Ghouta redux? Was this attack real?


The MSM is filled with "news" of a supposed Syrian Government chemical warfare attack in Idlib Province.  All of the reporting is sourced to SOHR (one rebel supporter in a basement office in Coventry, England) and rebel media in Idlib Province.  How do we know this really happened?  The rebels have proven themselves extremely capable of staging propaganda pageants and they do have chemical weapons.  They make them in Syria.  These are not ignorant people.  The "White Helmets" were a fraud.  This is probably another, but the Borg loves the noise, especially the hysterics on CNN and MSNBC.

These AQ connected rebels in Idlib have been conducting an offensive in northern Hama.  This has been turned back and the rebels are being driven out of Hama in the direction of Idlib having lost many men.  As someone observed here the standard rebel reaction to severe adversity is to claim a chemical attack.  pl

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92 Responses to Ghouta redux? Was this attack real?

  1. I am also becoming a little jaded in my reactions to reports of chemical attacks. Give me a break from the emotional guilt, you ME throwbacks to WWI gas attack tactics.
    They are, of course, horrid when they are being used in situations where innocents can be caught up by them. I does sicken me to think people would carry them out or even think of carrying them out.
    But I’ve been sickened by this sort of news since the Halabja attack against the Kurds, and I am still questioning who really did the attack in Syria while HRC was in the midst of her gun running and shortly after Barry gave his red line warning. Did no one read Sy Hersh’s “Red Line vs. the Rat Line” piece?
    I never find a good counter analysis to that. And being of the Vietnam generation, I still remember Hersh for the My Lai story.
    I just wish we could invent a gas that targets only certain types of people, those who believe gas attacks are still something humans should do to other humans.
    And I do hope this currently reported gas attack is just “fake news.”

  2. turcopolier says:

    That doesn’t prove a dammed thing. The rebels have proven themselves skilled at both Ghouta and Aleppo in staging these things. pl

  3. Leith Fadel at Al Masdar News is saying the SAA struck a jihadist chemical weapons factory in Khan Sheikhoun. The SAA thought it was a missile factory. Of course he got this from a reporter in Suqaylabiyah. It’s a possibility, but certainly not confirmation. I’m surprised the Trump administration is jumping on the “Assad used gas” bandwagon. He blamed both Assad and Obama for the attack on innocent civilians. His SecState passed warning to Moscow and Damascus. WTF

  4. Jony Kanuck says:

    My noon tweet feed had Leith Abou Fadel (Assad’s bulldog) re-tweeting Yusha Yuseef: “Syrian Air Force targeted missles factory containing chlorine gas supplies in Khan Sheikhoun” One tweet doesn’t prove but as Fadel also commented: “Give me a break; The SAA is winning everywhere, why would they gas civilians?”

  5. pmr9 says:

    Col Lang
    Over at ACloserLookonSyria (, we’re still trying to make sense of this story.
    Some preliminary notes
    1. Close examination of the photos of the children shows that at least some have head wounds.
    2. There were reports that civilians were abducted from villages in northern Hama last week, before the rebels retreated. As yet there are no documented matches of alleged Khan Sheikhoun victims to those abducted
    3. The alleged impact site is in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, but the site where the children’s bodies are seen laid out is a sort of quarry with passages cut into the rock. This is tentatively geolocated to a site about fifteen miles to the south, just south of Latamineh, that was in use last year as a rebel headquarters (and bombed by the Russians) and is now apparently used by the White Helmets. It doesn’t make any sense for the children to have been brought to this site, apparently separated from their mothers, unless they were captives. Even if the geolocation is incorrect it’s clearly not in the town of Hama.
    4. The Reuters photographer Ammar Abdullah, is deeply embedded with Nusra.
    5. An alleged chemical attack on 30 March in Lataminah causing 70 nonfatal casualties and attributed to organophosphates (nerve agents) was reported by UOSSM, a French-based NGO closely associated with information operations. It’s possible that the children were killed on this date, and that the videos were uploaded today as evidence of a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun.
    6. As in the Ghouta massacre, there are no videos of victims found dead in their homes being removed by rescuers: just bodies laid out in the open and some alleged victims in hospital.
    I think it’s pretty clear that this incident was a massacre of captives, staged to look like a chemical attack. The victims may have been gassed, but not necessarily with an organophosphate: many other gased would be lethal in a confined space.
    What’s not clear is whether the rebels set up this operation on their own initiative, or whether this was an information operation directed by outside agencies. A possible motive would be to disrupt US-Russian cooperation, and to make a case for establishing a “safe zone” in NW Syria.

  6. Ghostship says:

    Please show me on Google Maps where there is a quarry in Khan Sheikhoun.,36.6464502,3061m/data=!3m1!1e3
    All the action in the video you linked to takes place in a quarry but it does’t look like anybody lives in that quarry so were they all visiting the quarry when the attack occurred and why?
    Most disturbing of all, Al-masdar news is reporting:
    “It is known that about 250 people from Majdal and Khattab were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists last week. Local sources have claimed that many of those dead from the chemical weapons were those from Majdal and Khattab.”

  7. Jack says:

    It sure is Ghouta redux. Our hysterical media and all the “Assad must go” crooners will be screaming from the ramparts. What’s new. Nikki needs some air time.

