Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, August 21, 2013/Chemical agent

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See also: Talk:Alleged chemical attack, March 19, 2013#The Alleged Agent(s)

What is the chemical agent?

It’s not a simple matter to decide if a chemical attack has occurred. The inspectors will be looking for evidence to support or refute one of several possibilities:
  • a non chemical cause, such as mass hysteria
  • a chemical cause not related to chemical weapons
  • an attack using chemical weapons, but an improvised delivery system
  • a military chemical weapons attack using artillery or bombs.

Sarin?

Easy to produce:

Not sarin?

Médecins Sans Frontières claims that the cause of death is nerve agents. (See Victims above.) Others disagree. Dan Kaszeta, former CBRN advisor for the White House Military Office, and as a specialist in the US Secret Service," published author and expert in chemical weapons with 22 years experience, is one of those.

  • "If it isn’t Sarin, what is it?" (dead link) – Background paper by Dan Kaszeta, 23 August 2013
The link above is dead. Kaszeta published a revised version of the PDF today, which is here. --CE (talk) 17:02, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Many of the principal indicators of nerve agent poisoning are not widespread or are present in confusing manners:
Some victims appear to have miosis (pinpointed pupils), but some of them are clearly having a bright light shined in their eyes. Some of the supposed examples are not pronounced.

Etc... --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:55, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

The number of people affected indicates to me that whatever toxic substance was used, a large volume of material is needed. Whatever this was, there was a lot of it.
There is still no firm, conclusive evidence as to what the exact method of dissemination was responsible for dispersal of the mystery toxic substance. Was it rockets, missile warheads, artillery shells, mortar shells, a chemical tanker, aerial spray, aerial bomb, or some other means? Was it a mysterious wall of gas that drifted into the area?

A second report from of September 19 followed the release of the U.N. report citing Sarin. In this, Mr. Kaszeta concedes that Sarin apparently was used, while hedging on the blood samples (method of determination and thus specificity was left unclear). However, he wonders if other chemicals were included as well: "Is it possible that we are looking at exposure to multiple causes of injury? Were some of the examined victims exposed to other things in addition to Sarin?" [1] Further, it's worth asking if some were exposed to something besides Sarin, some to nothing but it, and some a mixture, in a mixture of different poisoning methods for each area.--Caustic Logic (talk) 12:07, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Kaszeta explains his "previous skepticism on the use of Sarin was based on video evidence and interpretation of signs and symptoms of exposure," as shown and reported. Denis O'Brien too, saw signs against Sarin (a lack of consistent signs for it). Perhaps the Sarin-exposed people are different from those shown on video, those that matter by way of dying en masse. Living patients are the ones verified with clearly sub-lethal doses of something that tests as if it's Sarin. In contrast, he notes, "by definition, dead people cannot be interviewed. Since Sarin is highly lethal, the people with the most severe signs and symptoms are unavailable for interview." [1] There is also no word on tissue samples taken from, or accepted second-hand from, the victims who died. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:07, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

The Jobar Medical Point doctor explains that people died because they sought sheller in cellars. (Was this because of simultaneous shelling?) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:35, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

Creepy. He might be looking at real symptoms and offering an explanation that fits. What fired-outside rocket pours enough gas to seep into enough cellars to kill 1,000 or even 500, unless they were all crammed in a few well-placed cellars near the impact? I'm remembering the basement "shelters" people were massacred in in Daraya, vs. the basement shelters rebels had forced people into to protect them from shelling or massacres (see here). See especially the last paragraph I just added. If there's sex segregation in the dead, ask why. If they were split up before death, get a chill. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:29, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

More to the point, "What is the chemical agent?" I don't know. But a heavy gas creeping low, sinking into basements and trenches, sounds like chlorine as WWI saw it, for one possibility. If this description is even acurate. He says the gas is heavy, he might know his gasses. As noted around, it doesn't seem to be a persistent chemical like sarin, properly deployed in a pro manner; as with Khan al-Assal, first responders aren't protected and suffer no ill effects. Maybe different chemicals were used in different areas under different conditions, so no one answer will cover it. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Studying symptoms would help, as long as non-fake videos are looked at. This one seems completely real to me and fairly distressing (I've only watched a handful of videos so far). And FWIW, it seems to be a family together, not split up like prisoners. At least in this case. Not clear where this is. They say there's miosis, sarin-type pupil constriction. That's not in this video, but must be around. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:32, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Some odd things in this video. What is the gas cylinder doing on the floor at 0:02? The blue shoulder marking would in Europe indicate nitrous oxide. This is used for pain relief in labour, but these rooms don't look like a labour ward and there is no medical furniture or equipment apart from possibly a cabinet in one corner.
--pmr9 (talk) 23:23, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
The location is the cellar floor in the Kafr Batna town hall. This seems to be the permanent location of the field hospital, as it is the only place that has lights or electricity on August 21. Nitrous oxide could have been used for pain relief when treating battle wounded. I do not see the bottle used now. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 23:48, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Note: location explained, challenged, confrmed here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:12, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Jean Pascal Zanders, who until May 2013 was a senior research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), told the Huffington Post UK that Syrian civilians were "asphyxiated" in Ghouta, east of Damascus, on 21 August, but "we don't know what the agent is. Everyone is saying sarin. There is something clearly to do with a neurotoxicant [such as sarin] but not everything is pointing in that direction."

Fast death

Death usually results within 15 minutes after absorption of a fatal dose.

I find it unlikely that any real sarin victims would be treated and die in a field hospital. They should all be dead by the time the reach the hospital. Yet we see several victims first treated in hospitals and then litteraly dying into the hands of doctors. This slow but inevitable death is far more consistent with chlorine. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:37, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Denis O'Brien letter to Congress

Pharmacologist's Sep09.2013 open letter to Congress says the evidence for sarin isn't there. Here --Pierpont (talk) 01:27, 10 September 2013 (UTC) (there is an alternate link at scribd, but trying to post it here caused me to lose that plus other work -the original works currently, look it up otherwise) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:39, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Welcome and thank you very much for this addition, looks like something to sink one's teeth into, and I wasn't aware that there is a "Feinstein Video Package". Don't know if his "non-neutral" language will help convince Congress, though. --CE (talk) 01:51, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
His "Curiosity #3" might be explained by the fact that the Ghouta isn't a town, it is the Damascus suburb region. I think one could translate it as "Gardens" ... it is not something with a distinct center "1 mile NW of Kafr Batna". But this is an error many commentators make and that point is a minor one anyway. --CE (talk) 03:39, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
An excellent read, thanks for bringing it here. The point CE raises is one problem, and there were a few other minor ones or quibbles. But mainly I was informed. I've actually been vague on the signs of sarin. Seems the only symptom they widely get, aside from easily-faked miosis, is the easily-faked foamy mouth which, apparently is not a symptom of that at all. So kudos, guys, keep the shaving cream coming. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:55, 10 September 2013 (UTC)
I copy pasted the content of the Feinstein Package here. Denis O'Brien uses the pseudonym The Gutter Grunt. The PDF file was posted to his blog here: The Gutter Grunt comes unhinged, writes Congress In the letter he says he received his PhD in pharmacology 35 years ago. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:59, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Whose sarin?

