of Saraqeb, speaking to Arshaq al-Awsat: he showed a video with a panoramic view, in which "a barrel load of explosives (is) hurled from a government helicopter onto the streets below," causing a huge explosion that visibly hurled a person "fifty feet up into the air," and would likely destroy any Sarin. Another video showed "the aftermath: civilians running into a clinic clutching people ashen with dust and blood loss." Dr. Tamer said "As soon as we saw that people were foaming at the mouth we knew that it was a chemical attack.” While only one person died from Sarin, the report says, Dr, Tamer has names of dozens sickened by it, and:

Twenty six people died instantly in the airstrike and in the days afterwards the doctors in Saraqeb’s hospital saw dozens of people suffering with symptoms brought on by the bomb’s toxic cloud. ... Two barrels, allegedly containing Sarin mixed with TNT, were dropped on Saraqeb that day, each poisoning an area of one kilometer in diameter. But there was a third barrel, one that didn’t explode as it should have done. “When we found that one, we discovered that it contained phosphorus,” says the doctor. “We think that the regime dropped it to cover up the Sarin. Phosphorus is used in fertilizer, so they could have claimed that the people were poisoned because of an agricultural accident.” [3]--Caustic Logic (talk) 08:55, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

It seems unlikely this is from April 29, as no such event is mentioned in the reports I've seen around for that day. In fact, under "Opposition Reports," below, is evidence that the events with the TNT barrels killing the better part of 36 people in Saraqeb was April 13 and again one of the victims seems to be related to April 29 victims Maryam al-Khatib (shares a name with her husband, possibly their son!). Videos could likely be found but I didn't try yet. A Dr. with an "airy office" is not likely to have just accidentally squished together the events of two different days two weeks apart into a single day that never actually existed. And that the same family might be targeted in both events in rebel-occupied territory raises serious questions as to whether any of this is arbitrary aerial shelling as reported. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:44, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Interviews with local medics

On 16 May Ian Pannel reported for the BBC that eight people were admitted locally, apparently all from the same incident where a canister fell in the garden of the Al-Khatib family house affecting members of the Al-Khatib family including Mariam and others who came to help. Mariam Al-Khatib was the only fatality

"Four patients were taken to a hospital near the border [doesn't quite match the five people tested in the Le Monde report]. Dr Jumaa Samadi, who treated them, says they were all given decontamination showers and atropine to treat their symptoms before being sent to a hospital in Turkey. By the time they arrived, Mariam Khatib was dead." [2]

He interviewed the al-Qatib family members and Dr Samadi.

On 23 May Hannah Lucinda Smith reported for Asharq Al-Awsat (al-Saud owned) that "Two barrels, allegedly containing Sarin mixed with TNT, were dropped on Saraqeb that day, each poisoning an area of one kilometer in diameter ... Twenty six people died instantly in the airstrike and in the days afterwards the doctors in Saraqeb’s hospital saw dozens of people suffering with symptoms brought on by the bomb’s toxic cloud." [3]

"One person, an elderly lady called Mariam Al-Khatib, died from the effects of the Sarin". [Note: she can't have been that elderly if her daughter was the young girl with the distended tongue in the BBC report].
To clarify, we have two drastically different stories, in this case, both in the same story. Unless 26 died in the TNT blasts and only one from the Sarin? Still, the barrel story details don't add up. Will note in more detail above.--Caustic Logic (talk) 08:55, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

There's no information about patients being sent to Turkey, only soil samples and clothes.