  8. Serge says:

    Agreed that they are adept at staging things, the presence of white helmets in the video I posted only increased my suspicion, but from the large number of reports and videos coming out(with the victims showing the classical signs of sarin:pupils,convulsions, clearly not results of thermobaric suffocation which is often erroneously reported by media as the results of chemical strikes) its clear to me that something happened. Question is whether it was accidental(a strike on a depot as I believe some Syrian sources have said it might have been)or AQ staging the attack as might have been done in Ghouta ,or in fact the work of the Syrian government(makes absolutely no sense at this stage with them having the upper hand, unless this was the work of some rogue faction or group within the heavily decentralized SAA). Tillerson commented a couple hours ago:
    “We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again,”
    reuters is also doing some vague reporting from this or that intelligence official or government source saying it was almost certainly the work of SAA:

  9. Serge says:

    What in the video indicates it is filmed in a quarry? The pile of rubble in the background at 1:10? A pile of rubble would seem to me to be a common scene in any syrian town by now. I have also seen followup videos of some type of white helmets base/hospital cut into rock near Khan shiekhoun,I’m unsure if it’s the same location as this video, maybe the victims were brought to this location?

  10. pmr9 says:

    A key source for the story of a chemical attack is Dr Shajul Islam, apparently in charge of the hospital in Khan Sheikhoun. 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.
    A bit more digging reveals that Dr 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.

  11. b says:

    An AFP (al-Qaeda) reporter claims “the smell” hit him when he entered the hospital. He meant the gas smell. But Sarin does not smell at all.
    The White Helmets “rescuers” worked without even basic protection. That pretty much excludes nerve agents like Sarin or they all would be sick or dead by now. The measures they took in the videos would not be helpful to any real victim.
    A reporter from the opposition Orient News tweeted yesterday(!) that they would soon report on a gas attack in that place – “prediction”?!
    The alleged “impact craters” shown on oppo TV of the “bombs” looked more like mortar craters and were in a widely open area. Where were the people when those “bombs” hit?
    The “doctor” who announced the attack first was jailed in UK for allegedly helping to kidnap journos in Syria. He was let go back to Syria (turned to work for MI-6?)
    If Syria had gas would it not use it when militarily under pressure against the attacking enemy? Instead the army prefers to lose hundreds of soldiers?
    Attack some civilians (why not AQ?) when it just won big in Hama and Damascus? Just days before new international talks come up? Just days after Trump admin said Assad leaving is not the priority no. 1?
    IMHO: Whatever the incident was, it was no real Sarin attack and very likely staged

  12. turcopolier says:

    Thanks. I wonder if we will ever find out what happened. The MSM over here has gone mad with war fever over this. pl

  13. Lars says:

    There are reports from various sources who went to the site about a certain smell. Not enough data yet about the gas or who is responsible, but I am sure more investigations will ensue. Many media outlets in Europe seem to be rather certain the Assad regime is culpable. Time will tell.

  14. Peter in Toronto says:

    That doesn’t appear remotely convincing. The concentration of civilians appears unnatural and staged, there are no obvious remnants of the means of delivering this alleged chemical agent and the presence of the White Helmets performance artists within minutes of such an event is suspect.
    More importantly, Assad had no incentive for such an assault.
    The probability of Syrian forces deliberately conducting such an attack are almost zero, in my estimation.

  15. Peter in Toronto says:

    You do understand who the White Helmets are and what their purpose in Syria is, correct?

  16. trinlae says:

    Although pure speculation doesn’t add true value, it occurs to me that if the dreadful scene has been staged in this instance, it is most likely not the first time. Is this a playbook scene that has been run before? If so, it must take some planning , brains. telecoms etc.

  17. Serge says:

    Unrelated,but speaking of Cantlie, that poor bastard is still alive and is trotted out in IS propaganda videos every 6-12 months or so. Last appearance in mid december in East Mosul as a “war correspondent”. Very interesting how they’ve kept him alive compared to the others, I would guess his seeming sharp tongue and quick wits have something to do with it, I suspect that he also edits some of their english language media(magazines in particular)

  18. Serge says:

    Here is the geolocated location of the video/white helmets base, immediately to the north and contiguous with khan shiekhoun,36.6541198,765m/data=!3m1!1e3

  19. Serge says:

    Don’t know what you mean by unnatural or staged, you can hear the frantic beeping of cars in the background, seems to me that the civilians are being brought to this location(contiguous with khan sheikhoun as a responded to Ghostship) for treatment from the immediate site of the attack. Agreed that he has no incentive for such a move. IMO there is no actual top down control for the vast majority of the SAA, it is an extremely decentralized outfit at this point. Any number of actors within it could have done it for any number of reasons

  20. John_Frank says:

    Fwiiw, follows is a link to the statement issued by the President as tweeted out by the State Department earlier today:
    Also, follows is a link to the statement issued by Secretary of State Tillerson, along with the full text:
    “The United States strongly condemns the chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, the third allegation of the use of such weapons in the past month alone. There are reports of dozens dead, including many children. While we continue to monitor the terrible situation, it is clear that this is how Bashar al-Assad operates: with brutal, unabashed barbarism. Those who defend and support him, including Russia and Iran, should have no illusions about Assad or his intentions. Anyone who uses chemical weapons to attack his own people shows a fundamental disregard for human decency and must be held accountable.
    It is also clear that this horrific conflict, now in its seventh year, demands a genuine ceasefire and the supporters of the armed combatants in the region need to ensure compliance. We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again. As the self-proclaimed guarantors to the ceasefire negotiated in Astana, Russia and Iran also bear great moral responsibility for these deaths.”
    Oh yes, the United States is the President of the UN Security Council for the month of April:
    Lastly, from March 1:
    Explanation of Vote on a Draft UN Security Council Resolution on Syria Chemical Weapons

  21. Serge says:

    Sorry for the double post,here is the location of the strike location:
    As you can see it is to the north of the town, very near to the “quarry”

  22. Mikee says:

    “Mariam, 14, a resident of Khan Sheikhoun, where the attack took place, had not yet reached the exam hall when 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.
    Sheltering in her home nearby, she saw several residents arrive by car to help the wounded. “When they got out, they inhaled the gas and died,” Mariam said.
    How did Mariam survive to tell her story?