This being a talk page, I'll say I need to look into this. But to note up-front, this seems to do what other reports do - assume sarin rockets killed x-hundred Ghouta victims. There's still no proof of this, and signs to the contrary, as Denis and I explain here. Where this apparent rebel sarin did turn up was not (neccesarily) in any of the dead, which were not tested at all, but in the rebel-screened alleged survivors sent forward to be tested. And as Gareth Porter's analysis (linked there) shows, the details suggest these were subjected only to low (perhaps token, voluntary) doses. Most visual evidence of the actual dead suggests the questions will be whose chlorine? whose carbon monoxide? whose gas chambers? --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:36, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
The OPCW report isn't yet published and the only official documentation of its existence is this letter from the UNSG on 24 November and this one dated 29 December but released on 5 Jan. Zanders evidently has a copy and has written about it on his blog. The Syrian government had alleged an opposition CW attack on its own soldiers in Darayya on 15 Feb 2015, causing 8 casualties. The medical records and blood tests showing reduced cholinesterase activity, were apparently consistent with a nerve agent but OPCW is awaiting tests in their own labs on the stored blood samples to determine whether this was sarin. Note that blood tests can detect sarin, but to get a chemical profile of the impurities (indicating whose sarin) you need environmental samples which apparently Syria didn't have. This report was one of a batch of three, including the one on chlorine in Idlib delivered by permanganate barrel bombs. It's annoying that these reports have been circulated privately but still not published. Pmr9 (talk) 18:00, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

Diisopropyl fluorophosphate?

I note that the Russians have concluded that some of the alleged CW attacks around Allepo in March didn’t involve sarin but instead used diisopropyl fluorophosphate.

Earlier write-up lost. Denis O'Brien, useful comments here. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:39, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Both diisopropyl fluorophosphate and sarin are florated organophospates. I guess both have similar structure at the active point. Would it be easier to produce than 'khitchen sarin'? Petri
As Denis said:
My guess would be that the distinction the Russians may be trying to make is that DFP is probably a lot easier for the insurgents to come by and safer to handle. It takes a lot more DFP to get the job done than sarin. As many of the metabolites are the same, that means a person killed w/ DFP should have higher levels of metabolites in their blood than a person killed w/ sarin. So postmortem analyses should be able to sort out which agent was used.
Kerry keeps saying they have found “signatures of sarin” in the victims. He doesn’t say they have found sarin. This is a serious hedge — maybe he’s punking us. For most of the signatures of sarin will also be signatures of DFP or the other organophosphates. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:06, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Kerry Cites Sarin

They have him holding the vial of Anthrax (ref: Colin Powell). Not at the U.N., but on five different television networks. That takes and shows some past-100% confidence, right? He says Assad has joined the club with Hitler and Hussein. Secretary of State John Kerry, Sept. 1: --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:54, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

On Sunday, Kerry said U.S. officials had received fresh lab results showing traces of sarin in hair and blood samples collected from the scene. He did not give further details or elaborate on the source of the material, other than to say that it had not come from a team of United Nations inspectors that left Syria on Saturday.
Would the UN team secretly give samples to the US before they have themselves analyzed them and published the results? (I think they might give samples afterwards.) The UN team is extremely cautious of evidence tampering, with a team member personally accompanying the sample to and in the laboratory. One way of tampering with evidence would to usurp the process be by publicly announcing a "result" before the official results get out. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:38, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

FSA: Sarin, Ammonia, and "SC3"

One thing it probably wasn't is what an FSA spokesman said they believed it was. A Reuters report said:

“Not all of the missiles appeared to have carried chemical warheads, the FSA spokesman said, but those that did were suspected to have contained sarin, a Russian made nerve agent called SC3 and liquid ammonia supplied by Iran.”

This chemical cocktail is geopolitically useful, implicating three bad guy nations in this attack on Sunni freedom activists. Likely Hexbollah provided the launchers or some other crucial element. But CRBN expert Dan Kaszeta (report, see above for latest version) finds the claim "suspect" and even "nonsensical" and "perverse." (see pp. 6-7) The deadly agent, carefully acquired and loaded, would be rendered inert by ammonia, he says; "Liquid ammonia will inactivate Sarin within seconds or minutes depending on the concentration." This combination would then be about as effective as putting neither chemical in. But then, you can't say the nothing was partly supplied by Iran, and this is a more sinister explanation for why the sarin won't show up in tests; "it was there to start with - they did this to hide it." As for the Russian chemical SC3, Kaszeta never heard of it. It could be a mistranslation, or someone else's name, but the Russians wouldn't call it SC3, he says, as C and S are the same letter in their alphabet. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Atropine?

