Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack Khan Sheikhoun 4 April 2017

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This is a talk page for discussing Alleged Chemical Attack Khan Sheikhoun 4 April 2017. For sources, claims and narratives see the main page. (To see what is hot, see recent changes)


Initial Story

Maybe the incident was today? 4 April? Need confirmation. I assumed it was yesterday because of the quantity of images and media dissemination in essentially only a couple of hours. I just saw one report of an ambulance service driving from Idlib at 06:30 local time --Charles Wood (talk) 10:56, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Low sunlight in some photos suggests it's near sunset on the 3rd or sunrise on the 4th. Whatever is specified - if the date's wrong, probably worth an early move to new page, but no panic. We'll figure it out soon. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:38, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
This NY Times Report says the attack occurred at dawn on 4 April 2017. Another report I saw had a private ambulance service start driving to the scene from Idlib at 06:30. Sunrise in the area is 06:17 and it's starting to get light 30 minutes before say 05:47. One consequence is the victims especially children should be in night clothing. --Charles Wood (talk) 20:31, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Reports on Twitter show images branded with White Helmets / Syrian Civil Defence logo. The images are obviously screenshots of video. Images appear to show predominately youths and infants dead. There are also images of WH personnel spraying bodies (alive or dead?) with water.

Symptoms are consistent with Sarin in that there is profuse white foam on the mouths of some victims. However there is no sign of incontinence or vomit - most victims are in their underwear so it would be obvious.

More images at Twitter Thomas Van Linge However he is not a primary source and is repeating images provided ultimately by the White Helmets. --Charles Wood (talk) 08:27, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

More tweets:

  • Thomas Van Linge: local sources are now reporting 70 dead and 500 affected by the chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun
  • Thomas Van Linge: Video(18+): 43 children that have suffocated to death in alleged chemical attack targeting civilians in #Idlib
  • AEJKhalil: (photos, noting mostly children)
  • AEJKhalil: (bearded man with foam that's perhaps too white and too copious to be genuine)

--Caustic Logic (talk) 09:37, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Death Toll

Report by Idlib Health Directorate and White Helmets from April 7 claims 89 dead (37 men, 33 kids and 19 women) and 541 injured

... (currently reported at 70, and perhaps rising) ... ... Now 100+ and 400 injured ... ... (earlier it was dozens, 38, 54, etc.) ...

  • The SOHR cites at least 72 dead, including at least 20 children. (tweet - tweet)
  • The VDC so far lists 69 killed including 69 civilians and zero rebel fighters. 27 men, 16 boys, 19 women, 7 girls. There are 19 named Yousef (9 men, 4 boys, 5 women, one girl), 8 named Qadah, 5 named Khaled, etc. It says most from Khan Sheikhoun, several from Morek, Marzaf, Latamna, blank. None is listed as from Khattab.
The Yousefs should normally have other women attached, with their fathers' names as usual for observant Muslims. Five women to eight men (and one girl, and just 4 boys) is just high enough to wonder if these are married couples. That would suggest Christians, or at least secular-leaning "modern" people. In fact VDC says Malak Turky al-Yousef is married to Nihad Alyousef, but Safia is Wife of Najeeb al-Jawhar, and the others are marital status unknown. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
    • Later on, VDC lists 79. 8 men were added, 1 boy, 1 girl. Still 19 Yousefs. They're not done counting, and even when they are, they often stop short of the largest (and sometimes most likely) tallies (see the Dec. 12 sarin attack) --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:57, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
      • 92 now, and I suspect the final tally is over 100 like they said. How much over remains unclear. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:33, 9 April 2017 (UTC)
      • The 92 seems final (same search as above), plus at least one: Ibraheem Hasan Abodia from Khan Sheikhoun, died from regime's CW (story change) in Turkey, only on April 10 (or he was listed then, or whatever). 93 including zero militants, 40 civilian men, 20 boys, 21 women, 12 girls - an unusually balanced group. --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:33, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
    • All between 4-5 and 4-22 = 3 total dead listed later, which adds to the 92 for 95 listed. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:46, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
  • Some reports say 43 children were killed, suggesting an overall death toll more in the 100+ range. I'm sure rebels could scrape up at least that for something important enough. --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:23, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

In Context

At 70 and perhaps still rising, this would be the third largest alleged death toll from an alleged CW attack in Syria so far. For reference:

  1. 21 August, 2013, Ghouta, Damascus: regime sarin rockets blamed, min 420, max 1,429 killed
  2. 12 December, 2016, near Uqrabiyat, Hama: reported 93 or more killed, Russian sarin bombs are blamed
  3. this - likely to be the same story as above.
At 100+ it'll be #2, but that's how I made the list. The April 2014 JaN attack in Nawa, Deraa, killed about 70 soldiers and almost belongs. --Caustic Logic (talk) 23:32, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

No one much heard of the December incident, but it might rise again now as 'a shamefully-ignored precedent'. That was in 3 towns in rural Hama run by ISIS. Russian bombing, probably with sarin, was blamed. Now that it's in the turf of the overtly foreign-supported Islamists, the claim has a much, much higher chance of serious and even sustained media coverage (people care, or are supposed to care, just as little about ISIS claims as they do about Syrian government claims)

Also for context on how the rebels encounter these high death tolls in these top 3 cases:

  1. evidence suggests it was hostages killed in gas chambers with a variety of non-sarin chemicals, sometimes finished off with neck wounds)
  2. evidence is extremely sparse, so the picture isn't clear, but it seems likely to be the same kind of scenario
  3. evidence is fairly copious, likely to yield some good clues (that may reflect back on the above precedent case) --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:24, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Preceding Reports

30 March 2017, Latamina, Hama Chemical Weapons Attack in Latamneh, Hama Injures 70. The source is UOSSM. More links on HDBG's twitter feed, including a video showing miosis and a link to a report in which a doctor attributes the attack to "organic phosphorus". Possible motive is to draw US into supporting a safe zone in NW Syria --Pmr9 (talk) 12:43, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Ok, that's odd. March 25 was the chlorine attack that killed Dr. Darwish at the cave hospital. I think that's Dr. Islams' video on that day where he said chlorine, but then said in the tweet they thought it was sarin. Or was that from March 30? Then March 30 and mixed claims including sarin signs and chlorine reports - and now sarin overtly claimed ... I guess the regime trying to sneak it back in under cover of their "accepted" chlorine use? Wouldn't that just shame us all for our silence? --Caustic Logic (talk) 11:30, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Hazmat team

Hazmat team member taking oxygen.
Hazmat team seen in the back, rubber gloves hanging on the clothes line on the left.

Although most of the "rescuers" seen at the White Helmets cave compound in the early morning hosing scene are poorly protected against sarin, there is also a better equipped hazmat team on the site. They wear white overalls and yellow rubber gloves.

The hazmat team seems to spend most of their time in the caves to right side or eastern side of the rock facade. They are seen in the back in the Reuters / Ammar Abdullah photo. In other photos and video they are seen inside resting and taking recreational oxygen in between what they are actually doing. The room to the east also seems to be better equiped to handle chemical weapons, than the green colored treatment room to the west. The video also shows some kind of laboratory table with two women seen working on it. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:56, 17 April 2017 (UTC)


Moved to /Timeline#Timing

Possible kidnapping cues

(See #Whora Hora below for the #Location.)
A White Helmets photographer carrying a dead child around at a al-Nusra field hospital and communications center.

Just out, a piece by Leith Fadel about civilians, who were kidnapped in Khattab (the closest to Hama the offensive went) on the weekend before the army took it back, and "all taken to Khan Sheikhoun". Number unknown, allegedly reported by a family member. No connection to this event alleged (by Leith). --CE (talk) 13:17, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes, this has the signs of hostage massacre. Typically in history rebels and other less civilized combatants have killed their hostages right before they have been forced to retreat from a town. Were the people killed in their home towns or where they transported before the massacre. Maybe the adults had been killed earlier and the children moved to Khan Sheikhoun. But why kill them now? Revenge? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 14:25, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Antonopoulos has now written that it had been around 250 people kidnapped, from Khattab and Majdal, and that "local sources" claim to have identified some from the dead. He also points out that on the video material there are openings seen carved into rock. A "missile factory" with enough room to host 250 hostages and maybe stocks of some chemical junk material? Maybe worth to take a look on the map. Later. --CE (talk) 14:40, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Thomas van Linge tweets, using Aleppo Media Center photos:
  • Syria: warplanes also struck a @SyriaCivilDef center in Khan Shaykhun, further hindering rescue operations in the struck city
The three photos show the same compound as in the CW victim photos. I am now more convinced that this is the Lataminah cave compound.
So what happened first? Did AssadPutin bomb the place before or after the dead CW victims were brought over for treatment? Update: The bombing happened later, the building is still intact in the chemical victim videos. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:05, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
His next tweet shows "Turkish medical workers" in Turk-oise shoes "wearing fully protective suits when transporting the victims of the chemical attack to #Turkey" Huh? Where is this coming from? --CE (talk) 21:18, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Just put this to the news - Turkish Health Ministry says 31 victims were brought to Turkey, three of them died, the autopsies point to exposure to Sarin. Justice Minister says "it has been determined that al-Assad used chemical weapons". *sigh* --CE (talk) 15:46, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
P.S. - Here is a video by Hadi Alabdallah of the compound after the alleged attack. This should be enough for geolocation. + three more videos -- Petri Krohn (talk) 21:24, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

The photo of the guy w/ the Canon strap carrying the kid wrapped in blue plastic is a Reuters photo by Ammar Abdullah. It is part of a vid of which I have found only a 3 sec snip. There is another pic of the Canon guy w/ the kid walking out of a door, presumably from the same vid. Would love to find the whole vid.

And the reason I raise it is the grey van in the background, parked in the opening. Grey w/ scarlet design on the side. It's an ambulance, and "AMBULANCE" is painted in English on the window. Number "13" can be seen adjacent the tail-light. The same or identical van is seen in the image of Canon-guy walking out the door, but you can't see the number on that van, so it may be a different one.

Then hop to the Shajul Islam vid, featured in the "Shady Doctor" section below. An identical van is seen twice in that vid. Once at 01:04 and again at 10:15 -- different visits, different patients, different time of day. But almost certainly the same van. That van does not have "13" on the fender, so there may be a bunch of these ambulances operating in this area -- at least 2 for sure. Same vans show up in vids #42 and #44 in Petri's playlist. So the presence of the same or similar ambulances ties a number of locations together, and if that's a Nusra compound in the photo above, it suggests these may be Nusra ambulances. Pierpont (talk) 17:32, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

Shady photographer

The photo linked by Petri, taken by Ammar Abdullah for Reuters and reproduced in the Guardian, shows that this is some kind of quarry with passages in the rock wall. Whether this is the Lataminah compound I'm not able to judge, but it doesn't make any sense for the children to be in a place like this unless they were captives: it's not where their homes were, and it's not a hospital. I think serious consideration should be given to Petri's suggestion that the massacre was carried out on 30 March in Lataminah, reported by UOSSM at the time as causing 70 casualties but no fatalities, and that the videos recorded on that day were uploaded today as showing a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Are there any videos of the 30 March attack? Pmr9 (talk) 18:31, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

If you look at the old videos you will see that the cave compound was also a field hospital. On the Guardian photo you see two ambulances. I think this cave is a White Helmets compound. (This does not exclude it being a al-Qaeda compound at the same time.) -- 18:53, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Unsurprisingly there are some pics on Ammar Abdullah's Reuters page that show he's deeply embedded with Nusra. Here family photos with a commander of a Nusra subdivision, there right at the place to film the green buses go up in flames during the Aleppo evacuation. --CE (talk) 19:49, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Shady doctor

Some shady "doctors" (and Mohammed Alloush) in this twitter thread linked in the Antonopoulos article. Connections? --CE (talk) 18:44, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Dr Shajul Islam, apparently in charge of the hospital in Khan Sheikhoun, is definitely shady, and is no longer a doctor, at least in the UK. Some commentators have noted that in the middle of a mass casualty incident he was more concerned with tweeting and making videos than with attending to patients.
Shajul Islam, who qualified in London, was struck off the UK medical register in 2013 ( He had been arrested on returning to the UK from Syria in 2012, and charged with kidnapping two journalists: John Cantlie, and Jeroen Oerlemans. However the trial collapsed when the two victims failed to appear as prosecution witnesses: Cantlie had been kidnapped again alongside James Foley. It's not clear what happened to Oerlemans. This didn't stop the General Medical Council, which is not bound by the same rules of evidence, from striking him off. Pmr9 (talk) 22:00, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, fascinating. --CE (talk) 06:06, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Ditto - this (or all personnel) deserve a section. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:37, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
Further material on Shajul Islam, based on following up Petri's reference below to SI's tweets. SI has a website or medicalaid4syria on which he describes himself as a British-born doctor, and for which he is listed as the registrant with an address in east London, established 8 Sep 2016. This appears to match a charity named Medical Aid and Support for Syria registered on 11 Aug 2016. To be struck off the medical register is far more than having a license to practice revoked - it is a permanent expulsion from the medical profession, based on the finding that the offender is not fit to be a doctor. Someone with this status should not be in charge of a charity, and should not be receiving funding from the UK government as SI implies he is. Pmr9 (talk) 20:50, 7 April 2017 (UTC)
Dr. Islam today thanks everyone for one hundred thousand pounds donated in one week. --CE (talk) 17:15, 10 April 2017 (UTC)

Bellingcat says Dr Shajul Islam from Binnish hospital" ... "At 6:24am UTC Dr Shajul Islam, based in Binnish, 50km north of Khan Sheikhoun tweeted “OUR HOSPITAL GETTING FULL FROM THE SARIN ATTACK TODAY. ANYONE THAT WANTS EVIDENCE, I WILL VIDEO CALL YOU.” So that's in Binnish, north of Sarmin, not a place of that name in K.S. For anyone trying to geo-locate it (a decent view at the very end of the 10:30 video) or make sense of the story, he might be there, not in Khan Sheikhoun. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:54, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Elsewhere in the clip he talks about victims coming from Khan Sheikhoun. I got the sense he wasn't in Khan Sheikhoun, and certainly not in the underground bunker. Being in Binnish is plausible, but there is about an hours drive getting patients between the two locations. Assuming the usual stuffing around It's unlikely the first victims hit Binnish much before 08:30 local time --Charles Wood (talk) 22:30, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Water triage

Moved to /Timeline#Water triage

Chemical Questions

Moved to /Chemical agent

Rescue and recovery operations

A White Helmets member marks a building in Khan Sheikhoun with spray paint after checking it for victims or survivors of the sarin gas attack. No?

If dead children are paraded in front of cameras, it does not show a chemical weapons attack. It is proof of murder, someone massacred these children and their families. To claim a gas attack, you have to show photos and videos of the attack site; dead families inside or outside their homes. Dead animals. Rescue workers breaking into houses and discovering the bodies. The White Helmets are an Oscar-winning film crew, with GoPro action cams attached to their signature helmets. They film each and every real and fake rescue operation they take part in. So why no video of the Khan Sheikhoun rescue and recovery work?

How were the victims taken from the place of the attack to the place where they were first filmed? Who did the rescue work? Where where the White Helmets and their camera crews when this happened?

If this was a real rescue operation, the White Helmets would have to go through each house to check if there are any occupants in need of help or any bodies to be recovered. Basic urban search and rescue teaches that each house or apartment be marked with spray paint after being checked. I am sure the White Helmets would know this, they have received the best hazmat and chemical weapons training from the leading Western experts. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 07:49, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

I do not think any rescue work ever happened. No video of it exist or will ever show up. We can however get some insight into the events preceding the scenes at the field hospitals. Look how the victims are clothed. Many are seen in their underwear. Who undressed them and where? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:04, 7 April 2017 (UTC)

The woman in this video describes a busy scene, ongoing rescue operation at 9:30, almost 2 hours after the attack. --Q (talk) 12:55, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
This is not a description of Search and Rescue. Someone kidnapped the woman's four children while she was away, took them to some White Helmets compound and gassed them to death. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:17, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

White Helmets tell their story

Finnish state broadcaster YLE had a 50 minute special on the "Gas attack." A White Helmet named Ismail al-Abdullah is interviewed. He gives hoax testimony, that he could as well learned from watching videos (section starts at 10 minutes). The same guy is interviewed here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

From the testimony it is clear he knows nothing of what happened to the victims before they arrived at the White Helmets base. He woke up and heard people screaming. He rushes to the "location", but he is evidently speaking of the White Helmets location, not location of the alleged attacks. He then pours water on the victims and coordinates with ambulances to take survivors to Turkey. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:42, 7 April 2017 (UTC)


Moved to /Location

Bombing video

I find nothing out of the ordinary in the HAQ News Agency bombing video. It is typical for Syrian planes to drop four bombs at once. The blasts are just like ones of 250 kg or larger from Soviet of Russian thermobaric bombs. Here is a video with a collection of "parachute bomb" strikes. The Khan Sheikhoun strike could well be on this list. Update: More video of thermobaric parachute bombs. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:31, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

Update 2: It is clear that the blasts on the videos are from thermobaric ODAB-500 bombs. Michael Kobs‏ actually identifies the parts in the "sarin" crater as being from a ODAB-500, although they may be planted in the crater. Here are more videos of ODAB-500 being dropped on Latamneh. This video shows a Su-22 doing something that looks like dive bombing. Here is a video of a dud ODAB-500. No, is is an artillery shell. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:52, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

Have some doubts on ODAB 500. It has about 193 kg of liquid fuel, taking oxygen from atmosphere (I think). In that case, it will be ideally equivalent to roughly 1,930 kg TNT (gasoline/kerosene), and factually listed as equivalent to 1000 kg TNT. Either of that will demolish a small building. Also, it has length 2.38 meters, which, I think, is longer than that thing in the crater, perhaps roughly twice. I do not immediately see smaller munitions of that type, maybe that's why internet investigators list that one. Unsure whether smaller ones of that type exist, but may be; could be other smaller types too, nothing there is too spectacular; and we do not see initial fireball too. --Resup (talk) 23:17, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
There is no ODAB-250. If it has a parachute and goes up in a single bang it must be an ODAB-500. Not some cluster bomb as Postol speculates. The Chinese have a 250 kg fuel-air bomb. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:59, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
I have to disagree on the thermobaric theory. The bomb smoke was classic Syrian beige. Thermobaric bombs are white / pale to white-green, but not usually beige. Plus the bomb blasts were quite small, one in particular far right, plus the white smoke thing which is unexplained
However to contradict myself, the white smoke thing could be a dispersed but undetonated thermobaric weapon - or a thermobaric weapon pressed into service as a CW weapon (not much difference really) --Charles Wood (talk) 09:20, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Color, watching some vids, ANFOs ones are beige (example); in Petri vids, they are off white/grey and some do appear beige like (@ 0:20+) (can sand raised give it some beige?) (or not fully burned as intended, somehow; CO2+H20 I guess would look white) --Resup (talk) 10:30, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Here are some plumes produced by "Elephant" rockets (UMLACA / Volcano?). Much white smoke. Only one blast that produces any kind of mushroom effect. video 1, video 2 -- Petri Krohn (talk) 08:42, 27 June 2017 (UTC)

The rightmost explosion(pic) is much farther than it looks at first glance. I made an attempt to geolocate it, and based on the result it's in the opposite side of the town, at around 1200m distance from the leftmost explosion, which means it couldn't come from the same release as the other 3.

The questions are, was this lone explosion the work of the same plane, and was it an accidental strike(mechanical problem?), or a deliberate one? I personally see no reason to drop a single dumb bomb anywhere, but I'm not SyAAF, maybe they think differently. If it was accidental strike from the same plane, then it may possible to guess the approximate path of the plane, If we assume that it only flew over the town one time. There is also the possibility that there were two planes, one struck the SW side of the town(still no good reason to do, but whatever) and the other one bombed the northern side. --Q (talk) 14:36, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

Can we clarify a crucial point: is there any evidence that there was an airstrike in the town of KS in the early morning, other than the rebels' story, and media briefings by the US military that they detected a Syrian jet over the town at 0637 and 0646 local time?
The HAQ video show explosions on the ground but no aircraft. The videos from the alleged attack site don't show a crater but rather something that looks like an IED. The Syrian government says that they struck a munitions depot at about 11.30 am, and the Russians say that they notified the US military of this in advance. The timed videos from the cave complex show that the large building next to the hosing area was struck at about noon, collapsing its roof. This is consistent with the Syrian / Russian story. The rebels' story is that this later attack on the cave complex was a separate attack on the hospital.
If the hypothesis of a managed massacre of captives is correct, this question has implications for the role of the US military. If there was an airstrike, or even a reconnaisance flight, before 7 am this would suggest that the massacre managers had advance knowledge of the strike and timed their operation to coincide with it. If however there was no airstrike on KS before 7 am and the US military is simply lying, this would imply that the US military is actively colluding with the massacre managers. Pmr9 (talk) 15:49, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Let's divide the question into two:
  1. The videos are consistent with four thermobaric bombs dropped at once. This is typical of Syrian airstrikes. Also the the blasts look similar to blasts seen on videos of other Syrian strikes.
  2. Did the strike occur and was the video filmed on April 4th? We have two possibly independent videos of the same event, one by HAQ and the other by the al-Nusra news agency. The HAQ cameraman states the place on video, most likely also the date. (This is standard procedure for all rebel news videos.)
I am not sure the US military detected a Syrian jet. I think the data they released comes from the rebel "Aircraft Monitoring Center". -- Petri Krohn (talk) 16:18, 29 April 2017 (UTC)
Petri's (1) They are, apart from one bomb either did not explode or is different. That is important as thermobaric blast will produce temperatures of about couple of thousand degrees which (I think) will destroy sarin decomposing, oxidizing, etc, if somebody will try to use them together or claim such use. In rebels did it theory it will be hard to arrange that bombs dropped by Syrian plane behave in such 3+1 way visually. But it is not really difficult to acquire those bombs and explode them in front of cameras. Or save such previous event for future use, perhaps. We do not have enough info to tell for sure what happened on that video. (I seen somewhere claimed that chemical munitions are not droppable from Syrian jets but do not know why that would be the case, and with that, in principle not impossible). End of (2): the blue vest 'press' guy talks about 'aviation monitoring center'; no clue what he means by that.
'Aviation monitoring center' is volunteer plane spotters and a network to collect all the data together into an unified picture. This the way enemy planes were monitored during WWII, before the invention of radar. There is a Wikipedia article on the system in Finnish. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 01:51, 30 April 2017 (UTC)
Pmr9: If there was a 6:30 strike, I do not think it really requires advance knowledge; they could prepare everything and wait for a strike to happen; and it happens often enough. If there was no 6:30 strike, it gets trickier as they started rolling earlier than acknowledged Syrian strike; and there is stronger case that Syrian attack plan (made known in advance via Russia-USA channel) was leaked to them too. In any case, this has nothing to do with US military, which cannot be knowingly committing war crimes. And there is no need to, also, with enough worldwide murky characters involved already. Could be rush to judgment creating pressure to defend what was done afterwards? I do not know but perhaps; very few organisations anywhere (if any at all) are above such pressures. --Resup (talk) 17:56, 29 April 2017 (UTC)

He added that the warplane conducted four raids in different areas that day, including one in the northern neighborhood, one in al-Souk neighborhood, and another in the agricultural lands outside the city. All the attacks were normal except the one in northern neighborhood. He stated:

Sourced from A Special Report on the Chemical Attack in Khan Sheikhoun - Idlib.pdf--Charles Wood (talk) 07:23, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

ibid, p.21 . It was allegedly prior attack, near grain silos, without explosive sound, which was the chemical attack. 4 munitions attack is after that. Times not provided. All that as presented does not exclude false flag followed by bombing raid (or 'Assad gone mad' plot, for that matter). I am not sure I understand what Pentagon version is, I only saw it released via media reports (telling about 2 planes on radar), and the map, which looks like a single path over city. If Pentagon map does tell us it was one bombing raid, it makes the first attack a false flag (but they got a 2 plane escape from that trap)--Resup (talk) 14:01, 2 July 2017 (UTC)

Weather & gas extent

Moved to /Location#Weather & gas extent

Russian Version of Events

Russian spokesman Konschenkov made a statement to the effect the gas was released from a weapons factory. Second-hand source at Al-MAsdar news (can we get a better source?)

The BBC has now weighed in quoting Hamist DeBretton Gordon dismissing the claim.

A chemical weapons expert, Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, told the BBC that the Russian version of events was "pretty fanciful". The idea that a nerve gas like Sarin could spread after a weapons manufacturing process had been bombed was "unsustainable", he added.

The HDBG objection apparently includes the assumption the chemicals are being manufactured on the site - rather than being assembled into weapons for shipment using shipped in precursor materials.

Sarin is usually delivered as a binary weapon with in-flight mixing, though immediate pre-launch mixing is possible. In either case precursors are kept in close proximity and accidental mixing by nearby explosion is quite feasible.

Further, the main precursor ingredient of binary Sarin is either methylphosphonyl difluoride or a mix of methylphosphonyl difluoride and methylphosphonyl dichloride. Both chemicals are extremely toxic and produce nerve-gas symptoms including death in sufficient concentration.

A plausible inference is containers of one or both precursor chemicals was ruptured in the raid and produced the symptoms. --Charles Wood (talk) 11:24, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

I've sourced the Konashenkov statement now with TASS on the frontpage. The biggest remaining (see my observations on the Khazanat video Petri found) problem to make sense of this, in any way, seems to be the off timing you pointed out, with the admitted Syrian strike around noon while the videos show and have been released much earlier (at least the latter on the same day). --CE (talk) 18:49, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
NY Times article puts it variously before 7am and before first prayers (quote text may have changed? I'm sure it said Mariam was being examined at first prayers) -
A 14-year-old resident of the attacked town, Mariam Abu Khalil, said she had left home for her examination on the Quran — scheduled for early morning because fewer bombings were expected then — when the attack took place. On the way, she saw an aircraft drop a bomb on a one-story building a few dozen yards away. In a telephone interview Tuesday night, she described an explosion like a yellow mushroom cloud that stung her eyes. “It was like a winter fog,” she said.
Quite what a 14 year old girls is doing being examined on the Koran remains to be explained. --Charles Wood (talk) 19:38, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
First Prayer, Fajr, 04:47 am. Sunrise 06:14 am - see Syria Prayer Times --Charles Wood (talk) 19:45, 5 April 2017 (UTC)
FWIW and because I love the guy and don't know where else to put it, here's a just released video from our old friend Texas from Donbass. He's in a bar with a very french Frenchman who says he fought in Singal with the Kurds (where they liberated the Jezidis) and twice witnessed ISIS using poison gas against them. Texas doesn't know about the timing problem and therefore takes this as an example why the straight-forward and logical Russian/Syrian version (including the claim that the stuff was produced to be used in Iraq) is correct. --CE (talk) 19:30, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

This Chemical Weapons expert says a damaged CW weapons store is quite feasible. Channel 4 interview with Jerry Smith. NB Smith interview starts at 2:20 after old-mate Tennari who actually sounds on the ball and accurate for once! --Charles Wood (talk) 06:16, 9 April 2017 (UTC)

Time Problem: I didn't note this here yet? Russia suggests the poisoned people - seen around 8am, were hit by chemical released in this SyAF attack. But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said their first strike of the day was at 11:30 a.m., as CNN reported. Elsewhere, they agree it was a CW depot they attacked, five hours too late to explain the earlier reports and videos, but don't say if it caused any deaths. So we have a time issue; is Syria denying their morning strike, or is Russia's explanation that flawed? --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:31, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

Konoshenkov also stated 11:30 to 12:30 local time. This is consistent with the underground bunker raid (the same as the 'hospital' raid also mentioned?)
The US published a flight track of one aircraft (I thought they operated in pairs?) in the 06:30 - 07:00 time window. There isn't actually any video of an aircraft dropping bombs in the 06:30-07:00 time window. Only bomb mushroom clouds. However it seems likely there was an aircraft and it did drop bombs just after sunrise as generally reported.
The question then arises, why did Moallem and Konoshenkov both omit to mention the early morning raid? One possibility is they didn't know about it when they spoke. This could indicate the raid was locally ordered without reference to higher command - a Syrian version of Jack D. Ripper (جاك د الكسارة)? However to counter this, there is video of some very high ranking General Staff officer later congratulating the pilot believed to have carried out the warehouse raid.
So either it was a Jack D. Ripper moment and the General Staff (and Bashar) had no idea about it, possibly not even now. Or, we simply don't know why. --Charles Wood (talk) 14:50, 15 April 2017 (UTC)

FM presswoman Zakharova claims, TASS (Eng), 18 May, 2017:

  • "A former employee of White Helmets confirmed that the provocation was aimed at creating false evidence that Damascus had failed to fulfil its obligations to destroy chemical weapons and used them against Idlib residents," (we may have linked it somewhere or I may have come across the claim before, but unsure, and did not save or looked further; cannot find it now quickly)
  • online media outlets earlier reported with reference to the US veterans movement that the video footage on rescuing Khan Shaykhoun residents had been shot for four days by filming groups from Qatar and the United Kingdom (she probably means this VT publication (Rambling story from not a reliable source, as far as I am concerned).
  • "We hope that these data will be thoroughly studied and corresponding conclusions will be made, all the more so as it is high time to put a dam on the way of this fake river spread," the Russian diplomat said. (as quoted).
Entered for the record. --Resup (talk) 15:49, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Whitehouse Dossier

152 mm shell showing baseplug

Bloomberg has published a sneak preview of an upcoming Whitehouse Dossier on the Russian version of events What Reset? White House to Call Out Russia's Fake News on Syria

Of immediate interest - out of many possible item - is the 'refutation' of the Russian timing of the raid of 11:30 to 12:30. As discussed here on ACLOS there were in fact two raids, one at 06:30-07:00 and a second one including the hospital at 11:30-12:30. If The Whitehouse doesn't know these minutae - and they really should - then what value the entire dossier?