Smith's story is based entirely on an interview with Dr Mohammed Walid Tamer in his "airy office". Dr Tamer appears sure that Sarin was used, not just any chemical agent, and that this has already been confirmed by tests in Turkey. No public information about sarin tests from Syria was released till 4 June. He represents himself as one of the medical staff treating the victims, but his comments about white phosphorus being dropped to make it look like an agricultural accident are so clueless about science as to raise doubts about his medical qualification. Do we have any other information about Dr Mohammed Walid Tamer? He seems to be a person of interest. ---Pmr9 (talk) 12:29, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Not immediately, however, in a PDF I found quickly (ICARDA, agriculture for dry areas institute, Lebanon, 2012 annual report) is mentioned this fellow on the board of trustees:
Dr Mohammed Walid Tawil (Syria)* Director General, General Commission for Scientific Agricultural Research (GCSAR) Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Syria. Expertise: agriculture, plant breeding
And/or agri-weaponry cross-over freelancer? Some kind of clown? Shades of Dr. Salim Rajab/al-Farjani perhaps? (a fascinating case from Libya studies)--Caustic Logic (talk) 13:34, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Sarin seems to be the modern day equivalent of flying saucers, appearing everywhere out of thin air. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 20:03, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Correlated with Sarin findings

The positive tests for sarin adduct in blood of two people the French lab indicate that real sarin (not just IMPA) comes into this story somewhere. The level of 9.5 ng/ml implies a rapidly fatal dose (see comments on lab results) , and Mariam al-Khatib is reported to have been the only fatality. If this was her blood level and she died on the way to Turkey, she must have received the fatal dose in the local hospital or in the ambulance, not from the canister at home. It's possible that canisters of some toxic chemical were used to panic people into seeking medical attention for a chemical weapons attack, following which a (usually) sublethal dose of sarin was administered surreptitiously by someone posing as a member of the medical staff. ---Pmr9 (talk) 07:25, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Interesting. If the five dead people SANA heard about existed and were tested, they might be good candidates, made to inhale vapors of some liquid. Those jugs would be portable of course. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:20, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

A slightly different version of this story from the Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303914304579194203188283242

France, too, had been trying to confirm chemical-weapons use. French anesthesiologist Raphael Pitti, formerly a military doctor trained in chemical-weapons treatment, taught Syrian doctors how to gather evidence. On April 29, a small bomb dropped from a helicopter landed in the garden of a home in Saraqeb, in Idlib province, killing one. A Syrian doctor carried two tubes of blood from the victim to Turkey, where Dr. Pitti put them in a cooler and flew them to Paris. Tests confirmed the use of sarin.

Instead of what the relatives told the BBC - that Mariam Al-Khatib was taken to hospital but died later on the way to Turkey - we now have a story implying that she died when the "small bomb" fell in her garden and that someone else took the blood samples to Turkey. This is consistent with the a rapidly fatal dose and thus with the blood level of sarin adduct. But it's surprising that her family would be mistaken. There's also a video on the Brown Moses page that covers this attack which has been suggested to show Mariam Al-Khatib and her daughter in hospital. Pmr9 (talk) 14:49, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Cool find, and thanks for bringing it here. Definitely sounds like a possible contradiction. But just from that, possibly also just a reporting mix-up. This whole story is so weird. Did you see where I left comments on Higgins' blog calling the rebel narrative a trainwreck, and getting him to partly agree? A contradiction like this would only add to the problems it faces in that awkward interchange when lies are injected into reality. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:09, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Government Stor(ies) Considered

Ascribed Motives

Syrian state TV SANA reported from an unnamed official that "terrorists" in Idlib province (very near to Turkey) had poisoned locals there and then taken them across the border to Turkish hospitals. They would say it was for treatment after a government attack, but the official was clear it was to get Turkey to confirm the chemical weapon usage and trigger war on the Syrian government. [4] This was echoed by Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, at a news conference later in the day: “Today or tomorrow you’ll hear from the Turkish government that they have new evidence that the Syrian government used a chemical weapon in Saraqib." [5]

In fact, it took a little longer, to let some confused science play out and/or let Jaafari's prescience grow a little less fresh. But by May 10, CNN reported, Erdogan himself was saying ""It is clear the regime has used chemical weapons ... There are patients who are brought to our hospitals who were wounded by these chemical weapons," Erdogan added, speaking through an interpreter. Erdogan said he wanted the US to "assume more responsibilities and take further steps" when it comes to Syria." [6] --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:55, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

The Idleb rebels' desire to hit Syria with this false flag war trigger right then might partly be revenge. SANA reported May 1 :The source noted that this happened after a unit of the armed forces on Monday targeted terrorist groups in Saraqib town, killing and injuring numbers of terrorists, including non-Syrians. [7] This isn't the kind of thing you just up and do out of revenge, without having some plan to do it anyway that you might bump forward ad do kind of sloppily, with too much anger. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:11, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Non-ascribed but relevant motives (speculation).

Also consider this alleged false flag war trigger was to be contained in, and generally fatal to, a fairly small number of actual people about whom we can know fairly little. The targets would be chosen less randomly in this version than in the air bombardment version, and that means another level of motive would enter the picture. Considering the deadly army assault, there may have been locals feeding them information, or suspected of it, making personal revenge part of the motive in these specific murder cases. Sectarianism might have played a role, for all we know. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:11, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Delivery Method

Like the opposition, the Syrian government and state media (SANA) have put forth at least two version, though not contradictory, of just how people were poisoned. Like the rebel version, they claimed no knowledge what the chemicals used were, and also both stories are rather bizarre.

Bags of powder: The more prominent version was related the day after, April 30. An official cited by SANA news As RT reported:

(SANA's) source stated that on Monday “terrorists” collected residents of Saraqib near the southern entrance to the town and made them open “plastic bags” containing some unknown powder, SANA reported on Tuesday. As a result, some people suffered “suffocation, tremors and problems with breathing.”

The next day SANA said "terrorists threw "unknown powder" in the face of a number of citizens," and that they "opened (the bags) in the face of a number of citizens whom they had gathered in Shabour neighborhood and the southern entrance of Saraqib town in the countryside of Idleb, causing suffocation, shiver and respiratory symptoms among the citizens." [7] They say citizen a lot. The type of bag isn't specified, and I don't see any in the videos yet. Most likely, simple blank clear plastic. But I wouldn't be too surprised if it was random grocery bags from Carrefour or Happy Center (Turkish chains). --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:55, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Note that here there is no mention of anyone dying, just getting something like DIMP in their system, which could fool a poorly-done test for sarin exposure. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

There was another, apparently later incident just as strange, as a second SANA report of May 1 added:

Mounting fumes from gallons [gallon jugs?] containing some liquid materials, which were stored by a shepherd in his house in Saraqeb town in Idleb countryside, have killed his guest and him as one of the children in the house opened one of the gallons.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that after the two people died, the housewife and her children went out to the street frightened, adding that an armed terrorist group gave them protective masks and brought three people they kidnapped at a later time and took them to the house to make them inhale the fumes. The source added that the three people also died after inhaling the fumes, pointing out that the armed terrorist group, affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, transferred the bodies of the dead people to the Turkish territories to make use of the incident against the Syrian state. [7]

"Gallons" might mean jugs of a gallon size. There may be missing parts to this strange story, but it's arguably too strange to make up. Implied at least five people dead after unknown chemical fumes were released in a house, and rebel-held hostages are among the dead. Both stories are published together as two events by about the same people in the same area, one using liquid with strong fumes, the other a dry powder, both contributing to the poisoning cases transferred to Turkey, all pretty much for the aforementioned aim of getting Syria in trouble, plus whatever other grievances might have them picking this victim over that one. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:55, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Re-visiting this: strange story. The child opened a jug on accident, coincidentally on the same day as the above-described apparent CW fakery and the death of at least one woman ... and so the terrorists took advantage? And did the child live? If not, that's shepherd, his guest, the kid, and the 3 hostages. Most likely, all of these are male people, but that's not specified. For calculating death toll, this 5-6 should be added to Maryam al-Khatib for a high-end alleged toll.
As for the fluid in the gallon jugs, it could be a number of things. To keep consistent, it should be sarin, but that behaves like water, as far as I know; it doesn't give off fumes. You have to be misted with it or something. This could be something else that would test right, or just something else, like chlorine. If hydrochloric acid is added to potassium permanganate in a jug, it would fill the jug with yellowish chlorine gas, for example. The story sounds like they died too quickly for that, so perhaps not. But the story is also not totally credible. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:31, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