An interesting thought: Resho Bistuyek, the Kurdish Cause blog, comment beneath this post:

Another thing I'm curious about is whether atropine was delivered to the civilians. During military NBC training, they will tell you to not administer atropine if you have no cause to believe that a nerve agent has been used. It will lead to atropinization. In the case of Zamalka, and other places, if the civilian population and/or the local rebel administration have made the assumption that a nerve agent has been used, and if they have used atropine as result, it might not have helped. Thus easily making them believe that they need another shot, and another shot. Severe atropinization can lead to death. More symptoms of that here:
http://armymedical.tpub.com/MD0534/MD05340049.htm

From that link:

Signs and Symptoms of Severe Atropinization. If a third atropine injectionof 2 mg is repeated within an hour after the second nerve agent exposure and the casualty has not been exposed to a nerve agent, symptoms will be severe enough to interfere with activities. Additional administration of atropine at frequent intervals will result in severe incapacitating symptoms of overatropinization (nerve agent antidote poisoning).

Some symptoms: Dry and flushed skin, Dilated pupils, Tachycardia (rapid pulse), slowing of mental and physical activity, headache, rapid panting respiration, Respiratory distress. Death isn't listed, but most likely lies further down the path of respiratory problems.

The Jobar medical point doctor said: "we exhausted our supplies of atropine and hydrocortisone in Jobar," treating patients he gives as only there and neighboring Ain Tarma, with no mention of Zamalka or other affected areas. "It took from our warehouse alone about 25,000 Atropine ampules, 7,000 hydrocortisone ampules, and 35,000 syringes of different sizes." From the above, I'm guessing five injections within ten minutes, for example, might be fatal. If so, as many as 5,000 people could be killed with that much of the stuff. Looking at the victims, all those not oozing mucous (it does the opposite of that) could have died this way. Probably not, I suppose, but it's worth mentioning anyway. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:35, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Standard dose of atropine for organophosphate poisoning is 2 mg in adults: presumably each ampoule contained a single 2 mg dose. It's apparently difficult to kill an adult with atropine: people have survived doses of 200 mg and even 1000 mg. In children a dose of 10 mg can be fatal. But one would hope that no one with medical training would give 5 adult doses to a child. Pmr9 (talk) 09:58, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
Cool, thanks for the details. 500 ampules worth is survivable by some, while 5 can be fatal to others. Huh. Again, this isn't my theory here, but as a thought exercise ... one shady doctor would oversee a bunch of (Alawite hostages?) allegedly hit with Sarin, and rotate through two or more different groups of medical volunteers. One is told to administer the atropine and then move on the next ward. Another team comes through and does the same, not told of the first. Repeat as needed with a third and/or start rotating, and hopefully none of them recognizes the signs that too much atropine is the problem, and refuses or blows the whistle. I'm cynical enough to believe that, if it made enough sense, which it doesn't seem to. Proof it was Sarin would be: those "treated" with atropine "improved" (went from heretic to dead). --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:18, 1 October 2013 (UTC)
If the perpetrators were planning to deliver dead and dying captives to field hospitals, they'd have to have at least one person at each site whose job it was to make sure that none of the captives survived to tell their tale. But they wouldn't use atropine for this: there are more reliable ways to induce cardiac or respiratory arrest. Elsewhere (can't find the page) we have at least one report from a field hospital that some people (?adults only) arrived unconscious but recovered without treatment: maybe these were the individuals who were later presented to the UN investigators to be tested for sarin exposure. I think CL or CE commented that the cameraman seemed to know who would recover and who would die. ---Pmr9 (talk) 11:10, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Gas or aerosol?

