Images of children in hospitals and patients on oxygen and foaming at the mouth then went around the world
The long-awaited report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the 2018 chemical bombardment of the Syrian city of Douma – an event that fueled tensions between Damascus and the West – was released today.
Images of injured children in hospitals and patients with oxygen and burnt limbs then went around the world while the attack had left at least 43 people dead.
The Organization today accused Damascus of launching the chlorine attack. According to the OPCW investigators’ report, at least one Syrian Air Force helicopter dropped two barrels of toxic sarin gas on the city of Douma.
Deadly chemical attack was work of Syria’s air force, watchdog finds https://t.co/3y2ZmKWHqP
— 360MediaX (@360mediaX) January 27, 2023
Damascus and its ally Moscow had said the attack had been staged by rescuers at the request of the United States, which launched airstrikes in Syria a few days later along with Britain and France.
The case had also sparked controversy after information was leaked that two former employees of the Hague-based OPCW had cast doubt on the conclusions of an earlier investigation.
But the OPCW said that its investigators “examined a number of possible scenarios” and concluded that “the Syrian Arab Air Force is the perpetrator of this attack.”
“The use of chemical weapons in Douma — and elsewhere — is unacceptable and constitutes a violation of international law,” OPCW director general Fernando Arias said in a statement.
“The world now knows the facts — it is left to the international community to act,” he added.
“At least one Mi-8/17 helicopter of the Syrian Air Force, departing from Dumayr Air Base and operating under the control of the Elite Unit of the Tiger Forces dropped two yellow cylinders which hit two residential buildings in a central area of the city,” he writes. in the exhibition.
“One cylinder fell on a roof, ruptured and released a toxic gas, chlorine, in very high concentrations, which quickly dispersed throughout the building, killing 43 identified persons and affecting dozens more.
The second cylinder fell into a compartment, partially opened and began to slowly release chlorine, slightly affecting those who arrived first on the scene,” the report added.
2/4 – The report indicated that at least one helicopter belonging to the Assad regime dropped two cylinders containing toxic chlorine gas on two apartment buildings in a civilian-populated area in the city of Douma, killing 43 civilians and injuring dozens of others. pic.twitter.com/Iy5R6oCb1n
— The White Helmets (@SyriaCivilDef) January 27, 2023
Investigators analyzed samples taken from the scene, questioned survivors and eyewitnesses, and conducted ballistics tests, primarily “roller drop tests.”
They also looked at videos and photos, satellite images, infographics and enlisted the help of experts.
Douma was under rebel control at the time of the incident, which took place during a major offensive by Syrian government forces to retake the city, which is near the capital, Damascus.
Rescuers said at the time that they were treating people with breathing problems, foaming at the mouth and other symptoms.
Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly denied that there was an attack on Douma and put forward a number of alternative theories.
They accused the rebels and rescuers of staging the attack and transporting the bodies to the site. They also claimed that an Islamist chemical weapons laboratory had been hit.
But OPCW investigators said there was no evidence to support these claims.
The team “thoroughly examined the research hypotheses and scenarios put forward by the Syrian authorities and other (OPCW) member countries, but was unable to secure concrete information to support them,” the agency said.
The OPCW also says it “regrets” that Syria has not allowed it to visit the site for the investigation, despite Damascus’ various requests and obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The report also rejects claims by former investigators that the OPCW changed the initial findings of an investigation in 2018 to make the evidence of the chemical attack more conclusive.
Syria denies using chemical weapons and says it surrendered its stockpile under a 2013 deal reached after an alleged sarin gas attack that killed 1,400 people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.
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With a wealth of experience honed over 4+ years in journalism, I bring a seasoned voice to the world of news. Currently, I work as a freelance writer and editor, always seeking new opportunities to tell compelling stories in the field of world news.