Death Toll

Considering the Syrian/SANA narrative, there would be at least 14 people effected with the powder, and at least five affected, all fatally, by the liquid poison's fumes. Death toll, at least five. The opposition version has eight victims only sent to Turkey, with only one of them dying. Death toll: one. But Brown Moses noted this:

There appears to be some confusion over the number of victims, with the BBC being told by doctors there were 8 victims, two women, one child, and five men, but with later reports from the hospital the victims were taken too in Reyhanli, Turkey, claiming up to 13 people were treated.

That difference is five. You don't treat dead people, of course, but maybe someone wanted to point to this number of people/bodies for some reason. Were the five sometimes ignored the ones killed in the fume-filled house? Not taken for treatment, clearly, but for blood work. Why else go to the reported hassle? It seems the records cited later do not refer to any such group, with survivors and a single fatality showing Sarin clues. Was the death toll deliberately cut to 1/6 its original size to jettison these experimental victims for some really good technical reason? Who feels up to sorting out this possible shell game? Does this mean the remainder were 8 of the 14 or so exposed to the powder instead of the "gallons"? It's those people, then, who showed the metabolites for Sarin. But they didn't die, so this isn't Sarin... dust. Must be DIMP or whichever that was. Or smashed cinderblock dust, right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:27, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

Locations

  • Saraqeb, generally rebel-held, fairly major town just southeast of Idlib, straddling the Aleppo-Damascus highway there. Gmaps link. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Shabour neighborhood: SANA reported terrorists threw powder at citizens "gathered in Shabour neighborhood and the southern entrance of Saraqib town."

Shapur suburb - ( ضاحية شابور ) on Wikimapia. Prime area to take, next to the oil factory, electrical sub-station, near wheat silos and again the crucial highway to control at its south end. The rebel explanation has nothing to explain this, unless that's where the al-Khatibs lived?--Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Al-Khatib Family: Someone might have located this, but I didn't see it yet if so. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Alleged bomb impact site seen in the powder video. Not sure, but it seems to be north of town near sunset, on the Aleppo-Damascus Highway about here, just short of the overpass where the highway from the west merges in. In the distance, right of the highway, the large building would be ( اعدادية سراقب للبنين ) (junior ?? for boys or secondary monitor for boys). Bags of powder at the south end? No, canisters of gas in a concrete box, at the north end. That's opposite of and counteracts SANA, right? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:04, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Sources

I've taken some of this page's questions to comments here. As I say, it's a bit of a trainwreck. Citations worked in here where relevant. From the concluding thoughts:

I think what's most interesting about the Saraqeb attack is the similarities between that and the Sheikh Maghsoud, with the same deliver method used, with the same type of devices used, and similar symptoms being reported. The presence of what appears to be some sort of gas grenades, maybe two different types, seems to strongly suggest these are not attacks using lethal chemical agents, such as sarin, VX, etc. ...there's no reports of any deaths beyond Mariam Khatib, and it appears all the victims were exposed to same chemicals at the same site, so how realistic is it to say they could all survive the attack if it's a lethal chemical weapon like sarin? It's also interesting to note that sarin is odorless, with a strong odor being reported at the site of the attack. [8]

Moved starting material

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations says the foreign-backed militants in the Arab country have used chemical material against civilians during an attack on a town near Idlib. Bashar al-Jaafari said at a press conference on Tuesday that the militants spread the contents of plastic bags containing chemical material during the attack. ...Reports say that two people were killed and 20 others injured in the militants’ chemical attack in Idlib.
Many residents were affected by the armed groups’ “heinous and irresponsible act,” the Syrian envoy said, warning that it was an attempt to “implicate the Syrian government on a false basis.” Some of the victims were transferred to Turkey for treatment, Jaafari added. The envoy went on to say that 'today or tomorrow Ankara and Western media would launch a new propaganda campaign against Damascus and claim that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its own people.' --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:32, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

And Reuters reports on the the Ottoman analysis of the patients smuggled over to them. Especially considering the claim that the chemicals are first smuggled into Syria from Turkey... --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:40, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

A second Syrian doctor, Ubada Alabrash, who helps treat Syrian patients at Reyhanli hospital, said they also suspected the patients had been victims of a chemical attack because those escorting them to the border had exhibited similar symptoms. Alabrash said blood samples from the patients had been sent for tests but that they had not been given the results. "I don't think the Turkish government would hide the results from us, but I understand they must be careful with it because NATO and other international bodies are also involved in this issue," he said. "Now we are waiting for the blood test results from Ankara, we have asked to be informed. We can only say after the test results if chemical weapons were used or not."

Newer Stuff

The BBC has been shown evidence apparently corroborating reports of a chemical attack in Syria last month.
What were the signs they were shown? As with everyone else, video of people either poisoned or faking like they are. Probably the same videos we could see (I've seen one - way behind). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
A number of videos passed to the BBC appear to support these claims, but it is impossible to independently verify them.

Also, witnesses! Actual, first-hand, can't possibly be embellishing witnesses:

A BBC correspondent who visited the northern town of Saraqeb was told by eyewitnesses that government helicopters had dropped at least two devices containing poisonous gas.
These being the plastic riot-control gas grenades Jabhat al-Nusra police are toting around in that area? That's the item they filmed as the delivery device there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Doctors at the local hospital told the BBC they had admitted eight people suffering from breathing problems. Some were vomiting and others had constricted pupils, they said. One woman, Maryam Khatib, later died. ... Mrs Khatib's son Mohammed had rushed to the scene to help his mother and was also injured in the attack. "It was a horrible, suffocating smell. You couldn't breathe at all. You'd feel like you were dead. You couldn't even see. I couldn't see anything for three or four days," Mr Khatib told the BBC. A doctor who treated Mrs Khatib said her symptoms corresponded to organophosphate poisoning and that samples had been sent for testing.
To find: what are organophosphates? Do they constrict pupils like sarin famously does? Is there proof of constricted pupils? Are the victim's eyes the same striking shade of green seen on two myosis sufferers videos-recorded in Jobar? Then compare to this last quote: --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:04, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
From Wikipedia: "Organophosphates are the basis of many insecticides, herbicides, and nerve gases."
Also here: Nerve agents are a class of phosphorus-containing organic chemicals (organophosphates) that disrupt the mechanism by which nerves transfer messages to organs. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:50, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a former commanding officer at the UK's Joint Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Regiment, said the testimony and evidence from Saraqeb was "strong, albeit incomplete". In Saraqeb and in three similar events in Syria in recent weeks, "people have got ill and died and their symptoms are what we would expect to see from a nerve type of agent, be it sarin or be it organophosphate," Mr de Bretton-Gordon said.
Elsewhere, two people were killed and 20 others were injured Tuesday when planes dropped bags of suspected chemicals in Idlib province, al-Jazeera reported. Videos from the Qatari news network appear to show victims having difficulty breathing, and in one, a patient at a makeshift hospital has white foam coming from his mouth.
(side-note) Forty-two people suffocated to death last week after an alleged chemical attack on a Damascus suburb, rebels said.
Syrian opposition fighters have allegedly used unknown chemicals against residents in the town of Saraqib in the northwestern province of Idlib to later put the blame on Assad forces, SANA news agency reports citing a government official.
The source stated that on Monday “terrorists” collected residents of Saraqib near the southern entrance to the town and made them open “plastic bags” containing some unknown powder, SANA reported on Tuesday.
As a result, some people suffered “suffocation, tremors and problems with breathing.”
Later, militants took the injured to hospitals on the territory of Turkey with the goal of accusing President Bashar Assad’s army of using chemical weapons, the official said.
Later in the day, the report was confirmed by Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari.
“Today or tomorrow you’ll hear from the Turkish government that they have new evidence that the Syrian government used a chemical weapon in Saraqib,” he told a media conference, cites Itar-Tass. [5]
IDLEB, (SANA) – Mounting fumes from gallons containing some liquid materials, which were stored by a shepherd in his house in Saraqeb town in Idleb countryside, have killed his guest and him as one of the children in the house opened one of the gallons.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that after the two people died, the housewife and her children went out to the street frightened, adding that an armed terrorist group gave them protective masks and brought three people they kidnapped at a later time and took them to the house to make them inhale the fumes. The source added that the three people also died after inhaling the fumes, pointing out that the armed terrorist group, affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra, transferred the bodies of the dead people to the Turkish territories to make use of the incident against the Syrian state.
Earlier, terrorists threw "unknown powder" in the face of a number of citizens in Idleb to accuse the army of using chemical weapons against citizens, an official source told SANA reporter. The source explained that the terrorists brought bags containing "unknown powder" and opened them in the face of a number of citizens whom they had gathered in Shabour neighborhood and the southern entrance of Saraqib town in the countryside of Idleb, causing suffocation, shiver and respiratory symptoms among the citizens.
The source added that the terrorists then took the injured citizens to Turkish hospitals to accuse the Syrian armed forces of using chemical weapons.
The source noted that this happened after a unit of the armed forces on Monday targeted terrorist groups in Saraqib town, killing and injuring numbers of terrorists, including non-Syrians. [7]