Modern nerve agent type chemical weapons are aerosols, not gasses. I find it unlikely that any military CW delivery system would be able to disperse aerosols into confined closed spaces, like peoples bedrooms or even cellars. Most sources seem to claim the agent was a heavier-than-air gas. Are any gaseous toxins fielded by any modern army as CW agents? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:51, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

Also noteworthy is that if it is gas, the UN will not be able to collect any samples. Maybe the US was right when they said it is "too late". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:43, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

This NBC News story from August 27 shows a factory in Erbin making "improvised" gas masks. The filter seems similar to the filter cans on rubber gas masks; ground charcoal and something caustic (lime?). This would be effective against gasses but have little use in a sarin attack. (Sarin is a liquid and enters the body through the skin.) Why then this sudden need for protection from poisonous gasses. Is it because the people are misinformed and believe that sarin is a nerve gas? More likely because the witnesses are right, Erbin was hit by a gas cloud on August 21. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:16, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

The design of the gas mask is covered in greater detail by Daily Mail.

We consulted doctors on this project. They told us that coal and sodium absorbs smells and diffuses harmful chemicals... so on took their advice on this... 'We thought of the design... we saw lots of people using cloths or towels to protect themselves... so we thought there must be a better solution. 'So we started to think of design... we saw that coal is used in water filters... so we can use the same filters here... and cotton also purifies air... so all of the textiles used in it are made of cotton.' -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:46, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Heavier-than-air gas?

"People started hearing from the mosques that they have to go to move to higher buildings[to escape the gas]," says this man.

Chlorine?

Benefits: (-- Petri Krohn (talk) 13:55, 2 September 2013 (UTC))

  • Easily available to rebels from Aleppo chlorine factory.
  • Can be stored in (cooking gas) gas bottles under pressure.
  • Will disperse by itself, unlike liquid nerve agents that need to be turned into aerosol to be weaponized.

Sources:

Chlorine gas destroyed the respiratory organs of its victims and this led to a slow death by asphyxiation. One nurse described the death of one soldier who had been in the trenches during a chlorine gas attack. “He was sitting on the bed, fighting for breath, his lips plum coloured. He was a magnificent young Canadian past all hope in the asphyxia of chlorine. I shall never forget the look in his eyes as he turned to me and gasped: I can’t die! Is it possible that nothing can be done for me?” It was a horrible death, but as hard as they tried, doctors were unable to find a way of successfully treating chlorine gas poisoning.
Burning pain, redness, and blisters on the skin if exposed to gas. Skin injuries similar to frostbite can occur if it is exposed to liquid chlorine.
Not the best description for what we see in the Kafr Batna burned victims, nor the worst. It's those whom Petri and I are thinking about here (right, P?). And as noted elsewhere, chlorine doesn't just suffocate but causes the oozing of mucous we see in those as well as the red lips and skin burns. --Caustic Logic (talk) 01:04, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Chlorine is a greenish-yellow, noncombustible gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. Its intermediate water solubility accounts for the effect on the upper airway and lower respiratory tract.[2] Prolonged exposure to chlorine gas may occur because its moderate water solubility delays onset of upper airway symptoms for several minutes. In addition, the density of the gas is greater than that of air, causing it to remain near ground level and increasing exposure time. The odor threshold for chlorine is approximately 0.3-0.5 parts per million (ppm); however, distinguishing toxic air levels from permissible air levels may be difficult until irritative symptoms are present. As the concentration of chlorine gas exposure increases, the severity of symptoms and rapidity of onset increase. Concentrations above 400 ppm are often fatal.

I do not know if any source has stated chlorine as the agent, but here is one video that does. Then again, it may be just quoting us, without giving proper attribution. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:35, 10 September 2013 (UTC)

Here is one more source on chlorine:

I believe I may have been the first to suggest chlorine was used in the Ghouta attack. By 2014 claims of chlorine use had become routine. Why should we believe the Ghouta attack was any different? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:44, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

September 12 attack in Jobar

The location is not exactly in Jobar, as reported, but to the south in Al Maamouniye. Wikimapia labels the bulding marked in red on the right as Sufi Mosque. The wind on the morning of September 12th was blowing from the northwest.

This story seems to confirm my suspicion, that the main agent was chlorine gas (spiced with some sort of "kitchen sarin").

