The following is a statement sent to me by Peter Ford, former UK Ambassador to Syria, and is an initial response to the newly published OPCW report on the alleged chemical attack on Douma in March 2018.
Here is the long awaited final OPCW report on Douma.
It will be framed by the media and Western governments as proof that Asad gassed his people in Douma last April. It is in fact nothing of the kind.
Close reading of the text, particularly page 31, shows this:
- that the inspectors reckon there is a strong probability that chlorine was used (and only chlorine, not sarin as Western governments claimed).
- However, the inspectors will go no further than to state that it is 'possible', not even 'probable', that the chlorine was delivered by cylinders found in two locations. Unstated, but implicit, is the converse possibility that someone had placed and doctored these smoking guns in order to frame the Syrian government.
- For reasons unstated the inspectors say they did not follow up on the possibility of exhuming and examining any bodies.
- all the forensic evidence that chlorine was used came not from alleged victims but from the surroundings, especially wood. The report omits to mention the obvious: that the surroundings could have been deliberately doused with chlorine.