  23. Serge says:

    RUmod has spoken of the attack, saying that it was an accidental strike on a chemical warehouse, whose contents were destined for Iraq(strange)
    So tacit admission that there has been a chemical incident at the area, it’s not fakery or staged. Personally I do not buy this explanation that it was a strike on a depot. Not an expert by far on these things, but from my limited knowledge of organic chemistry it doesn’t seem that such effects resulting from a strike on a depot would be possible

  24. Bandolero says:

    I, too, hope this video session is just fake news but I fear the AQ-led terrorists this time really killed some children to enhance the credibility of their propaganda. The group responsible for this CW false flag massacre propaganda is basically the same who killed the boy in a “rebel” video analyzed by a Swedish group of doctors recently:
    Swedish Doctors for Human Rights: White Helmets Video, Macabre Manipulation of Dead Children and Staged Chemical Weapons Attack to Justify a “No-Fly Zone” in Syria
    The Swedish doctors are right that these terrorists have no shame for nothing to stage their false flag propaganda events, but they missed the videos temporarily available on Youtube showing the boy still living – before he was killed with drugs and a horrific “adrenaline injection.”
    I know it’s cruel but their is evidence pointing to the fact that these terrorists really kill children and other people to make their propaganda look more realistic.

  25. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    How the same lying goes on and on an on is beyond belief.
    How many false prophets will humanity suffer through?
    The poem below might be OT but might be not…
    Ishmael Zechariah
    The mad girl with the staring eyes and long white fingers
    Hooked in the stones of the wall,
    The storm-wrack hair and screeching mouth: does it matter, Cassandra,
    Whether the people believe
    Your bitter fountain? Truly men hate the truth, they’d liefer
    Meet a tiger on the road.
    Therefore the poets honey their truth with lying; but religion—
    Vendors and political men
    Pour from the barrel, new lies on the old, and are praised for kind
    Wisdom. Poor bitch be wise.
    No: you’ll still mumble in a corner a crust of truth, to men
    And gods disgusting—you and I, Cassandra.

    Robinson Jeffers

  26. Bandolero says:

    Add to your list that a rebel reporter just announced several hours before the attack that a rebel information operation was immenent for the North Hama battle field involving allegations that the Syrian government gasses civilians:
    And so the “rebels” carried out this propaganda operation.

  27. optimax says:

    Assad isn’t stupid enough to use gas (some reports say sarin, others chlorine) a couple of days after Tillerson announces we won’t get rid of Assad. The WH and media report that Syria is responsible based on the the word of jihadists and without any investigation. I’m afraid people are stupid enough to believe it and will cheer us into a deeper conflict.

  28. Jack says:

    We know what the CIA fill feed POTUS. But, what about the rest of the IC and in particular Coats?
    What advice, if any, will Mattis and Tillerson provide?

  29. sid_finster says:

    Am I the only one who finds it odd that these “attacks” only seem to happen right after the Syrian government has some kind of success?

  30. John_Frank says:

    The Russian Ministry of Defense has posted a video statement (in Russian) concerning the attack
    Russia Today has published the following report based on the Ministry of Defense statement:
    Rebel warehouse with chem weapons hit by Syrian airstrike in Idlib – Russian MOD

  31. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Official reverse in US Assad policy, at the same time an ingoing Syria conference. And bang! A govt gas attack!? How convenient!!!

  32. Fred82 says:

    Col Lang Sir,
    What kinds of disinformation tactics did you see in Vietnam? How similar were they to this?

  33. Sam Peralta says:

    Good job debunking this BS. You know that folks who are not rabid interventionists will never be on a panel or be interviewed to debunk stories like this, the way you have just done.
    Only the war party members get air time to mouth Borgist crap. Nutty McCain will be on non-stop.

  34. turcopolier says:

    Nothing like this at all. pl

  35. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Serge 04 April 2017 at 07:33 PM
    “IMO there is no actual top down control for the vast majority of the SAA, it is an extremely decentralized outfit at this point. ”
    I would like some evidence for this remarkable assertion. Because it’s at complete variance with my experience of the situation in Syria (just got back three weeks ago thanks for asking). It’s also completely at variance with my experience of having been a professional military officer.

  36. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to b 04 April 2017 at 06:15 PM
    Just to follow up/expand a bit on this:
    3-quinuclidinyl benzilate AKA QNB BZ Agent 15 – odourless
    Sarin – odourless
    Tabum – odourless when pure
    CS Gas – odourless

  37. confusedponderer says:

    “More importantly, Assad had no incentive for such an assault.”
    I have my doubts that the Syrian army chemicaled the city. The reports and pictures were rather well staged in terms of choreography and thus … smelly.
    Also, there currently are some negotiations about peace in Syria with Assad as a PARTNER. It is likely that Syrian rebels may want to torpedo that.
    Two days ago I read an article about the peace negotiations on Syria riding rough terrain. Under Trump not even the US still want regime change and had accepted Assad as a part of the solution.
    Since it is apparently an utter horror to them, any deal with Assad as a partner was being rejected with outbursts by syrian opposition and rebels.
    The Syrian rebels in response to the talks accused Assad of ‘refusing to engage in detailed negotiations and instead continuing to starve Syrians into submission’.
    All that, of course, becaue Assad is so evil and not because, say, rebels hide amongst Syrian civilians and are thus being neccesarily under siege.
    It seems as if the rebel plans for regime change are unchanged ever since the start of the civil war.
    Apparently, for the rebels, to achieve peace in syria, first Assad the evil civilian gasser and utter evildoer must to go – he couldn’t, no, mustn’t be partner for anyone.
    What I’m getting that is this:
    I’d argue that if regime change is so important to them, then one or a few more regime savageries, even if fictitious, is a small price, that, conveniently, someone else has to pay. People after such an atrocity could … reject to talk with Assad, the vile and cruel civilian gasser … because he is so irrational and evil!
    For folk who hold that sort view the guilt of Assads in this butchery is a neccessity.
    Spculation: So perhaps the idea behind the attack was to kill negotiations with Assad over Syria? In that case it would be unlikely that Assad was the attacker – such a deed would damage him in negotiations and only give fuel to the ‘Assad must go’ folks.
    That’s to say that others but Russia or the Syrian army do have interests in an atrocious event pinned on Assad, and the others do have the means and practice to do it and to play the story.
    Probably, for an enthusiastic rebel, if regime change is what you want to achieve, then pissing at truth a little is a small price to see Assad to go. Likely, if ever captured by rebels, Assad’s life would end similar to Ghaddafi’s.
    It is interesting that the rebels are apparently losing. My pessimitic prognose of accepting that perhaps Assad is being blamed for something he didn’t do:
    The lesser rebel chances become in light of Syrian army succeses, the more often we’ll probably see similar chemical incidents, for which – of course – the evil Assad will be accused.
    So it probably will go on with suff like this.

  38. b says:

    Two remarks on top of my doubts above:
    A. This was not Sarin, at least not in the weaponized pure form. It also was not an aimed hit on a hostile target (headquarter, staging forces, imminent attack force). Some precursor? Some other organophosphate? Some undiluted herbizide? Some mixtures?
    B. The Russian MoD says a Syrian attack on a warehouse where chemical weapons were made or stored. It says that the mixture or whatever it was is known to them and has been used by “rebels” before. A Syrian source earlier said the same.
    “Syrian aviation airstrike in Idlib targeted chemical arms lab — Russian Defense Ministry”
    There might be two reasons why the Ru MOD would say this:
    B.1.It is true – then we will likely see satellite pictures showing before/after of the hit and will be able to pinpoint a building that could be further investigated.
    B.2. The event was staged like Ghouta was staged. But the Russian’s decided to give Trump a “way out” (also like Ghouta). If he accepts the explanation (no matter if right or wrong) he can blame al-Qaeda and continue to attack it. Any U.S. action against the Syrian government can then be avoided.
    – From what I have seen and read I consider this event to have been planned by anti-Syrian forces and elaborately staged by their movie production teams (White Helmets) on the ground.
    – Russia giving Trump an “off ramp” or “way out” is likely the best explanation for their MoDs statement.
    – I will reconsider this thesis if or when new information comes in.

  39. Jan says:

    Jeroen Oerlemans was killed in Sirte, Libya on 2nd of october 2016.

  40. Chris Chuba says:

    With so much speculation, why not allow inspectors in right away to examine the scene including the dead bodies, even the people who believe Assad did it should want to know what type of chemical weapons he still has. I hope the Russians press this point before Nikki Haley channels Samantha Powers.
    I am quoting one argument from this article arguing that this was staged …

    The White Helmets are handling the corpses of people without sufficient safety gear, most particularly with the masks mostly used , as well as no gloves. Although this may seem insignificant, understanding the nature of sarin gas that the opposition claim was used, only opens questions.
    Within seconds of exposure to sarin, the affects of the gas begins to target the muscle and nervous system. There is an almost immediate release of the bowels and the bladder, and vomiting is induced. When sarin is used in a concentrated area, it has the likelihood of killing thousands of people. Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin. This has to raise questions. “[boldface added for emphasis]

  41. The Beaver says:

    Was watching Morning Joe this morning and they had the Syrian High Negotiations Committee rep. Bassma Kodmani and I chocked on my cereal when I heard her say something like this: We need to prevent Iran from encouraging the Jihadis and the crocodile tears were coming only from one eye !
    I guess they didn’t catch her lies. The goal is to prevent Iran from helping Saddam and now since AIPAC and Israel have a new BFF- KSA, both Bibi and Naftali Bennett are hoping that Trump will bombed the SyAF and bases (as does the UKUN rep in Turtle Bay) We just have to see what will happen this morning at the UNSC.
    BTW: Leith has a good one on his Twitter account:
    The PMU found those same chemicals in Mosul a couple of weeks ago also.

  42. MRW says:

    Chris Chuba,
    What html command did you use to indent those two paragraphs? Just give the beginning tag.

  43. MRW says:

    Nikki Haley is already channeling Samantha Powers

  44. Fred says:

    I saw Savannah Guthrie smile throughout the Today show Pravda episode about Ghouta this morning. I gladly traded more of that for my morning commute. I wonder why they don’t get a real expert from the Obama administration to speak on this, like say former national security adviser Susan Rice. It’s not like she’s been busy lately, has she?

  45. Old Microbiologist says:

    Being somewhat familiar with actually treating victims of chem/bio attacks, if it is Sarin (or similar nerve agent assumed from foam at mouth), it is a persistent agent used mostly for denial of terrain operations. Very tiny amounts can kill you and anyone entering a contaminated area will be equally dead. None of these people seem to be affected thus making this video very suspect. It outgases from contminated clothing and soil on a dose-dependent basis. On the other hand it could be chlorine gas which ISIS has used multiple times in the past and is not very useful in bombs. MOPP IV is the usual level of PPE required to treat victims. Anyone observe any PPE at all in the video? Looks fake to me.

  46. The Beaver says:

    Sorry , it should read “Assad” in lieu of Saddam

  47. John_Frank says:

    fwiiw The Russian Ministry of Defense has posted two statements concerning the events at Khan Sheikhun in Idlib Province, Syria on their Facebook page.
    The first was in response to a Reuter’s report.
    Russian Defence Ministry strongly refuted another fake material published by the British agency Reuters concerning the alleged attack of the Khan Sheikhoun town carried out by the Russian aircraft using chemical warfare munitions
    The second is the statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense after carrying out their own investigation:
    Russian Defence Ministry comments on the destruction of a depot with terrorists’ chemical weapons near Khan Sheikhun carried out by the Syrian aviation:
    “According to the objective monitoring data, yesterday, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (local time) the Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts of the Khan Sheikhun town. On the territory of the depot, there were workshops, which produced chemical warfare munitions.
    Terrorists had been transporting chemical munitions from this largest arsenal to the territory of Iraq. Both international organizations and the authorities of the country had repeatedly proved their usage by terrorists.
    These chemical munitions had been also used by militants in Aleppo, their using was registered in the end of the previous year by the Russian specialists.
    The poisoning symptoms of the victims in Khan Sheikhun shown on videos in social networks are the same as they were in autumn of the previous year in Aleppo.
    At that time, all the facts of chemical weapons using in Syria together with the soil samples were protocoled and transferred to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
    However, the experts of this international organization, having received all the materials and samples, which prove the using of chemical weapons by terrorists in Syria, are still examining them.
    We assert that the presented information is completely objective and credible.”
    The Russia Today article, which has already been cited, after summarizing what the Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson had to say cites the following:
    Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, rejected Russia’s version of the incident, saying the rebels had no military positions in the area.
    “Everyone saw the plane while it was bombing with gas,” he told Reuters.
    “Likewise, all the civilians in the area know that there are no military positions there, or places for the manufacture [of weapons]. The various factions of the opposition are not capable of producing these substances,” he added.
    Rebel warehouse with chem weapons hit by Syrian airstrike in Idlib – Russian MOD
    According to Reuters, as reported in the RT article, citing activists and rebels, there was an alleged chemical weapons attack on a hospital in Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday morning.
    The Russian MOD says that Syrian Air Force conducted an attack on facilities used by militants on the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhun between 11:30 am to 12:30 pm local time.
    At least two analysts tell RT that the events as described by the rebels were likely staged.
    Rebels ‘only people who benefited’ from Idlib chemical weapons attack – analyst
    In the meantime, according to reports, the death toll has jumped to 72 –
    Also, the WHO is saying that the victims show signs of exposure to ‘nerve agents’
    It is noted in passing that according to a report published on the UN website yesterday:
    Syria: UN chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of alleged chemical attack; OPCW investigating

  48. The Beaver says:

    @ MRW
    Well she was at AIPAC some days ago and then we have the Israeli Ambassador at the UN as her “coach”. It was funny watching her on This Week last Sunday when she thought she would teach Martha Raddatz about the start of the Syrian Civil War in Dara’a (she was stopped midway). She is another anti-Iran proponent at the UNSC

  49. pmr9 says:

    I think the evidence so far favours hypothesis B2 over B1.
    From the information available so far, there are three sites:-
    1. the impact site alleged by the opposition, on a road in the town of Khan Sheikhoun at about 6.30 am on 4 April
    2. the munitions depot struck by the Russian air force at midday (according to Konashenko), which may be the Camp Khazanat depot southeast of Khan Sheikhoun
    3. the quarry, used as a base by the White Helmets, where photographs and videos uploaded on 4 April showed the bodies of children and adults laid out in the open. The best match for this so far is a site east of Khan Sheikhoun, where reinforced bunkers with ventilation shafts have recently been cut into the quarry wall. This is most likely to be the place where the victims were held and killed.
    So the Russians presumably know that their air strike does not match the time or the place of the alleged chemical attack.
    US government sources are now briefing that this was a sarin attack by the regime. We can expect that before long there will be positive tests on blood samples to confirm this. The risk for the planners of this attack is that this incident will lead to the reopening of investigations into the 2013 sarin attacks, on which far more information is now available [

  50. Babak Makkinejad says:

    She is silencing McCain and Co.; that is her utility.
    Trump’s government will issue all the right condemnations but will do nothing.
    Macomb county in Michigan did not elect him to bomb Syria or anywhere else.

  51. Annem says:

    Some of the media reports did refer to chlorine gas, not sarin.
    Use of gas in a situation like this would be an act of desperation. That describes neither the SAA nor the Russians. As usual, none of the Western media identified the area as being held by “jihadis.”

  52. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There was also this:
    A deal had been negotiated recently in Qatar between representatives of Iran and the Syrian Rebels for the evacuation of two cities Foa’a and Kfrya -فوعه و کفریا – the implementation of which is now doubtful.
    I think the best thing that Iran and Russia can do is to propose the creation of an independent fact-finding mission – say under the CWBT – and let the Fortress West and Gulfies oppose it.
    I also think the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Turkey do not comprehend that US intervention in Syria will lead – without a doubt – to a much larger war in the aftermath of which will emerge a smaller Turkey and a smaller Saudi Arabia and a smaller Iraq and a smaller Syria, together with a Republic of Kurdistan.
    Arabs beware.

  53. Mikey says:

    CNN quotes the CDC (on Sarin) here:
    “In liquid form, symptoms are likely to appear a few minutes to a few hours after exposure, but the effect is almost instantaneous when it’s an odorless gas. Then, victims can experience symptoms within seconds.
    Symptoms of low to moderate exposure include a watery nose, blurred vision, tightness in the chest, nausea, drowsiness and headaches.
    The toxic effects of nerve agents are caused by the inhibition of an enzyme the CDC calls an “off switch” for glands and muscles. Without it, the glands and muscles continue to operate, eventually causing victims to tire to the point that they’re unable to keep breathing.
    Exposure to large doses can lead to loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis and respiratory failure. Victims can die within 10 minutes.
    In your opinion, is CNN or the CDC downplaying the lethality of Sarin in cases of low to moderate exposure?
    Please don’t be offended, just trying to find out the facts.

  54. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Yes. Especially with USrael set on creating a Kurdistan.

  55. Thomas says:

    “Is this a playbook scene that has been run before?”
    Yes, it will continue to do so until someone with influence and courage calls BS to stop it.

  56. elaine says:

    Dubhaltach, I’d be very interested in knowing more about your recent trip to Syria. Please elaborate.

  57. Jan Czekajewski says:

    More importantly, Assad had no incentive for such an assault.
    The probability of Syrian forces deliberately conducting such an attack are almost zero, in my estimation.
    This is my opinion as well

  58. Eric Newhill says:

    Agree. Trump has been forced to condemn Syria and Russia in this matter because he wouldn’t dare to question the situation given all the McCarthyism and allegations of collusion with the red menace flying around these days. Anything short of condemnation would be played up as evidence of 1. collusion with demonic baby killer Putin and 2. That Trump is also a heartless supporter of demonic baby killers (intensify the investigations!)
    The Borg has put Trump in check. Well played, Borg.

  59. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That war to come would not end for a while, likely will escalate into a shooting war between the United States and Russia and Iran as well. It will be decades before the dust settles.
    Osama Bin Ladin attacked Harper’s Ferry, and we have been through Bloody Kansas and the War Between the States is just around the corner.
    Puritans won the US Civil War, let us see if they will win this one.

  60. Old Microbiologist says:

    Nerve agents are dose dependent and extremely difficult to treat. In reality only light doses are treatable at all. Those of us who served in the military always carried atropine and 2PAM Chloride auto syringes for self and/or buddy treatment. However it was later determined 2PAMCl didn’t work at all and atropine only works for very light doses. The only real protection is PPE. We never trained with live agents (other than tear gas) but the Soviets did use nerve agent for their chemical corps soldiers. I believe they also now only use stimulants. Because nerve agents are normally dispersed as a liquid it stays confined and is absorbed quickly. However, it has high volatility and outgasses easily causing delayed exposures. A lot has to do with environmental factors such as night/day, temperature, humidity, and prevailing winds.
    If this incident happened at all, then it most likely was chlorine gas released from canisters. That is a true gas and behaves accordingly. It is heavier than air so settles on the ground. In a quarry this is ideal. Death would be from suffocation though so no foaming of the mouth hence why I believe the entire thing is a false flag.

  61. trinlae says:

    Welcome back and glad youre safe. Thanks for sharing!

  62. Ghostship says:

    This was the second image I saw of the attack. It’s the site of probably all the action that occurred in the video you linked to:
    It looks like a quarry to me, not a large commercial one but a small local one that meets local needs.
    These appear to be two images taken in the opposite direction towards what seems to be the White Helmet structures:

  63. Ghostship says:

    “frantic beeping in the background”
    Someone could have added a background soundtrack during editing. This is not an amateur video, although the production it’s of seems very amateurish to me.
    This is a White Helmet location. The White Helmets are supposed to be trained civil defence workers. Why is the drop off area for the White Helmet location and hospital so disorganized with bodies and people lying all over the place blocking access to the White Helmet location and hospital? If the White Helmets really were trained, I’d expect to see the bodies and people lying in an orderly manner and someone directing things and someone (a nurse or doctor) running triage.

  64. A.Pols says:

    What the lack of critical thinking about this means to me is that certain elements in this country “want” to be fooled. All the “White Helmet” videos are the same with the various “rescuers” milling around in an uncoordinated fashion, all yelling in the same way. Nobody actually seems to look hurt, the “treatments” are laughable in relation to what would be going on in the event of a real nerve agent attack, they seem to grab the same child and run towards the camera, always towards the camera. These videos belong on Saturday Night Live.
    Is “Serge” a troll, or am I off base?
    Anyhow, these reports of chemical attack massacres always seem to materialize in a formulaic manner in a predictable way at certain times of stress for the Jihadis.
    We, in this country, need to get over this and stop being so willfully gullible.

  65. Keith Harbaugh says:

    I get that effect with the blockquote HTML command.

    This is inside a blockquote tag.

    To get line breaks inside a blockquote, use the br command.

  66. Yeah, Right says:

    I take it as a given that if this was a false flag operation then the US intelligence community would be able to detect the fakery. Or – at the very least – to conclude that they can’t discount that this was faked.
    Nobody thinks the US intelligence agencies are so incompetent that they can’t detect a fraud perpetrated on this scale, correct?
    Surely if this was a false-flag then the US intelligence community would detect the fakery, and would then be obligated to bring their conclusion to the attention of the POTUS.
    After all, that’s why Obama had to walk back his “red line” i.e. he was told that he had been played for a sucker, and he just had to Suck It Up.
    Or is all that too naive? Is it possible for the US military to conclude that this was a false-flag and then, you know, keep that to themselves?
    I would have thought that the answer was “no”, but then again I’m looking in from the outside. What do the insiders think?

  67. Eric Newhill says:

    I am thinking that there is hope here.
    The Russians can use their super hacking abilities to cause Trump’s Google searches to come to this site.

  68. Chris Chuba says:

    What Keith said.
    For others who want to experiment with html formatting …
    I find myself using boldface, text in between will be bold <b>bold </b>
    All html tags have the same rule of enclosure.

    block quotation

    On a more serious not it looks like Al Qaeda scored a real victory with their False Flag. Now Trump has backed himself into a corner and declared that Assad has crossed his red lines …
    The Russians really blundered. They should have had a rapid reaction force to secure any area subject to a chemical weapons attack to prevent forensic corruption. Now they might get into a war. They knew this was a possibility, there was buzz about this last year on Southfront and Al Masdar.
    I can hear Netanyahu whispering to Trump, ‘we bomb Syria all of the time, it’s no big deal, you should do it’.

  69. Yeah, Right says:

    Eric, Trump has no hesitation in tweeting statements without producing the evidence to back them up i.e. his tweets are presented as self-evident-facts.
    So he can respond to being “in check” with a single tweet: “I’ve just been told that this atrocity was faked by ISIS”.
    And like all his other tweets he can respond to the subsequent howls of outrage by saying “I’ll have more to say on this later, you just wait and see”.
    After all, that has worked for him every other time…..

  70. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, right
    If he think this was dome by IS in Idlib then he is invincibly ignorant. pl

  71. repiblic says:

    The SAA has discovered Potassium Permangenate (for chlorine gas) and Aluminum Phosphide [Detia GAS-EX-B] (releases phosphine) in rebel held areas. Phosphine can apparently have a garlic / rotten fish smell caused by incidental byproducts / incomplete reaction.
    If B1 were true, it is possible that a stockpile of this was hit.

  72. DH says:

    The strong statements by Trump and Tillerson before a proper investigation could indicate it’s all kabuki, and they will allow themselves to be talked down.

  73. Yeah, Right says:

    Colonel, it isn’t a matter of “ignorance”, but of “politics”.
    If Trump believes he is being deliberately boxed in then he can escape from that box at any time by tweeting “I’ve been told that ISIS did this”.
    It is his get-out-of-goal card, and if he plays it then he is under no obligation to produce any evidence, just as he was under no obligation to produce evidence that “Obama bugged my phones!” or that “Rice broke the law!” or that “Hillary is crooked!”.
    Those are all tweets, they are not depositions in a court of law.

  74. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, Right
    I think ignorance is the right thought. Surely Trump and company can see that an expedition into Syria would result in a yet another swamp from which he would not be able to extricate himself. This would lead to massive disillusion among his core supporters. pl

  75. Yeah, Right says:

    I agree that Trump can see the pit that is in front of him, and I agree that if he has the slightest common-sense then he will not allow himself to be pushed into that pit.
    What I am suggesting is that he has a very easy way of avoiding that fate i.e. he need only tweet that he has been told that this was a false-flag.
    It doesn’t matter if he fingers ISIS as being responsible, or whether he chooses to finger AQ instead, or if he just leaves it as the every-nebulous “rebels”.
    It makes no difference because he isn’t going to have to back up his tweet with evidence, any more than he has needed to substantiate any of his countless other tweets.
    That’s the genius of the man: his use of twitter confounds all the accepted notions of what a politician can – and can’t – get away with.

  76. turcopolier says:

    Yeah, Right
    You, like other poor losers are obsessed with Trump’s lack of virtue, but strangely blind to the frailties of others, HRC for example. I don’t give damn about any of that. I don’t care about US politics. I am interested in avoiding a war with Russia. pl

  77. Old Microbiologist says:

    I keep finding it extremely telling that no real data is ever forthcoming. I spent time in several combat laboratories tasked with field detection and we had a portable Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy for field testing for chemical agents. From that you get a very rapid but highly precise fingerprint (in a real sense it is that precise and every chemical has impurities and ratios that are extremely characteristic) of the agent used (including constituent parts) and based on libraries of samples collected from every chemical weapon depot (yes it exists) you can rapidly tell where it was made assuming it was a bonafide chemical weapon agent. Home brewed stuff (this is more likely here assuming it exists at all) can be analyzed for its constituents and again these are well characterized and can be traced by their molecular signature to the raw chemical manufacturer. Since 9/11 these libraries have been built at great expense and a lot of effort (your tax dollars at work). We never see these data which I find rather shocking given how much effort has gone into creating these libraries in the first place. Field test results are completed in less than 4 hours (and are definitive enough to tell exactly what was used) and detailed analysis can be completed in days (not weeks or months or even years now). But, I believe we are still waiting for the real data from the Ghouta attacks so I am of the opinion either it is negative data, shows the “wrong” guys made it, it was made from constituents manufactured by allies (our the US), or some other nefarious reason. The data exists and someone has it but there seems to be no real interest in actually seeing the data. So, until someone publishes the results then it is pure speculation about anything at all. In other words complete BS.

  78. ISL says:

    A. Pols,
    IMO, the Tell is the avoidance of providing arguments and facts to address a number of questions raised by SST community members, but simply a repetition of an assertion – i.e., attempting to program a viewpoint rather than convince. To me this suggests a non-casual troll.
    Such approaches are useful for selling cars to the public, but not to the SST level of discourse.

  79. LeaNder says:

    Home brewed stuff (this is more likely here assuming it exists at all) can be analyzed for its constituents and again these are well characterized and can be traced by their molecular signature to the raw chemical manufacturer.
    OM, among many other things in the larger post 9/11 universe of web chattering that drew my attention, you may well be familiar with the US institutions that at one point or the other drew my attention. In the larger context of the post 9/11 US anthrax events come to mind, at least they may have sent me on a larger excursion. … Obviously without any basis for what I read.
    Our news, by the way, report of victims being treated but died in Turkey, at least to the extend I paid attention.
    Would independent researchers be allowed to test that Turkish expertise, and would they be able to tell us anything relevant? Would that expertise be reliable?
    What exactly would be the difference between chemical and biological agents, asked as nitwit. 😉

  80. confusedponderer says:

    Mikey, Old Microbiologist
    An easy way is to wiki on Sarin:
    “Sarin … can be lethal even at very low concentrations, where death can occur within one[7][8] to ten minutes after direct inhalation of a lethal dose, due to suffocation from lung muscle paralysis, unless some antidotes, typically atropine and an oxime, such as pralidoxime, are quickly administered.[5] People who absorb a non-lethal dose, but do not receive immediate medical treatment, may suffer permanent neurological damage.”
    It struck me at the photos and footage was that the helpers for the wounded appeared to touch them and they weren’t wearing gloves, breath protections (masks or filters) or protection suits.
    That’s startling: IMO the unprotection of aiders is a smelly circumstance.
    I was trained in the army in NBC recce and first aid to C victims. A basic rule teached there was to NEVER EVER abdicate protection in an NBC situation because to do so would be suicidal and stupid.
    So, whenever you see images of unprotected aiders help gassed victims, be sceptic. Keep in mind this:
    Folks toxed with unhealthy stuff like Sarin or some mustard gas are after that TOXIC where they got the poison. Just touching victims there risks also poisoning the helpers.
    Unless receiving intensive medical treatment asap the helpers then would then be sick too. Nobody in right mind risks that: The effects caused by C gasses are a brutal and painful thing.
    Important to keep in mind:
    When gas was used, a victim is not just someone who urgently needs help, but he is also a threat to first aiders.
    If images of an incident show that helpers afford to abdicate protection when working with victims, they likely are either dumb as ass, dumb suicidals, dumb untrained or simply dumb actors playing a bad skript – or, of course, they may just know they don’t need it.

  81. Prem says:

    The doctor featured in some of the MSM coverage was involved in the first kidnapping of John Cantille.
    He had to be released because Cantille returned to Syria and was abducted again (by IS).
    Yet, NBC is quoting him without any comment. The only person to mention his history is Lizzie Phelan of RT.

  82. Old Microbiologist says:

    And of course, the analysis was performed on site by…..Turkey, who of course found evidence of Sarin. Just like investigating the shootdown of MH-17 was done by Ukraine. Hmm.

  83. Sam Peralta says:

    Thanks. It makes it very clear that this is all propaganda. Ghouta redux, indeed!

  84. Thomas says:

    “The strong statements by Trump and Tillerson before a proper investigation could indicate it’s all kabuki, and they will allow themselves to be talked down.”
    Or it is all kabuki and they are allowing the usual subversives to expose themselves and then close the political cauldron on them with the actual facts. There will be no public pity, and very much anger, towards those exposed for trying again to falsely lead the United States into another war.

  85. Yeah, Right says:

    Colonel, to be honest, I quite like Trump and make no claims regarding his “virtue”. I am certainly very glad that he defeated Clinton, who I detest.
    I am merely pointing out that the original claim by Eric that Trump has been “checked” by the Borg is false, as Trump can get out of check with a single tweet.
    That’s all I said, and that’s all I meant.
    As for avoiding war with Russia – or, indeed, with anyone – I can not agree with you more. Anyone who thinks that War With Russia is a good idea is a fool.
    But the push for war is a political process, and so US political machinations can’t be ignored.

  86. confusedponderer says:

    “Yet, such a dangerous gas, and the White Helmets are treating bodies with little concern to their exposed skin. This has to raise questions.”
    Amen. You’re right IMO. Raise questions indeed … As I said before:
    ‘I was trained in the army in NBC recce and first aid to C victims. A basic rule teached there was to NEVER EVER abdicate protection in an NBC situation because to do so would be suicidal and stupid.
    So, whenever you see images of unprotected aiders help gassed victims, be sceptic. Keep in mind this:
    Folks toxed with unhealthy stuff like Sarin or some mustard gas are after that TOXIC where they got the poison. Just touching victims there risks also poisoning the helpers.
    Unless receiving intensive medical treatment asap the helpers then would then be sick too. Nobody in right mind risks that: The effects caused by C gasses are a brutal and painful thing.
    Important to keep in mind:
    When gas was used, a victim is not just someone who urgently needs help, but he is also a threat to first aiders.
    If images of an incident show that helpers afford to abdicate protection when working with victims, they likely are either dumb as ass, dumb suicidals, dumb untrained or simply dumb actors playing a bad skript – or, of course, they may just know they don’t need it.’

  87. Dave Miller in Austin says:

    The Guardian reporter went to the town and filed a report with pictures: Here is what he reported:
    What was apparently a small rocket filled with gas struck the town (see the picture- the rocket barely broke through the tar/macadam road). At the same time there were Syrian government air strikes nearby. The air strikes I assume used standard bombs and attacked from a high altitude to avoid small arms fire from the ground. We do not know the connection between the two incidents.
    The victims were taken to a hospital built into the side of a hill outside town (the “quarry” video). That site was then bombed by Syrian aircraft using conventional munitions. The reporter saw the remains of the facility and said that there were no munitions or military activity there. It seems to have been a real medical facility.
    The poison gas was ground-hugging; one extended family that took shelter underground all died.
    The American airstrike was perfunctory- five damaged jets were destroyed but the repair facility where people might have been working was apparently not targeted and there was no attempt to shut down the field by cratering the runway. Russian sources cited in the article say fewer than half the American Tomahawks hit the airfield so either there were other targets, many missiles malfunctioned or the air defense system destroyed the subsonic tomahawks.
    Remember, the chemical attack two-three years ago also used small missiles and they turned out to have been fired from positions not controlled by the Syrian government. ANd that is all we really know so far.

  88. DH says:

    Alas, we need a new frame. A la Babak, Trump just threw 59 bones to appease the Borg.

  89. Thomas says:

    I don’t know what to say, I thought there was enough honorable people left to prevent national suicide, or that Trump and Tillerson would have a nominal understanding of the Ghouta attack, alas the NeoCons learned the lessons of Trotsky well and purged them all over the last 24 years.
    When the enemy in the gate runs the government, the nation is lost.

  90. Imagine says:

    Why is the drop off area for the White Helmet location and hospital so disorganized with bodies and people lying all over the place blocking access to the White Helmet location and hospital?
    Because it’s staged to look busy. Hollywood style. Not to be usable. The randomness is artistic, it’s directed, on purpose.

  91. Imagine says:

    Oerlemans did not testify for fear that the re-kidnapped Cantlie would get killed if he did.

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