Reports are coming in from activists in Jobar, in the Damascus suburbs, claiming that there was new poison gas attack by the Assad regime in the early morning Thursday. This time chlorine gas was used and 25 people have been affected.
Assad forces dropped poisonous gas bombs near Jobar district's police station about an hour ago, causing several non-life threatening injuries. The bombs seem to contain a chlorine substance which caused suffocation, convulsions and extreme sweating. Residents at first feared sarin had been released once again in the area, causing panic to ensue as a result of the last chemical weapons attack on the area by the Assad regime three weeks ago. Regime forces continue to clash with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the area on the Southern Bypass near Zamalka city, Jobar district and the Abbasiyeen front line. Regime forces are also shelling the area with artillery.

I do not think the chlorine came from "poisonous gas bombs". More likely the source is the gas bottles we have already seen in the tunnel in Jobar. The Syrian government has never released information on what was in the bottles. Interestingly, no one is said to have died. I believe that for chlorine to be effective it would have to be released in confined spaces. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:33, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

March 2015 attack in Sarmin

Main article: Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack, March 16, 2015

The agent used in the March 16, 2015 attack on Sarmin. Similarity of the photos and video of the victims of the two attacks suggests that chlorine was also the agent in Ghouta. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 22:13, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Interestingly, The Guardian now claims chlorine was the agent in Ghouta: -- Petri Krohn (talk) 02:26, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Mustard gas?

From Libya? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Phosphine?

Detia GAS-EX-B bag used for generating phosphine gas found in a rebel held school in Eastern Aleppo in December 2016.

The primary use of phosphine is as a fumigant in grain silos and other farm use. It is easily generated from pellets of aluminium phosphide upon contact with atmospheric water. The precursors are commercially available in bags and in 20 kg barrels under the brand name Detia GAS-EX-B. other brand names for aluminium phosphide include Fostox, Celphos, Fumitoxin, Phostoxin, Talunex , Phostek , and Quick Phos.

Impure "technical grade" phosphine has a highly unpleasant odor like garlic or rotting fish or rotten eggs. Witnesses in Ghouta reported the smell as unpleasant, rotten like rotten eggs.

Wikipedia covers the effects of phosphine under the topic of aluminium phosphide poisoning. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:49, 5 December 2016 (UTC)

Liquid?

HRW in their fraudulent analysis argue that the chemical agent was delivered to Zamalka in the shells of thermobaric weapons. (The analysis is fraudulent because they omit to discuss or even mention the known fact that the UMLACA rocket is a well known Fuel-Air Explosive design.) In theory it would be possible to adapt this rocket to the delivery of some chemical agent – but only if the agent is in liquid form. Analysis of the debris, as done by Brown Moses shows that the container is not capable of containing a pressurized gas, nor is there any capability for filling the cylinder with gas. All there is a simple screw-on tap you would see in oil drums. For liquid to be used, it would have to be dispersed somehow. In the Fuel-Air use of the design a easily evaporating fluid is used. This would be dispersed by the pressure created on the cylinder by the impact. A chemical agent would likely need an explosive charge inside the casing. As pointed out by Yossef Bodansky the design does not have an explosive charge in its core and is thus poorly suited for the delivery of nerve agents.

Is there any liquid agent that could be poured into this container for liquids that would produce the chemical weapons effects? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:21, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Mixture?

It is possible that a mixture of agents was used, or different agents were used at different locations. This would be most consistent with the "rebels did it" narrative, with possible only a limited supply of sarin or other nerve agents available. The fact that analysis of the evidence cannot point out a agent responsible for all the symptoms observed hints at this possibility. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:00, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Hmm... Would it be possible to somehow "spice" chlorine gas with sarin? Put small amounts of sarin into the gas bottle and use the pressure to disperse the sarin in an aerosol form? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:27, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

Smell?

A long list of eyewitness reports is compared by sasa wawa to similar eyewitness reports of the Halabja chemical attack of 1988:

Zamalka victims provided numerous eyewitness reports, and they were near unanimous in their descriptions of weird odors. Examples:

  • "vinegar and rotten eggs"
  • "unpleasant smell", "yellowish color"
  • "rotten smell" ...