Stand by for an exciting series of smears. --Charles Wood (talk) 15:49, 11 April 2017 (UTC)

So there it is (as linked by NYT), four pages. No offical markings of any kind, just plain text. I'm at paragraph four which says that social media accounts "indicate" that the attack began at 6:55 am. Apparently they didn't read that circulated flight path thing with 6:37-6:46 timing. But scanning further down they time the first hospital attack reports to 1:10 pm. Will read later. EDIT: Apparently the four pages are a summary of this "background press briefing", or the briefing based on the summary. Questions are asked (yet to read as well). --CE (talk) 20:33, 11 April 2017 (UTC)
Finally, time to give the Whitehouse some marks. They managed to publish a pdf of a scan of a printed document - rule 101 in publishing electronic information without too much embarrassing metadata. --Charles Wood (talk) 01:22, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Reading the transcript of the associated briefing I see the spokesman focusing on the single bomb crater by the grain silos as the chemical weapon site. Mysterious mention of 'leakage' - possibly related to white discolouration on early photos?

Many people have made suppositions about the round object in the crater. No-one has really mentioned the long tube like object - about the same diameter as a 122mm rocket but squished. With regard to the round object, various people have said it's a filler cap for a (very large) CW bomb - obviously not used here.

(Editorial follows): My best guess for the round object is it's a base-plug for 152mm artillery shell of the type used in Iraq for CW, specifically Sarin. We have evidence that some shells survived the invasion and at least one Sarin shell was used in an IED to attack US troops - Deadly Nerve Agent Sarin Is Found in Roadside Bomb See Examining a Rare Nerve-Agent Shell That Wounded American Troops in Iraq. I suggest it's quite plausible that a 152mm Sarin shell was detonated on the road during the bombing attack to incriminate the Syrian Government. --Charles Wood (talk) 02:47, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

There is a photo, I guess you mean this. +Some other parts are visible too. --Resup (talk) 03:07, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Postol Assessment

Round object seen in crater.

File:Postol assessment 041117.pdf, good idea to upload a copy, Charles. Well, most interesting is certainly that he's "almost certain" that the thing in the crater was detonated on the ground, not dropped from a plane. Noticed the different wind direction from your data as well, but he agrees with you on the tube. Pretty damning quick analysis. Will it make it to people's hypnotube? --CE (talk) 18:47, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

152mm shell? 122mm rocket casing? Same difference but I like his story better. Asides from the wind direction I can't really fault it. --Charles Wood (talk) 18:56, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

There are 2 circles visible on the round object in the crater and the ratio of their diameters don't match well with those on the 152mm shell cap. It would be a better match with a smaller diameter shell, asuming it has about the same mantle strength. --Ms19 (talk) 23:25, 12 April 2017 (UTC)
Agreed on the not-a-152 mm cap. Visually comparing the flattened tube in the crater and the cap make it quite likely the cap was originally on one end of the tube. Further, the cap in the crater appears still fixed to a cm or 2 of the body/tube it was originally attached to. It seems likely the cap and a bit of (weaker) tubing was blown off the main body/tube when it ruptured, but didn't travel far. --Charles Wood (talk) 03:43, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

The crater looks like it was caused by a GRAD rocket, where the warhead burrowed itself into the pavement before exploding. The green color is typical for Grads and would never be used for any type of airdropped munitions. A GRAD rocket consist of several parts that are screwed on to each other: the warhead, one or two engine sections and the engine nozzle. Photos of the section and the assembly process were seen when we studies the UMLACA / Vulcano rocket, that consisted of GRAD parts. It is likely that the rocket engine part would have an end cap. It is also typical that the engine tube sticks out of the ground after the warhead has exploded. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:27, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

P.S. - See here my photo of a GRAD rocket almost totally burrowed in into the pavement. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 05:41, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

There are numerous images of spent 122 mm rockets. I have yet to see one where the damage is more than the first 500mm of the motor casing nearest the warhead. None I have seen have been completely longitudinally crushed and had the end-cap neatly blown off as though by internal pressure from the motor tube. If anything the end-cap is pushed back into the motor tube. --Charles Wood (talk) 07:25, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

(Tube): His theory, crushed by a charge placed outside/on a side, "like a paste tube hit by a mallet", seems quite convincing in explaining rupture along the side of the tube. Pressure inside and shell flattening/crushing created by such blow causes a crack in the shell which spreads longitudinally and splashes the liquid sideways. Doing something else (firing a Grad normally , or detonating a bomb ) will shatter the shell into pieces, flying out radially. Maybe it can be engineered for 'paste tube crushing' to occur inside a bomb, but there is no history of this been done or no other fragments indicating it was inside something else.

(Dosage/timing): apparently what matters is total quantity inhaled (for an average size person ). 15 liters per minute is exchanged in breathing; and some 70 - 100 mg per m^3 concentration for a 1 minute exposure is lethal (wiki gives such concentration 35 mg/m^3 for 2 minute exposure which will kill in 50 % of the cases). in Postol report, Fig. 9, he takes 100 mg/m^3 per minute of exposure as lethal (that is, 1.5 mg consumed), so it's 10 minutes exposure at 10 mg/m^3 concentration, 20 minutes exposure at 5 mg/m^3 concentration, etc. But exposure time and concentration dependence on distance is hard to figure, cloud is spread by the wind , so exposure time is roughly duration for cloud fume to pass, with concentration, whatever it is near ground in the fume when it arrived. Cloud will drop some droplets which will evaporate, making exposure somewhat longer at lower concentration. So unsure, with all this going on (drift by the wind, buoyancy, diffusion, drops) whether his numbers in Fig. 9 can be literally trusted, or how he actually arrived to those numbers. Can be modeled, like a weather forecast simulation, but pretty complicated; unsure how he actually did it. --Resup (talk) 11:53, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

I remember researching this last time. Sarin is one of those toxins where cumulative dose over a longer period of time is less lethal than the same cumulative dose in a short period. The difference is not great though.
As for modeling - I used to do that professionally and even wrote my own computer models in Fortran! These days it's easier to use an EPA approved model and in the case of Sarin, one optimised for heavier than air vapour. You can download SLAB which is public domain and easy to set up. I used that in research on the 2013 Ghouta gas event. In this case, there is so little data available I'm not sure it's worth it other than plug in a few guesses and see what happens. Uncertainty at present is the quantity of liquid, the initial area it is initially dispersed into as liquid or mist, and the actual wind direction (reports vary). --Charles Wood (talk) 13:06, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
I see that SLAB has a manual describing their model, I gather fluid dynamics of a rectangular fume, both moving and resizing. If you know and can post references to open -source papers on modeling (like different or better models), that's appreciated. --Curious to see how it is done. Thks!--Resup (talk) 20:11, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
It's got a lot more complex than when I did it. For instance my models (and SLAB) are statistics based while some of the newer models are fluid dynamic based. The older models are plume based with statistical dispersion from the plume centreline in vertical and horizontal axes on a time and distance basis. Or they are puff based where you approximate the dispersion by breaking up the source into many individual puffs of gas over time and moving them around the model field under the influence of wind. Each puff expands in the X,Y,Z direction with a Gaussian concentration in each axis increasing over time. For time T you sum up the effect of all the puffs at each XYZ point in the model space. Start at the wikipedia article and chase up some of the models that take your fancy to learn how this really imprecise science works. --Charles Wood (talk) 03:26, 14 April 2017 (UTC)
By the way, SLAB is a 2.5D model - that is it generates values down a plume and on either side of the plume and in the air above the plume. Its input is a single wind speed, and atmospheric stability value. It's up to you to then apply wind direction to come up with exposure on an actual map. Puff models with time varying spatial wind data and time varying gas introduction are much more accurate but obviously need much more data to run. --Charles Wood (talk) 03:50, 14 April 2017 (UTC)


An update of Postol's assessment entitled "Addendum to A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report" has been posted on SST by Publius Tacitus, who appears to have received it directly from Postol. In this addendum, Postol suggests that the people excavatng the alleged impact site "knew that the area was not seriously contaminated". This sounds as if he is shifting from his earlier proposal that a sort of sarin IED was placed at the alleged impact site, causing casualties downwind, towards something more like the ACLoS working hypothesis that no CW agent was released Pmr9 (talk) 15:07, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Found a PDF of the addendum at ACLOS copy here. --CE (talk) 18:50, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

So after three preliminal reports, Postol apparently posted a summary (pdf at MoA) entitled "The Nerve Agent Attack that Did Not Occur". In it, no mention of the most "explosive" claim of the initial assessment: that the load cannot have been dropped from a plane; instead rather weak claims based on the wind direction (again not sourced where he got the data from, contradicting what Charles Wood dug up). Anybody seen the good Prof alive lately? --CE (talk) 23:02, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

The wind table he used in the final document is sourced from World Weather Online Khan Sheikhoun 04 APR 17
Of note, the table lists wind direction FROM not TO as Postol seems to have assumed.
Of even more note, World Weather Online doesn't use observations, it uses outputs of computer models. Local variations won't be handled at all well, especially in low wind-speed conditions. In the Khan Sheikhoun case WWO list wind *from* SE. i.e. towards NW. This is in disagreement with actual regional observations.
However all is not lost. As referenced elsewhere, the regional wind observations are essentially from the North at very low speed and with some ambiguity about the East or West component. Plus the KS video evidence shows a West to East component at least at altitude.
Conclusion: if Postol correctly used better quality weather sources he'd still come to roughly the same conclusion. --Charles Wood (talk) 04:58, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Here is the latest from Postel, published on Washingtonsblog on April 18. Postel seems to be seriously behind us in his analysis. He still does not have any idea of the #location of the events on the videos. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 15:25, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

He totally acknowledges the wind error, citing it in the title of a correction-expansion follow-up at TruthDig: With Error Fixed, Evidence Against ‘Sarin Attack’ Remains Convincing Apr 21, 2017 By Theodore A. Postol. Seems to have a good idea of the one locale anyway, I agree now wind appears e-w at attack time (how exactly right the directions he gives are, I don';t know, but probably close and not backwards anyway). I add my thoughts on his dead goat analysis here (and sent some thoughts by e-mail) --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:55, 24 April 2017 (UTC)

I have to disagree. He has almost zero evidence to say where a potentially toxic cloud blew. The winds are far too light for one - normally at that speed they are recorded as 'variable' with no direction assigned. His data source is a generalised global computer model with no actual observations involved. The regional winds from multiple independent sources show very light winds substantially towards the South and with a slight West to East component - this is supported by the videos. The nearest actual observational data is Hmeinim airbase about 70k due West where the wind at 7am local was blowing due West at very low speed - but this is likely a coastal effect.
The model is questionable, but these videos seems to show east-to-west wind - plmes seen from the south, blowing right to left 1 - 2. Another isn't clear. Later fog scene as we discuss basically still. What shows opposite direction? --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:39, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Being resolved (?) in the #Weather & gas extentsection. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)
Syrian METARS Latakia and Damascus
Of far more use is to locate where people actually died and work backwards. That means locating the Al-Yousef and Amash houses. Any ideas? --Charles Wood (talk) 13:20, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
One site with a family said to die in the basement (a nuclear family, not extended) is geolocated - someone on Twitter asked and I agreed - it's W-SW of the crater, FWIW, in Postol's red zone, southern edge, just a bit off-frame in his graphic. So it fits, if that's the wind direction, not that they really lived there. (details later) --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:39, 24 April 2017 (UTC)
Via Andrew in first comment here: video and location pic I agree with (but not rotated to true north). But I wouldn't even work backwards from this - they likely picked the places to identify based on the wind. Which ... would work, but not for the right reason. So... if we did, this would mean a wind to the southwest, more-or-less. --Caustic Logic (talk) 09:50, 25 April 2017 (UTC)

I guess y'all are aware that Postol has published some more, including another unfortunate error he had to and has corrected. The great Scott Horton has interviewed him for his radio show on Wednesday and that's a good listen where he focusses on the key points including, to all of our pleasure, some robust Brown Noses bashing. I didn't learn anything new and don't think any of you will, but it's a good pointer for people who need some basic skepticism about this event by an authoritative voice. 50 min MP3. --CE (talk) 16:35, 30 April 2017 (UTC)

Did not listen every word of it but picked some points I did not quite appreciated. He says (around 41:00) that rebels are known to have precursors, including DF, which is hard to get but they have it; according to him it is stated in UN report (unsure which); and he says they got it from Turkey--unsure how he knows. (They have to use it soon after preparing as they may not be able to stabilize). Also they , and MoA, discuss that loss of bowel control is one of nerve agents symptoms, and there is no visual evidence (fresh clothes also, quite strange in mass casualty situation). Pinpoint pupils on some visuals consistent with nerve agent though.--Resup (talk) 12:19, 1 May 2017 (UTC)
I guess the Turkish connection he has from Hersh's work. The lack of bodily fluids in the video evidence is also a central point of Denis O'Brien's critique (Pierpont here). In case you missed it: good read. --CE (talk) 15:49, 1 May 2017 (UTC)

ACLOS Criticism

Suggested we gather the various critiques we all come up with here, in advance maybe of some news article, using news I guess loosely, since that could take a while. From the report mainly, citing other sources --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:44, 13 April 2017 (UTC)

Not so big as to cover all points here, but at least some of the most important ones (I had a few ready to paste but lost my work, and will do more when I have a text version...). --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:20, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Outline I'm using: page.paragraph with section headers, and points within denoted by letters:

The Assad Regime Syrian Army's Use of Chemical Weapons on April 4, 2017


  • 1.1
  • 1.2

Summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community's Assessment of the April 4 Attack

  • 1.3
  • 1.4
  • 1.5
  • 1.6.a:
  • 1.6.b: "… the absence of other visible injuries."
"… the absence of other visible injuries" is hard to prove unless you know what all there was and wasn't. [They missed some. And some more. But these might skip "conventional strikes" and go deeper into human traditions and lower on the technology ladder. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:02, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
  • 1.6.c:
  • 1.7

(page 2)

  • 2.1
  • 2.2

Refuting the False Narratives

  • 2.3
  • 2.4.a: “Moscow has since claimed that the release of chemicals was caused by a regime airstrike on a terrorist ammunition depot in the eastern suburbs of Khan Shaykhun. However, a Syrian military source told Russian state media on April 4 that regime forces had not carried out any airstrike in Khan Shaykhun, contradicting Russia's claim.”
They may have said this to Russian media somewhere, but that means little when they also said to global media they did conduct a strike, just about five hours later: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said their first strike of the day was at 11:30 a.m., as CNN reported. Elsewhere, they agree it was a CW depot they attacked, but don't say if it caused any release or deaths. If one insists on seeing the allies contradict each other, one could take the un-cited statement as definitive and ignore what CNN reported. If one takes the logical track, they agree Syria struck a terrorist chemical stash, but we do have a time and relevance issue - if Syria carried at no strikes at the time of the gas attack, then Russia's story that this was its cause can't work. While it's possible Syria denies a genuine early strike, it's possible they're being honest and all blasts and gas release that happened then was something else (rebel rockets, or maybe even a coalition jet out of Turkey). This would mean the White House is outright lying about the 6:30 flight track, perhaps using the 11:30 one re-labeled. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:54, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
No, it wouldn't prove they're showing the wrong track... perhaps that was a real flight thatn just didn't launch an attack - like a reconnaissance flight before a planned strike. In that case, terrorists expected it or were tipped off, and launched their false-flag event as the jet was overhead. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:19, 16 April 2017 (UTC)
  • 2.4.b: "An open source video also shows where we believe the chemical munition landed—not on a facility filled with weapons, but in the middle of a street in the northern section of Khan Shaykhun. Commercial satellite imagery of that site from April 6, after the allegation, shows a crater in the road that corresponds to the open source video."
  • 2.5
  • 2.6

(page 3)

  • 3.1
  • 3.2.a: "Russia's allegations..."
  • 3.2.b: "Last November..."
  • 3.2.c: "In May..."
  • 3.2.d: "In October, 2016, Moscow also claimed terrorists used chlorine and white phosphorous in Aleppo, even though pro-Russian media footage from the attack site showed no sign of chlorine usage. In fact, our intelligence from the same day suggests that neither of Russia's accounts was accurate and that the regime may have mistakenly used chlorine on its own forces. Russia's contradictory and erroneous reports appear to have been intended to confuse the situation and obfuscate on behalf of the regime."
Word salad. One claim is cited but neither is true. There's no proof of chlorine, but the WH thinks it was used anyway, just by the regime, even though soldiers were hit. It must've been a mess-up. And Russia helped, with their one conflicting story and no proven chlorine, to shift the blame onto the desperate cornered "terrorists" with plenty of chlorine, facing their end in Aleppo. What manipulations! --Caustic Logic (talk) 13:44, 13 April 2017 (UTC)
Presumably this refers to an incident I have listed (Red Flags report) as somewhere in Hama province on Sept. 28 - Al-Masdar reported 18 soldiers affected by an apparent chlorine attack - none were dead yet, but that often takes a while. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:46, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
  • 3.3.a: "Moscow's allegations ..."
  • 3.3.b: "Moscow has also ..."
  • 3.4

International Condemnation and a Time for Action

  • 3.5
  • 3.6.a: "The United States ... we must demonstrate that subterfuge and false facts hold no weight, that excuses by those shielding their allies are making the world a more dangerous place, and that the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons will not be permitted to continue."

(page 4)

  • 4.1.a: ...

Al-Yousef Family

Abdel Hameed Alyousef

moved to Talk:Alleged Chemical Attack Khan Sheikhoun 4 April 2017/Victims#Al-Yousef Family

Sample collection and lab tests

Moved to /Chemical agent


I'm putting this here for now but it will probably need to be moved. The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) appears to have a key role in this operation: it reported two previous alleged organophosphate attacks in this region, and the chlorine attack on 25 March.

I'm beginning to think that UOSSM may be, like the White Helmets, an information operation that doesn't actually do any humanitarian work.

The news postings on their website appear to be more or less politically neutral, and focused on humanitarian issues until April 2016, when the stories suddenly become overtly pro-opposition and begin running stories about barrel bombs, destroyed hospitals, and the "last pediatrician in Aleppo". This appears to coincide with the first statements from Hamish DBG that he is working with UOSSM and an article in which he reports a meeting of UOSSM with him, David Nott and Ghanem Tayara on the Syrian border. This suggests that UOSSM was effectively hijacked at around this time for strategic communications and narrative development. The first UOSSM story about about a chemical attack is dated 11 August 2016. Pmr9 (talk) 16:15, 16 April 2017 (UTC)

Some clues from Hamish DBG's talk to the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group Friends of Syria:

  • UOSSM is an amazing predominantly British charity that goes with virtually no funding here

but there's no registered charity of this name, or any similar name, on the UK charities register.

  • UOSSM which is an international medical charity, a British, French, Canadian charity, and US charity, and we run a number of hospitals across Syria. Sadly that was two years ago, we had 1,200 doctors. Today 32 of our hospitals are still running, but most at 25%. In Aleppo today, we have 16 doctors still working in our two hospitals. Twelve months ago there were a hundred.

