Last week was was marked by the chemical weapons, used once again by Bashar al-Assad and by the buzzing of airplanes and cruise missiles from the United States, France and Britain, which carried out a vengeance and warning operation, destroying the chemical facilities of al-Assad. There was also a wave of misinformation from the main ally of Syria — Russia. Moscow demands proof that the chemical attack did take place, while preventing the experts from arriving at the site and refuting the evidence found.
Washington tells Assad that it can “repeat” the drill: allied missiles successfully bombed the warehouses and chemical weapons laboratories of Bashar al-Assad in response to a chemical attack in the city of the Douma.
“Based on intelligence sources, although not 100%, but we can say with certainty that these facilities had chemical weapons, including sarin,” said Kenneth McKenzie from the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.
But that’s not all. According to the information of the American authorities, there are other storage facilities for weapons of mass destruction in the territory controlled by Assad, including in schools and apartment houses, under the protection of “live shields” — peaceful Syrians.
Still, Moscow is pushing for “evidence”. “There was no chemical attack. There was only a dramatization. There was no use of chemical weapons,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
The April 7 chemical attack on the city of the Douma killed from 40 to 70 people, including many children. The world saw the video of rescuers pouring water on people. There were also videos of dead children lying in the rooms with foam coming from their mouths, which were mostly not shown by TV channels for ethical reasons.
“We were sitting in the basement and having dinner, when we heard the sound of shelling, and then we smelled the chlorine, it was a very strong smell. We were told that the al-Assad regime was shelling the area with chlorine. We began to put on masks on children, but the smell was getting stronger, I began to lose consciousness, my eyes became teary,” said Rasha Edlbi, the mother of 2 girls, who survived the chemical attack.
The Russian media, diplomats, the “army” of Kremlin bloggers, commentators and trolls have cast doubt on the fact of the attack. For example, they asked why rescuers were working without gas masks after a chemical attack.
“The chlorine-based chemical used in Syria attacks the human body immediately during the use, but in 15-20 minutes there is an opportunity to help the victims without wearing even masks or other devices,” said Krzysztof Liedel of the Center for the Study of Terrorism at the Collegium Civitas in Warsaw.
“Everything that was said by Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and Donald Trump, all the evidence is based on information from journalists and messages in social networks,” said Sergei Lavrov.
Even though the old Soviet diplomat Lavrov is aware of what the analytics for military and political leadership are based on.
“It is formed on 80-90% of open sources. Forms the so-called information framework. Clarifications – 10-20% of the closed information from closed sources supplement – and as a result we get the full picture, ” says Mikhail Samus from the Center for Army Studies, Conversion and Disarmament in Kiev.
“The United States and the countries of the European Union have diplomatic offices in Syria and neighboring countries, they have their special services there, have secret agents in the Assad army, and it seems that it was from the operational reports that it became known who is behind the chemical attack,” continues Krzysztof Liedel.
The report on chemical attack in Douma was based on the information from open sources, and declassified intelligence information was published by France. According to the French intelligence, the April chemical attack on Douma was part of a large and coordinated offensive of the al-Assad regime. The goal is to destroy the last bastion of opponents, to regain full control over the province of East Ghouta.
Military and reconnaissance sources recorded coordinated actions of Assad troops, as well as intensive aviation activity over Douma. And then in social networks there were simultaneous spontaneous reports of a chemical attack. In medical centers, hundreds of patients were simultaneously brought with the same symptoms. These were symptoms of poisoning with chemicals:
— difficulty breathing;
— those who could talk mentioned the strong smell of chlorine and green smoke;
— foam coming from the mouth;
— blueish skin;
— chemical burns on the skin and eyes.
There were no deaths from mechanical damage.
According to the French intelligence, more than 40 people died. The vast majority of photos and videos are fresh and could not be fabricated.
It can be concluded that Assad’s forces deliberately used chemical weapons containing chlorine to create an atmosphere of terror and panic in uncontrolled areas and force the enemy to surrender. Russia provided an absolute advantage in the air for the aviation of al-Assad.
Russia undertook to control the destruction of chemical weapons of the Bashar al-Assad regime five years ago, but did not fulfill its duties. Syria has not destroyed all chemical weapons and continues to produce it.
“While this information and facts were studied all over the world, a lot of fakes were actively thrown into the Russian information space — with some witnesses, doctors who spoke about absolutely paradoxical things,” adds Mikhail Samus.
Now the Russian media and information agents are spreading fakes that they allegedly found a terrorist factory of chemical weapons in Douma, that people had suffocated from smoke and dust, that this was a provocation of pseudo-allies Iranians. The purpose of this wave is to shock people so that there remains only information noise in the head. However, in the West, this information weapon has already misfired. Chemical attack on Douma was recognized as an indisputable fact.
The story by Yaraslau Stseshyk first appeared on the Belsat program with Alina Koushyk on April 20.