Opposition Reports

Including surrounding days for the heck of it, all "martyrs" for Saraqib, April 27-May 2. Six total, all civilian, all but one killed by shelling, warplane or otherwise, all regime stuff. An adult male named al-Arwane died by it the day before an adult female named al-Alwane died from it. Worth pondering what kind of shells those are. Anyway, the exception, as expected, is Maryam al-Khatib. Age not given, "Martyred due to exposure to chemical gasses delivered by the regime`s army. Wife of (Ibrahim al-Rahme)." --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:22, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

Therefore, another relative shelled April 13: "Abduljalil al-Hasan al-Rahmeih" died in Saraqib when "tens were martyred due to warplane shelling." This might be the day of the barrel bombing cited by Dr. Tamer. Checking LCC, bingo perhaps: April 13: "Explosive barrels were dropped in Saraqeb in Idlib, Tal Hames in Qamishli and Daraya and Moadamiya in Damascus Suburbs ... 32 martyrs were reported in Idlib, mostly in Saraqeb; 26 in Aleppo; 25 in Damascus and its suburbs; 15 in Homs; 12 in Daraa; and 3 in Hama." --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:22, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

CDV, all "martyrs" April 13, Saraqeb - 17 civilians, all killed by "warplane shelling." (lists here are usually incomplete but give an idea, extra deadly day) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:38, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

April 13 videos: one of these, likely the second, should be the video Dr. Tamer so elaborately attached to the incident of the 29th (I haven't watched them to see if any shows the "stick figure" blown 50 feet up)--Caustic Logic (talk) 08:46, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

References

<references>
  1. Syrian Network for Human Rights confirms using chemical weapons by Assad Regime Global Arab Network, May 20, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Syria crisis: 'Strong evidence' of chemical attacks, in Saraqeb By Ian Pannell, May 16, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Saraqeb's Agony Hannah Lucinda Smith, Asharq Al-Awsat, May 23
  4. Citation needed for April 30 broadcast. Otherwise, refer to RT.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Syrian rebels 'used unknown chemicals’ against civilians in Idlib – state news agency RT (Russia Today), April 30, 2013 15:43, edited May 01, 2013 12:28
  6. Patients from Syria being tested for chemical weapons CNN, May 10, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Terrorists Exploit Incident of Fumes Killed two People, Transfer them to Turkey to accuse Syrian GovernmentSyrian Arab News Agency, May 1, 2013
  8. Was The Attack In Saraqeb Chemical Weapons, Or Something Else? Brown Moses, May 17, 2013