This implies a huge operation, employing 1200 doctors. The website says “operates 16 field hospitals, supports 120 hospitals. On a map on their website under "research" it appears that all these hospitals are in opposition-controlled areas, mostly Idlib. But the website states that "UOSSM provides free medical aid to the people of Syria regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion or political affiliation." --Pmr9 22:19, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Key personnel

  • Dr. Ghanem Tayara, Chairman of UOSSM International
  • Avi D'Souza, Global Director Of Communications, address in Paris
  • Douaa Alhariri, Marketing Coordinator UOSSM Intl, Turkish phone number
  • Hamish DBG describes himself as an adviser,
  • Raphael Pitti, HDBG's French equivalent, is a board member.
  • Ahmad al-Dbis, [Safety and Security Director] also described as "regional hospitals and trauma director". This may be the "Dr Ahmad" trained to collect CW samples by Hamish DBG
  • Dr. Anas Al Kassem [chairman of UOSSM Canada, described as a trauma surgeon in Canada]

Previous reports of chemical attacks on the UOSSM website include

  • 12 Dec 2016 - Chemical agent attack was reported today in the eastern suburbs of Hama in the Aqeerbat area.
    At least 93 civilians have been killed and over 300 wounded. The attacks happened at approximately 6:30 a.m. on December 12 Damascus time amidst heavy airstrikes which lasted over an hour.
  • 25 March 2016 - Syrian Doctor Killed By Chemical Weapon While Operating On Patient
    A barrel bomb with a chemical agent hit the front entrance of the Latamneh Hospital in Hama and entered causing severe respiratory and neurological injuries to many staff members. The gas attack killed Dr. Ali Darwish, a specialist orthopedic surgeon, while he was in the operating room.

Oddly, the 30 March organophosphate attack reported by ReliefWeb and sourced from UOSSM does not appear on UOSSM's website --Pmr9 22:19, 14 April 2017 (UTC)

Had to look up what that acronym stands for and added the long version for others. Googling it I found this report about their response to the event, published today. They were "among the first responders" and apparently they delivered the people to Turkey who then died and their autopsy revealed Sarin use. --CE (talk) 01:07, 15 April 2017 (UTC)
UK trauma doctor David Nott works with UOSSM and has been an active media figure on the BBC and others describing (exclusively) regime atrocities including hospital bombings. The BBC produced this emotive film of one of his trips to Syria. -- Withnail (talk) 06:43, 15 April 2017 (UTC)


See /Victims

Bodies of the Child Victims

Moved to /Victims#Bodies of the Child Victims

Head Wounds

moved to /Victims#Head Wounds


French National Evaluation

French National Evaluation seems to be a basic rehash of Bellingcrap conspiracy theories. Nothing new except the claim KS 'samples' showed traces of Hexamine. Even if Hexamine claims are true they are easily the result of the dispersal explosive.

In my view the report is not significant. "They would say that - wouldn't they?". However it will keep Kaszeta frothing for weeks. --Charles Wood (talk) 11:22, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

See /Chemical agent#French claims. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:27, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Of note in the report (or the annexe?) is the claim IS weren't in the area. It was only very recently they vacated Khan Sheikhoun - after topping a couple of hundred opposition fighters and dropping their bodies in the fuel storage tanks.

IS certainly didn't take green buses to Raqqa. There is every possibility they kept irregular forces in the area and supported/supplied them from their area of control a bit to the East.

One scenario is that IS did the CW attack to blame the Government as well as kill some more of those pesky AQ types. It would have been as easy as driving into town during an air-raid and dropping a 'package' on the road with a short fuse and skedaddling. I have zero evidence for this, but it is certainly not impossible given IS may well have CW capability. --Charles Wood (talk) 11:41, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Yes, it's far from clear if any actual scientists were involved in this French report. None are named and no actual lab results are presented. Seems to be cobbled together from rebel social media/blogs. Carries the taint of Bellingcrap for sure. Withnail (talk) 11:52, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

"Intelligence", by definition is something between information and disinformation. The main difference between intelligence and research is that research always includes an extencive section on Sources and Methods, while intelligence never reveals its sources and methods. "Investigation" is a dual-use term. It can mean intelligence or research. When OPCW investigators turn into "inspectors", then you can be sure their investigation has turned into "intelligence", i.e. disinformation. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 12:38, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

Body language

(Mainpage): This body language expert says Assad is telling truth about Syria chemical weapons, while McMasters is lying Alex Christoforou, The Duran, April 20, 2017

Pretty fascinating stuff. But it can be trained, and good politicians (+actors and secret service agents) likely will come across pretty convincing body language wise (like some Bill Clinton stuff, maybe). So this assumes that dictators are not supposed to be versed in those arts of deception democracy, even second generation British-educated dictators, with charisma on, and a lot at stake. I don't think he is too worried about his pending reelection campaign at the moment, and if he steps in from of the camera, he is in pretty comfortable state doing it at the time, or otherwise would not do it at all. Appears pretty convincing, but it is also similar in appearances to his other interviews, and could be personal style, or just that he is pretty good at it. While that other military folk just habitually grinds his teeth all the time, and for the first time on camera. (More video studies of dictators may be in appropriate)--Resup (talk) 03:45, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
Your body language when you're happy to get rid of a Samantha Power, just to be hit by a General McMaster. Like WTF?! ;o) --CE (talk) 04:03, 23 April 2017 (UTC)
In my professional work I get to meet a lot of consummate liars - people charged with crimes with years of punishment ahead. I know they are lying because I see all the evidence - most of which a jury will never see. I doubt I could pick their lies on body-language alone asides from their effort to appear cruelly mistreated, shocked, anxious to help allay any suspicions, and especially overt friendliness towards me as their only possible hope to escape their due justice. They range from boobs who became 'accidental criminals' to serious professionals who appear to be psychopaths.
Based on this fleeting exposure to criminals, I'd say in general Bashar is relaxed and on-message and not knowingly telling major lies. The only times he's been obviously stressed are the interview before the Russians intervened and he'd just lost most of Idlib, and this interview where he looks truly shocked and quite ragged at what's happened.
In all his interviews he is doing a simple job to provide PR and cover for the Army. Not much else. He does this job reasonably smoothly except for the two horror interviews. He remains on message whether or not that is fully justified. He is also pretty rational and pragmatic and leaves buffoons like Johnson and Trump for dead in the authority stakes.
Is he lying? I doubt he thinks so, which is more than half the battle. Is what he says 100% true? History will decide. --Charles Wood (talk) 05:13, 23 April 2017 (UTC)

CNN report

CNN has published a report that uses some previously unseen footage from Aleppo Media Center and evidently from EMC.

Three new witnesses testify. Some videos are translated. The new footage helps stitch some scenes together. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 19:17, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

Seymour Hersh

moved from Talk:Syria_news/Current

Trumps Red Line President Donald Trump ignored important intelligence reports when he decided to attack Syria after he saw pictures of dying children. Seymour M. Hersh investigated the case of the alleged Sarin gas attack. The conclusion by Hersh is that the Syrian airfoce did not drop Sarin on KS and the US military knew it. --Charles Wood (talk) 01:34, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

Holy cow...and why it always have to be blabbed by Hersh...--Resup (talk) 02:39, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Published by Wow, I have yet to get used to the fact that in Trumpiverse we are now part of the resistance! ;o) Will read later. --CE (talk) 11:44, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
There's a surprisingly sober comment on the publishing by WELT. London Review of Books has apparently pussied out of publishing the piece they already paid for, and Hersh went directly to WELT publisher Stefan Aust, who is a very comparable figure when it comes to limited hangouts. --CE (talk) 18:33, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
After reading it - sounds like a typical limited hangout "repair" story by Hersh in which in the end all is good again, "we" are on the right side fighting against dem Jihadists and the only problem was an inexperienced and lying president. If that meeting in the city building was targeted in the morning, why didn't the Russians tell us? Why did they insist they attacked at noon? Why do we have evidence of that at Whora Hora? What's with the crater in front of the silos? The videos with the three plumes far enough away from each other to be not secondary explosions? The travelling children?
Na, this story can only be satisfying if one knows very little about the event. Interesting though is what he says about the communication channels and that the US was informed, as usual, days before. Time enough to leak info to the terrorist handlers who can develop some preemptive scenario with fake crater and victims and witnesses etc. But why would the Russians/Syrians then go ahead with their noon attack? --CE (talk) 14:39, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
I think it's clear from his account that RussiaSyria did not bomb with chemical weapons. What actually happened, unclear. (I'd say, Russian MoD public releases contained errors in the past, and once something is stated, not easy to backtrack; whether their time is correct or not, do not know)--Resup (talk) 15:05, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Totally agreed, of course. It doesn't line up right, sound more like his actual source is guessing a lot of it. And I doubt any Syrian bomb was dropped "at 6:55" or just before as reported. Two other bombs are unexplained, a radar track is wrong, and at least two fog plume areas are unexplained, and north of town is downwind of the reported deaths, etc. --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:46, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

Hersh's article initially suggests that a toxic cloud of fertilizers and disinfectant was released from secondary explosions of stored material in the basement, but ends with an explicit assertion by his source that this was a sarin false flag:

“The Salafists and jihadists got everything they wanted out of their hyped-up Syrian nerve gas ploy,” the senior adviser to the U.S. intelligence community told me, referring to the flare up of tensions between Syria, Russia and America. “The issue is, what if there’s another false flag sarin attack credited to hated Syria? Trump has upped the ante and painted himself into a corner with his decision to bomb. And do not think these guys are not planning the next faked attack.

It looks as if an original draft based on the "secondary explosions" was hastily revised, maybe after the LRB backed off (despite having accepted and paid for the article) and it had to be sent to Die Welt.

Let's postulate that Hersh's source is correct about the Russians notifying the US of an airstrike on a building at the northern edge of town, and see where that leads us. It's possible that one Su-22 could have dropped three bombs, not just one. If the jihadis knew the time of the air strike in advance, they could have arranged all the other staging - smoke machines, captives at the quarry, hospitals, videos - to coincide with it.

Hersh hints that the US tipped off the Russians that the site was a jihadi command and control facility: When we get a hot tip about a command and control facility,” the adviser added, referring to the target in Khan Sheikhoun, “we do what we can to help them act on it."

I think it's plausible that Khan Shaykhoun was selected in advance as the location of the false flag. When preparations for staging it had been made, the Russians were fed false intel (perhaps originating from a US ally) that there would be a meeting of key jihadi commanders in the town. Even if the notification of the airstrike had not been fed back to the jihadis, they would have known to expect an airstrike at this time at this location. A road 250 metres away was selected as the site at which a crater would be made and a sarin munition added. Pmr9 (talk) 20:29, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

We may never know where Russians got their intelligence from, Syrian,their own, or fed by coalition; what probably matters most is that there were days for preparation, with coalition informed, in particular to get any Western assets out. Intelligence could be fed by jihadists themselves, say by using unsecured communications, or tipping pro-government folks. (If Russians felt it's very important, like Bagdadi meeting, they will probably strike themselves, + use on the ground spotters or drones, not just offer a guided bomb to Syrians; or maybe they changed their attitude later). Quite inconsistent/patchy account by Hersh indeed. With people of lesser talent, it's often some for-sale bullshit on top, the actual driving matter at the end; but in his case, unsure.--Resup (talk) 21:22, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Revised? Perhaps not. "Sarin false-flag" suggests an intentional plot using sarin, but since his details otherwise point to an accident, maybe the adviser is being flippant and using "false-flag" to mean their after-the-fact cover story involving sarin. Otherwise, maybe there are two versions poorly leaned against each other. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:57, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Here, a Russian source posted a brief video clip from a Hersh interview, where he says, in back translation: 'the problem in this case, is that one should not try to explain what happened, one should try to explain what did not happen. Syria did not bomb with Sarin that morning, everybody in the (coalition) command quarters knew that' (there is also a conversation between militaries, posted by welt )--Resup (talk) 17:53, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

The Meeting House?

I guess the trick now is to locate the damaged building - based on scant description by Hersh.

To answer my own query. How about this building? In the right area at least. Terraserver images of recent damage is KS --Charles Wood (talk) 09:13, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Source of plame #1, hit around 6:45, plume suggests perhaps FAE, or maybe conv. (needs more analysis) Damage at site suggests not very strong, has angled trajectory from the north, not dropped straight down. (Analysis) Not the origin of any alleged sarin/random chemical fog that we can see, though it might get coated by the expanding white cloud I think was next to the tel in city center. (analysis) --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:49, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Further notes on that site: one-story, concrete (walls non-reinforced) with a roofless brick wall around the roof (could look like a second story, maybe, from not above) --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:59, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
The bomb apparent location is the West end of a longish building/complex including a several storey high section. This is visible in the Feb Terraserver image.
On another note, Hersh mentions a wing-man. An American embellishment? I don't recall SyAAF aircraft bombing in pairs but perhaps they do? If there was one in formation, or just hanging around, then that may explain the other bomb strikes? (though I'm not excluding a planned outrage using IEDs) --Charles Wood (talk) 00:19, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
A taller building nearby - also looking concrete, but... could be the target mentioned. But I doubt there was any target hit at this time. The U.S. radar track is said to show a pair of jets, so there would be a second jet, FWIW, but it shows neither of them passing over the town. --Caustic Logic (talk) 06:59, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Okay, this can't be what he actually means, but there's an apparent two-story home, maybe brick, destroyed maybe on April 4 (between satellite pics) outside town to the southwest. A home on the same site was destroyed at the time of the 2014 Islamist "liberation" of the town. See here - it's the apparent origin of the fog over the south part of town. It's got weird tracks into the field, a big water reservoir to use, it gets destroyed, and the rubble might have been re-located to a nearby field. It's perhaps just beneath the recon/alleged bombing flight path. But there's no sign of a blast or smoke from here at the time of the attack - that started later. If noth were south, this might be the place someone spoke of. Maybe it was intact as it did its smoke op once the recon jets had passed, and then it was blown up at noon, as a Nusra CW facility? --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:04, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
There is support for this from Publius Tacitus, one of the guest authors on SST who apparently has military/intel sources (
My understanding is that the actual strike took place southwest of Khan Sheikoun. I think you are right--someone who had access to the info the Russians shared with the US days before the strike was passed to the Islamists (they did not know the precise locations of the strike) and they were able to stage a mass casualty event
If this was the site that the US military were looking at for the Bomb Damage Assessment described by Hersh, they might well have concluded that a toxic cloud had been released by secondary explosions. The story is beginning to make sense. Pmr9 (talk) 08:00, 27 June 2017 (UTC)
Wow, that would be interesting. For one thing, we could say it wasn't bombed in that morning attack, supposedly targeting the place at 7 am, shared and leaked for terrorists to sync with. It could be he meant southeast, and that could be the cave hospital, and/or possibly further southeast (possible smoke plume that way visible from hospital at time of noon strike). But if there's real talk of that being southwest, it gets pretty interesting and I'm really glad I looked down there. --Caustic Logic (talk) 12:45, 27 June 2017 (UTC)


  • Chemical weapons watchdog says sarin used in April attack in Syria -Reuters, 30 June 2017 --Resup (talk) 07:58, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
    The report was circulated to members of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, but was not made public.
    a fact- finding mission (FFM) of the OPCW concluded that "a large number of people, some of whom died, were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance. ... "It is the conclusion of the FFM that such a release can only be determined as the use of sarin, as a chemical weapon," -as quoted.
    The mission was unable to visit the site itself due to security concerns and will not attempt to get there, the head of the OPCW was said to have decided.

From this media report, unclear how samples were obtained and who analysed them, since they did not collect themselves (e.g. is this independent from earlier French national investigation report?)

Some details are in documents below:--Resup (talk) 11:37, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

The final OPCW report on Khan Sheikhoun was circulated to governments on 30 June, and will be published on 5 July. Aron Lund has a copy, and has briefly commented on his twitter feed. The main new findings are apparently that (1) the Syrian government obtained its own samples from the town that tested positive for sarin; (2) the report states that the road crater was the likely release point, and that the gas spread because the road slopes into the city.
If the Syrian government has environmental samples, they have probably given some to the Russians. Let's hope that this time the Russians do what they didn't do with their 2013 samples, and publish a full report of the chemical profiles. The story about the road sloping sounds as if they're trying to address CL's argument about the alleged victim locations being upwind of the alleged attack site. Of course this isn't compatible with the videos showing the white fog spreading from the tel and from southwest of town. Pmr9 (talk) 08:28, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
slopes down: we have discussed this a bit, back in May, here.--Resup (talk) 09:07, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
slopes down The gas will only flow 'downhill' in extremely calm conditions, and then not very far.
An alternative theory is that the (low speed) wind corresponded with the regional wind field seen on the synoptic analysis charts (can link if required). That was a gentle breeze from the North. However to assume this option you also have to chuck the bombing videos in the bin and assume they were from another day.
NB my experience is that very low wind speeds overnight can result in effectively random wind directions so the wind directions seen in the videos are not incompatible with the Synoptic charts --Charles Wood (talk) 12:54, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
Looking at the topo map I have, and as we have (Resup links to it) they're right that the highway slopes up to the north, but mildly. The real dip is too far south to be felt here - it's a mild slope. But we can see the wind to the northeast doing the shaping, not that slope. The white cloud's left side smears to the left, despite this slope (the right side expands, I think, because it's in the tel's wind shadow). That fog seems to spread left and towards the camera over the unseen 20 minutes (a bit to the right, but not much considering that wind shadow). The southwest fog area clearly spreads left and towards, here despite a general if mild up-slope the whole way. It does split around a hill there, and will prefer the lowest path available, but it was dense, spread wide, and rolled primarily uphill on the wind, just like it would do in the north. It'll roll slower than it would of flat ground or downhill, but visually, it gets there, however fast. They have poor analysis or distrust the video to make this claim. Are they reacting to me? Maybe not, but who else raises the issue? And why scramble to explain unless there's an issue? Why couldn't they just cite the wind like normal? --Caustic Logic (talk) 15:24, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
Don't think we see chemical bomb deployed in either bombing 'mushrooms' or fog videos (too much stuff in the latter case). It will not have buoyancy (or blast) to go up, and will stay much closer to the ground. When lower, wind may be killed/reduced by obstacles and non-slip at the ground. So it may not move much (in unseen by us actual release), and sip down by a bit. The only suspect we do see is, I think, the one which failed to mushroom; I guess from what we do see there it stays put, more or less, and spreads in all directions, for the time we can observe it--Resup (talk) 16:09, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
"Don't think we see chemical bomb deployed in either bombing 'mushrooms' or fog videos (too much stuff in the latter case)." Agreed, and I guess OPCW would too, but in a different way. I think it's some smoke machine special effects fog. But the OPCW would say that's who knows what, and the all-important singular sarin cloud is off frame, and would somehow not be affected by the wind blowing that effects fog at about the same ground level. (the smoke/fog seems to be alleged sarin, just in the wrong part of town for the story that stuck, and as you note, it's way too copious) --Caustic Logic (talk) 16:27, 1 July 2017 (UTC)
Some interesting background on Mulet's role in a shady adoption business in Guatemala: Pmr9 (talk) 14:45, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

Full report dated 29 June

First notes by Pmr9

Witnesses were provided by NGOs, including "Same Justice/Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS), the Syrian Civil Defence (also known as White Helmets, and hereinafter “SCD”), the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), and the Syrian Institute for Justice (SIJ). Same Justice / CVCDS appears to have no online presence - was it invented for this operation?

They didn't use video evidence to estimate the wind direction, only websites and estimate that the wind was from SE. It's not clear if these were just forecasts based on a global model. Although they mention the topography, there is no attempt to reconstruct how the gas could have spread from the impact site to a residential area, or to map the location of casualties. The White Helmets story is vague as to where they found the victims they rescued.

The eyewitness accounts don't record sighting of a jet. "there was a swooping sound, as made by a jet when it attacks", then soon afterwards there were explosions in residential areas to the west.

"Upon arrival at the site, first responders belonging to the SCD found "many civilians who appeared to have no external injuries" whose symptoms included "walking and then fell down”, suffocation, and muscle spasms. But they forgot to turn on their helmet cams. It's not clear what is meant by "the site": is this the crater, or the residential area? Locations from which casualties were supposedly rescued are not given. Although the report states that "the onset of symptoms in relation to the incident varied from immediate to delayed by a few hours, depending on the distance from the dispersion point" implying that they had some records of locations of victims, the report is vague about these locations.

The two witnesses interviewed in Damascus give an account consistent with the Syrian / Russian version: air strike at about 11.30 am on a building in town used as a chemical store, no airstrike before that time.

Impact points based on interviews match the three white plumes geolocated by CL. There are no interviews to explain the black plume or the two sites from which fog appears. A fifth impact point was reported to the south outside the city: this could be the farm located by CL as the source of the southern fog.

The autopsies determined "the cause of death was due to toxic gas" but no details of the findings are given. This sounds like a reasonable conclusion if as the Turkish press reported, the findings included pulmonary edema and haemorrhage. But not necessarily sarin.

The Syrian government provided samples taken by an unnamed volunteer, analysed in their own lab and an OPCW lab. Of the 19 samples, four tested positive. Three of these were from the crater, one from 80 metres away.

The integrity of the chain of custody of the blood samples collected in Turkey is not clear: OPCW staff witnessed the collection of blood samples, but "Blood was separated in-country into plasma and cells". Did OPCW maintain sight of the blood samples while they were centrifuged and aliquoted? 23 blood samples were tested, of which 17 were positive.

They aren't saying how the sarin got there: "the FFM could not establish with a great degree of confidence the means of deployment and dispersal of the chemical".

The FFM interviewed purported doctors from three hospitals in Syria that received patients: not clear whether any of these was Shajul Islam. Pmr9 (talk) 18:50, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

Annex 2 has open sources used. Those includes Dr Shajul Islam; some videos showing crater, dead birds/animals; + video made a day earlier and so irrelevant. Opening few other links, it appears that open sources are weak and contain basic breaking news items, one skeptical, others following mass media line, but none presenting insight beyond superficial (neither the likes of Belligcat nor of ourselves).
Syrian Arab republic samples, many came negative ( as if they have less idea where to look for positives), and of positives, 4 entries have to do with crater or vicinity, and 1 entry to do with 80 m away. It is not correlated with other info, like whether homes of alleged victims were sampled and where exactly '80 m away' sample was taken.
It appears that the report is not assigning blame, as it is unable to establish delivery method. --Resup (talk) 07:38, 6 July 2017 (UTC)

Dead birds

The report says some samples tested positive for sarin, most notable two dead birds. It is likely these are the same birds seen on video. But they could have been killed elsewhere with a small sample of sarin and only brought to the crater site. This video by Faruq Shami looks staged. The collection of the birds is not shown. The White Helmets just pop up 3 meters from the crater when filming starts. Both Faruq Shami and the White Helmets already know there is "sarin", but evidently more in the sample box than at the crater site, where Faruq stands unprotected. The White helmets walk five meters and open the box with four plastic bags inside for the camera. It seems that the event is staged, so that fake evidence of a chain of custody can be presented to OPCW, thee same sample bags with the same markings were present at the crater site.

The staging becomes more evident, when the White Helmets stop at the next puddle to collect "samples". The White Helmets are "protected" by their new MI6-provided hazmat suits, but the rest of the audience walks barefooted. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 11:31, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

Reports from medical centres

Peter Hitchens reviews the FFM report and notes some odd reporting from the medical centres

The report says that the main hospital in Maarat al-Numan was "taken out of service" three days earlier. Dr Tennari said the same thing in an interview on 5 April, saying that three government airstrikes targeted and destroyed the hospital. Does this mean that the hospital in Maarat al-Numan where victims are videoed being taken is a different one?

The FFM lists four hospitals in Syria from which they obtained details of casualties

MF-F, described as Khan Sheikhoun Medical Centre), is said to be next to the WH headquarters but appears not to be the cave hospital. This was where the SCD apparently took the casualties. The Al-Rahma (Mercy) field hospital (presumably the cave hospital) is mentioned as a separate site. One of the Damascus interviewees says that the casualties were taken to Al Rahma.

MF-D received 75 casualties and 20 bodies - five required intubation. 50 patients discharged within < 1 hour. 2 doctors interviewed

MF-E received 20 casualties, only 5 severe- one doctor interviewed. Five treated with oximes. This is the only site for which oximes are listed among the drugs used.

MF-H - one doctor interviewed. 40-60 cases admitted, 24 deaths in first two hours, 16 intubated

From these details, I think we can tentatively identify MF-D as Maarat al-Numaan, MF-E as Sarmin / Tennari (who mentions treating patients with oximes), and MF-H as Binnish/Shahjul Islam.

The list of "open sources" in Annex 4 includes two links to Shajul Islam's twitter feed, implying that the FFM treats him as a legitimate source.

I can't find any video evidence of patients from KS being treated in Sarmin - this story could be just another of Tennari's fabrications.

Several questions, for those who like Petri are more clued up about locations than I am

1. Is there any evidence that victims were taken directly to the hospital in town, or are all the early images of victims from the cave complex?

2. Is there any evidence that the main hospital in Maarat al-Numan was damaged around this time. This has parallels with Ghouta, in which the main medical point in Zamalka was allegedly destroyed during the attack. If it was out of action, what was the hospital in Maarat-al-Numan to which victims were seen being taken?

This is important because, from the track record of the Joint Investigative Mission so far, we can expect that they will treat the medical evidence as reliable. They should not be able to get away with relying on Tennari and Shajul Islam as witnesses.

-- Pmr9 (talk) 14:11, 16 July 2017 (UTC)

I presumed MF-F was the cave hospital, but if it's mentioned as separate, there's also supposed to be a KS hospital. I'm not sure if we've seen it or anyone has it placed. It might not be timed well if so, so hard to say if the earliest views are all from al-Rahma. Images from there go back to about 7:10 am.
As for Maarat al-Numan, I heard it was forced out of service by severe airstrikes. But as it often happens, especially when Dr. Tennari talks about it, maybe there was little or no damage. Maybe a hit to a Nusra base across the street knocked out a window, and they filed some whiny reports and pouted with their passive-aggressive shut-down. If needed, it could be re-opened in a moment. And it seems the order of the day was as many places as possible accepting the "sarin" patients, as many activist staff as possible "verifying" the story with their own little adopted batch of shuffled-around victims. There's a video of patients brought there, filmed about noon. All you can say is (presuming it's the same place) is there's no visible damage visible on the side they go in by. I for one don't know any more.
MF-H sounds like perhaps the shadiest, where the most wind up dead. That it's Shajul Islam's clinic makes sense --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:14, 17 July 2017 (UTC)
On looking through what Petri and CL have already posted, it looks as if MF-F must be the "unknown hospital" discussed on this page. The still photo was timed by CL to about 9.30 am, much later than the first images from the cave complex, and the location is tentatively identified as just south of the tel. Can any of the victims seen earlier at the cave complex be matched to victims seen later at the "unknown hospital"?
CL - was there any report from any source other than Tennari that the Maarat-al-Numan hospital had been put out of action by airstrikes? If Tennari was the only source for this story, this suggests that he was also the source for the OPCW FFM. Are there any images on the FB account of the Sarmin hospital to support Tennari's statement that they treated patients from Khan Sheikhoun?
I didn't even know that was supposed to be or be related to a hospital. I noticed a mosque up the street from my possible spot match. As for the hospital claims, sorry, I'm not even sure who the sources are/have been. It might have been reported at the time actually, by a rebel news agency, but I'm not sure. I haven't seen anything that I recognized as being from Sarmin, but that doesn't mean that much. If folks were taken all the way to Binnish, anmd Sarmin is along the way, I suppose it's likely. As far as I know Tennari is still a trusted team member for Islamist massacres coverups. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:56, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
One rebel news agency reports here: Mohammed Hassoun, a media activist in nearby Sarmin - also in Idlib province where some of the critical cases were transferred - said the hospital there had been equipped to deal with such chemical attacks because the town was struck in one chemical attack, early on in the Syrian uprising. The wounded have been 'distributed around in rural Idlib', he told The Associated Press by phone. 'There are 18 critical cases here. Another rebel source: Dr. Abdel Hay Tennari was rushing to treat the victims arriving at the Sarmin Field Hospital. Plenty of mentioning of Sarmin hospital and Tennari but uncertain photos in an earlier al-Jazeera report (google got some more leads ...) This well-known video footage from 2015 is apparently Sarmin (and Tennari) again... --Resup (talk) 12:38, 19 July 2017 (UTC)
It's easy to identify a possible motive for the story that Maarat-al-Numan hospital had been put out of action by an airstrike, so that the victims had to be treated in Binnish and Sarmin where "doctors" who would report this atrocity were already in place. But why did they complicate this story by videoing victims being taken to Maarat-al-Numan around noon? The point of all this is to establish whether OPCW is simply repeating what they are told by unreliable sources (Tennari, Shajul Islam) without attempting to establish whether these statements are corroborated or supported by other evidence. Pmr9 (talk) 21:58, 18 July 2017 (UTC)
The same motive could apply anyway - they initially had to take people certain places, but once that was done, to show what an emergency it is, even the shut-down hospital re-opens to help. Not sure if the folks there added much to the propaganda storm, but if so, one more voice might be motive enough, as I think that was half the idea behind sending people everywhere. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:56, 19 July 2017 (UTC)