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War of Truths: Multiple Reporters on the Ground in Syria Say No Chemical Attack

Robert Fisk Syria Douma

Last Friday evening, early Saturday morning Syria time, the United States along with the U.K. and France launched airstrikes against Syria. The coordinated strikes were in response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on April 7th. Assad allegedly dropped chemical weapons on his own people in the city of Douma. Douma is in the suburban region of Ghouta that surrounds the capital of Damascus.

Now almost two weeks after the alleged chemical weapons attack, multiple reports from reporters on the ground in Douma claim the chemical attack didn’t happen. One mainstream media source reports the attack did happen. Provided below are all the various reports from reporters on the ground in Syria that present evidence either for or against the existence of the attack. 

CBS “We couldn’t breathe”: Inside Douma, Syria, the site of apparent chemical attack

Seth Doane a reporter for CBS was in Syria when the U.S. strikes commenced last Friday. Just this past Monday he visited Douma and recorded video as he walked through the town of Douma. The evidence the CBS provides for the existence of the chemical attack is based on the testimony of one man they interviewed who claims his brother was a victim of the chemical weapons attack.

 

Robert Fisk/The Independent: The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack

Robert Fisk is a highly respected and acclaimed reporter for The Independent, though he has reported for other media outlets as well over the years. He won the Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year seven times. He speaks Arabic and was one of a very few western journalists to interview Osama bin Laden, which he did three times. Fisk visited Douma and reported on his experience on Tuesday.

Fisk’s account is largely of wonder over the locals’ apparent indifference to the existence of the alleged chemical attack. Fisk reported that most locals seemed genuinely perplexed when he asked them about the gas attacks. Fisk’s biggest revelation comes when he tracks down a doctor, Dr. Assim Rahaibani, working at the same underground clinic where a video of the alleged gas attacks horrified the world.

“There’s even a friendly doctor in a green coat who, when I track him down in the very same clinic, cheerfully tells me that the ‘gas’ videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine” says Fisk.

Fisk goes on, “War stories, however, have a habit of growing darker. For the same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived, on a night of wind and heavy shelling that stirred up a dust storm.”

Dr. Rahaibani tells Fisk, “I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a ‘White Helmet’, shouted ‘Gas!’, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.”

Fisk’s attempt to find the White Helmets proves futile as he is told all of the White Helmets left the region and took the government protected buses to the rebel region of Idlib. 

One America News Network: OAN Investigation Finds No Evidence of Chemical Weapon Attack in Syria

One America News Network (OAN), a conservative news network based out of San Diego, sent reporter Pearson Sharp to Douma to talk with locals and investigate the story of the alleged chemical attack. Sharp’s report came via video which you can watch below.

The gist of Sharp’s report is that he spoke with dozens of locals in Douma and all of the residents said there was no chemical weapons attack and that the attack was staged by rebels. Sharp emphasized that they spoke to locals who lived near the site of the alleged attack and that OAN approached the locals for their testimony as opposed to locals seeking them out. Sharp added that the locals said the chemical weapons attack was staged because the rebels were desperate for a way to get Assad’s army off their back. All of the locals Sharp spoke to said they loved President Assad and were thankful the Syrian Army had freed the area of the rebels.

Sharp also reported that he spoke to a doctor working at the underground clinic where a video of people being hosed off and suffering from the chemical attack was filmed. The doctor said he was there that night and treating people for normal war-related afflictions and that everything was normal until suddenly, as Sharp reports,

“a bunch of strangers burst into the room screaming that there was a chemical attack and they started hosing and they brought in allegedly victims and started hosing them down with water. So the doctors freaked out and started helping and stuff and the strangers who brought in the victims were video taping everything. They said that uh, they brought in cameras and were filming everything and as soon as they washed everybody off and stuff they packed everything up and they left.” Sharp adds, “The doctors said when the people were there they didn’t see any indication there was a chemical attack.”

Sharp goes on to say he spoke with head surgeons and other doctors at that clinic at that there were no deaths that day and they saw no evidence that the people brought in were victims of a chemical attack.

Vanessa Beeley/21st Century Wire: SYRIA: The Egregious Western Media ‘Chemical Weapon’ Fraud in Eastern Ghouta

It should be noted that many western mainstream media outlets have accused Vanessa Beeley and 21st Century Wire of being Russian propaganda, but it also has to be noted that such an accusation is typical of anyone who speaks out against the mainstream narrative. 21st Century Wire describes themselves as “a North American and Europe-based, grass-roots, independent blog offering geopolitical news and media analysis, working with an array of volunteer contributors who write and help to analyze news and provide a diverse perspective and opinions from around the world.”

On April 6th Beeley went to Eastern Ghouta, along with reporters for CNN and other mainstream outlets, accompanied by Syrian government forces. Beeley reported and extensively documented a rebel weapons manufacturing facility. In that facility, she took pictures of rockets, instructions for how to create bombs, bags of chemical compounds and so on. The facility, according to Beeley, appears to be a chemical weapons manufacturing center operated by rebels. Beeley made note of how, despite CNN’s presence at the facility, there was never a mention of the existence of the facility on CNN.  

In an interview with the UK Column, Beeley says she spoke with Syrian officials investigating what happened in Douma. The officials tell her that the children which the White Helmets claim to rescue in their videos were actually kidnapped and buried by the White Helmets for the purpose of videotaping such rescue operations. You can watch her interview below; it’s around the 10:00 minute mark in the video that Beeley starts talking about the kidnapping of the children.

Beeley also calls attention to Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations (U.N.), Dr Bashar Al Jaafari, and testimony he gave in late February of 2018. Dr. Bashar Al Jaafari reported that Turkey “had transported barrels of weapons-grade chlorine into Idlib towns run by Turkish terrorists.  One school has been turned into a warehouse of these chemical weapons.  The terrorists are preparing to use these weapons on a large scale and to accuse the SAR.  The conspiracy is meant to coincide with the Eighty-Seventh Executive Council of the OPCW meeting, beginning on 13 March.”

Watch Dr Jaafari’s testimony at the U.N. here:

 

Who’s telling the truth?

Are we to believe the man who retold the story of his brother, a victim of the alleged Douma chemical weapons attack, to CBS? Or should we believe the reports that Douma was a staged and fake attack made by the rebels as a last-ditch effort to get Assad off the rebels back in Douma? One thing that is very clear is that any supposed evidence coming from the White Helmets needs to be thoroughly examined. There is a very large cache of evidence that suggests the White Helmets work with the terrorists organizations in Syria and act as their propaganda arm.

In war, the truth is often muddled. Most likely some White Helmet workers do rescue civilians, but it is also just as likely that the White Helmets stage attacks to garner sympathy for rebel factions and paint Assad as an evil dictator. Perhaps the man speaking to CBS about his brother really did lose his brother that night, but it’s also just as likely the man is lying or simply doesn’t know the truth of how his brother died. The brother may have died from hypoxia, as the doctor talking to Robert Fisk explained.

One thing that is very clear is that taking military action, against another country, based on photos and videos is reckless, cruel and illegal. Reports are now coming out of Syria that the target the U.S. struck in Damascus was not a chemical weapons facility but a cancer research center. The U.S. claims it was a chemical weapons manufacturing facility.

The Associated Press (A.P.) reported, after the U.S. strikes last Saturday hundreds of civilians gathered in squares across Damascus honking horns and waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. According to the A.P. they shouted, “We are your men, Bashar.” These civilians don’t seem thankful the U.S. bombed their city and saved them from a horrible chemical weapons facility.

Are we just creating more terrorists as we recklessly and carelessly bomb other countries? Why not wait for the results of investigations into the use of chemical weapons? When did a U.S. President get the power to launch military strikes without Congressional approval? And why isn’t our corporate media investigating and reporting the full story?

Are The White Helmets Impartial & Unarmed?

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Lauren von Bernuth

Lauren is one of the co-founders of Citizen Truth. She graduated with a degree in Political Economy from Tulane University. She spent the following years backpacking around the world and starting a green business in the health and wellness industry. She found her way back to politics and discovered a passion for journalism dedicated to finding the truth.

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