Compared to Halabja with mustard gas (brown-yellow color, garlic smell), sarin (odorless), tabun (fruit smell) and VX (odorless),

  • "sweet apples"
  • "It was just like the smell of garlic." ...

-- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:21, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

How much toxin?

What is the amount of toxin needed to cause this many deaths in such a wide area, assuming the agent was spread in the open? If it was only used in "confined spaces", then naturally the amount needed would be far less. (see The Role of Basements below.) -- Petri Krohn (talk) 17:47, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

It has been argued, that the agent used was a heavier-than-air gas. For toxic gasses to produce the number of deaths in open air huge amounts would be needed:

In May 1928, eleven tons of phosgene escaped from a war surplus store in central Hamburg. 300 people were poisoned of whom 10 died – Source: Phosgene: Chemical warfare in Wikipedia

Phosgene is said to be more effective than chlorine. Mustard gas is likely more deadly, but has not been suggested as the agent. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:35, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

HRW: 500 liters

HRW somewhere says 500 liters of sarin was used. This estimate seems to be based on nothing more than multiplying the number of UMLACAs (12?) with their capacity (60l?). -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:39, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

The HRW figure of 12 sites is based on activist reports of 12 impact locations. In fact at most 4 sites in East Ghouta are identified - one without any location. If there were more sites with missile debris they would certainly have been photographed and reported. It appears likely the Syrian national sporty of exaggeration is at play.
A more reasonable estimate based on the verifiable number of missiles is around 200l (One US 55 gallon drum, UK 44 gallon drum) in four missiles. --Charles Wood (talk) 01:51, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Dan Kaszeta: large amount

This confirms my suspicions, for a large target zone and a large number of casualties an attack requires a large amount of agent.

Sasa Wawa: 300-700 kg

I will also take this opportunity to respond to another report by Dan Kaszeta, which raised doubts as to whether the number of rockets used in the attack is sufficient to cause the number of casualties reported. The calculations are based on several incorrect assumptions, but most importantly it uses data tables that assume an attack on prepared troops who wear gas masks within 15 seconds ("Based on... 15 second masking time"). This was obviously not the case in Zamalka, where sarin was inhaled by victims for a 50-100 times longer period. The longer exposure time is more than enough to account for the gap in Dan's report, making 5-12 rockets of 60 kg sarin a sufficient explanation for the number of casualties reported.

March 1988 Halabja

Sarin was supposed to be used in the attack 1988 by Iraqi Troops. There is video material available on youtube as well. might be of interest http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20553826 In Syria I saw no mentioning of Sarin in hair samples (UN Report 16Sept2013), no skin lesion. --FriedemannWo (talk) 12:49, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

I was not following closely those developments but I note that in this UN document [1] , item 26, on page number 5 (= PDF page 8), sarin is mentioned . Also in the news announcement. Blood and urine sited as evidence, while hair collected and nothing further said. --Resup (talk) 13:55, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Thermobaric weapon?

Moved to Talk:Thermobaric weapons

Ghost bubbles

Many of the nighttime photos show round artifacts, as if some tiny droplets of dirty water or aerosol had condensed on the lens. The size of the circles is random, so the round shape can not be an image of the camera aperture (bokeh). The circles are real. Bad camera design allows the flash to illuminate the stain. The stain might contain the chemical agent or whatever was effecting air quality in Ghouta at the time.

The circles in no two photos are a match. The photos are labeled as coming from a diverse set of places, but most are in fact from Jisreen. -- Petri Krohn (talk)

Interesting point you mentioned before to lodge more clearly now. Definitely droplets have hit this lens, leaving light residue, if that's what you mean. Not bokeh, not little ghosts at different distance. It could just be water, if it were sprinkling/misting. Or it could be from the hosing down of people - fine spray, high-pressure but at some distance. Don't know how much of that is the color of the residue vs. just the light either, so I don't know. Maybe someone else will. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:32, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
  1. 1.0 1.1 "Observations on the United Nation Report released 16 September 2013." By Dan Kaszeta, September 19, 2013. PDF download link