At least 70 people have been killed and hundreds injured (500-700) in an alleged chemical attack on the distict of Douma in the Damascus subrub of Eastern Ghouta, the mainstream media (MSM) reports citing “rescuers and medics” in the militant-held area. [for example: BBC, SkyNews]
Obviously, the alleged attack was immediately blamed on the Syrian government.
According to mainstream and pro-militant “analysts” and “media outlets”, the “Assad regime” has nothing to do but to conduct chemical attacks in Douma. Especially, considering that the militants’ defense fully collapsed in Eastern Ghouta, Douma is now the only militant stronghold in the entire area and Jaish al-Islam has no chances to win the battle for Douma even theoretically.
First reports, about the alleged chemical attack in the area appeared on April 7 when the Syrian Army re-newed its military operation against Jaish al-Islam militants controlling Douma. It’s intersting to note that according to initial reprots by Jaish al-Islam-linked media only 15 people had been affected by the attack. However, by April 8, the story had reached the MSM and the death toll had grown to “at least 70”.
The notorious al-Qaeda-linked propaganda organization White Helmets as always played a key role in sppreading the story.
The White Helmets closely cooperated with the Syrian al-Qaeda branch – Jaish al-Islam, and continued to cooperate with the group after it was re-branded to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and then Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
However, even the MSM and Western government were forced to admit [at least now] that the White Helmets’ story can hardly been verified.
The US State Department has reacted to the story by saying that if reports are confirmed, the US demands an “immediate response by the international community”.
“The United States continues to use all efforts available to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable,” the State Department said adding that Russia “ultimately bears responsibility for these brutal attacks.”
The Syrian government has denied all the allegations that it has used chemical weapons in Douma.
“The chemical fabrications, which did not serve the terrorists and their sponsors in Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta, will not serve them today either, as the Syrian state is determined to end terrorism in every square inch of Syrian territory,” the government said in a statement.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also rejected the reports adding that Western states and NGOs like the White Helmets have supported such claims in order to undermine the anti-terrorist operation in the area.
“We strongly deny these claims and announce our readiness to send Russian experts in radiation, chemical and biological defense to Douma after its liberation from terrorists to gather evidence, which would prove that the allegations on the chemical weapons use were staged,” said Maj. Gen. Yuri Yevtushenko, commander of the Russian Center for Syria reconciliation.
The major general added that these claims are aimed at undermining the deal on evacuation of Jaish al-Islam militants in Douma. [The deal was reached with the group, then, rejected by the group and then once again reached after the Syrian Army had resumed a military operation in Douma.]