What the OPCW-FFM Report on the Saraqib Chlorine Attack Tells Us About the Douma Chemical Attack

By Eliot Higgins

Today’s OPCW-FFM report on the February 4 2018 chemical attack in Saraqib, Idlib, reveals not only information about the Saraqib attack, but also the broader use of chemical weapons in Syria, and additional evidence to support the theory Syrian government forces were behind the April 7 2018 chemical attack in Douma, Damascus.

Consistent with Bellingcat’s earlier investigation into the Saraqib chemical attack, the OPCW-FFM report establishes it was likely chlorine was used in Saraqib, meeting the terms of reference for the OPCW-FFM, which is to establish the likelihood of chemical agent use in Syria, not who was responsible for the attack. As with Bellingcat’s earlier report, the OPCW-FFM report includes witness statements claiming a helicopter had flown over Saraqib, followed by the dropping of two munitions, later identified as being chlorine gas cylinders. The impact site of both munitions, according to the OPCW-FFM report, is consistent with the earlier reporting of Bellingcat, on the east side of Saraqib:

Map showing the impact site from the OPCW-FFM report on Saraqib

While the open source evidence surrounding the attack is consistent with the OPCW-FFM investigation, which instead relied on witness statements and evidence gathered from the scene of the attack, the details of the evidence collected by the OPCW-FFM offers not only a high likelihood of the presence of Sarin or Sarin-like chemical agents at the Saraqib attack site, but allows us to increase our knowledge of the use of chemical weapon by the Syrian government, as well as providing some clues that gives us insight into other chemical attacks in Syria, including the April 7th 2018 chemical attack in Douma.

The OPCW-FFM includes photographs of the remains of the munitions used, chlorine gas cylinders, one with an external structure attached. External structures have been seen on the remains of numerous chlorine bombs used …read more

From:: Bellingcat

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