April 20, 2017
Chlorine, Not Sarin, Was Used In The Khan Sheikhun Incident
Those who blame the Syrian government for the allegedly chemical incident in Khan Sheikhun on April 4 are now playing up the analysis of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). But the results of the OPCW tests are inconsistent with all observed and reported technical and medical facts of the incident.
Yesterday the OPCW Director General Ambassador Üzümcü, a Turkish career diplomat and former NATO ambassador, released the first analytic results of the OPCW investigation into the Khan Sheikhun incident:
The bio-medical samples collected from three victims during their autopsy were analysed at two OPCW designated laboratories. The results of the analysis indicate that the victims were exposed to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance. Bio-medical samples from seven individuals undergoing treatment at hospitals were also analysed in two other OPCW designated laboratories. Similarly, the results of these analyses indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance.
Director-General Üzümcü stated clearly: “The results of these analyses from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin-like substance.
“Sarin or Sarin-like substance” is noted three times a row. Sarin is also mentioned in the headline. Someone is pushing that meme – hard.
But the OPCW did not conclude that a chemical attack occurred in Khan Sheikhun. It suggested nothing about the incident itself. It only talked about bio-medical samples of several persons – nothing more, nothing less. It also did not give any hint of how much exposure the persons in question received. Was it a minimal traceable amount that had no effect or did they die from it? The OPCW does not say.
A “Sarin like substances” could be a different chemical weapon than sarin – soman is a possible candidate. It would be more consistent with the “smell” several witnesses described after the incident. Many general insecticides belong to the same class of chemicals as sarin and soman. They are organophosphorus compounds. (Sarin was originally developed as an insecticide). All of such compounds could be a source of the exposure found by the OPCW. These chemicals degrade within hours or days. A forensic analysis will not find the original substance but only decomposition products of some organophosporus compound. That is the reason why the OPCW result is not fixed on sarin but also mentions “sarin like substances”.
Another question is where those samples come from. Who “collected” them? And what is the chain of evidence that connects the samples to the incident? The OPCW has not send an investigation team to Khan Sheikhun. No samples were taken in Khan Sheikhun by its own inspectors. While Russia and Syria have asked for OPCW inspections on the ground, Tahrir al-Sham, the renamed al-Qaeda in Syria which controls the Khan Sheikhun area, has not asked for inspectors. Without its agreement any investigation mission is simply too dangerous. None of the OPCW inspectors is interested in literally losing his head to those terrorists.
Al-Qaeda propaganda organizations in Khan Sheikhun were the first to claim that sarin was used on the ground. “Western” media and governments later repeated those claims before any further investigations could have been done. The very first claim I found was made by the former British doctor Shajul Islam who works for the terrorists. This video of him of “doctors “and “patients” in an emergence room in Kgan Sheikhun was pure theater, taken over a longer time period. The main presenter, Shajul Islam, is a well-known criminal Takfiri with links to the British secret service. He talks of sarin even though the “patients” around him show no signs of sarin effects and the emergency personal in the video is unprotected against potent chemical agents.
A White House assessment later claimed that it had evidence that sarin was used. It used the claim to justify the bombing of the Syrian military airport Al Syairat. But the White House assessment contains no evidence. It includes a number of factually false statements. It claims, for example:
]T]he World Health Organization stated on April 5 that its analysis of victims of the attack in Syria showed the had been exposed to nerve agents
The WHO report from April 5 stated no such thing. It only noted:
[S]erious reports of the use of highly toxic chemicals in an attack in Khan Shaykhun
It WHO made no analysis of its own. It only mentions “reports”.
Immediately after the incident, bodies of dead and wounded were brought to Turkey where they were taken into hospital. Al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda aligned personal must have transported them. It is a three hour car ride from Khan Sheikhun to the Turkish border.
The incident happened on April 4. First reports by the Turkish government news agency Anadolu mentioned only chlorine:
At least 100 people were killed Tuesday when Assad regime warplanes carried out a chlorine gas attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, according to Syrian opposition Health Minister Firas Jundi.
A local civil defense official earlier told Anadolu Agency a regime aircraft carried out a chlorine gas attack on the town early Tuesday.
The first OPCW statement on April 4 referred to chlorine, not sarin or similar: