Middle EastSyria

OPCW official ordered removal of report disproving Syria chemical attack claims: Wikileaks

Wikileaks has leaked new documents regarding the probe by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into an alleged chemical attack in Syria, showing that a senior OPCW official ordered the removal of a "dissenting" report.

One of the published documents shows Sebastien Braha, chief of cabinet at the OPCW, ordered in an email that “all traces” of a report from Ian Henderson, a then-OPCW inspector in Syria’s Douma, be erased from the body’s registries.

“Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA,” the email read.

Email from the Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, demanding deletion of dissenting engineering assessment: “Please get this document out of DRA [Documents Registry Archive]… And please
remove all traces, if any, of its delivery/storage/whatever in DRA”https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/8yojf8teFC— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

The findings of Henderson claimed that two cylinders, found in the alleged chemical attack site and thought to have probably contained chemicals, were likely manually placed in the area rather than dropped from a plane or helicopter.

Only terrorists controlling the area had land access to the area at the time.

Wikileaks claims the email was leaked from an exchange between senior OPCW officials and the body’s fact finding mission deployed to the Syrian city to investigate claims of an alleged chemical attack in the area April last year.

Another OPCW email exchange released by the whistleblower website on Friday showed that the body had ordered its eight inspectors in Douma – except one, a paramedic – be excluded from discussions on the probe in July 2018.

A third leaked document detailed discussions between the OPCW and four toxicologists with expertise in chemical weapons.

The experts claimed that “no correlation” had been found between symptoms observed among the alleged chemical attack victims and chemicals possibly used in such an attack, according to the leaked document.

Minutes from an OPCW meeting with toxicologists specialized in chemical weapons: “the experts were conclusive in their statements that there was
no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure”.https://t.co/j5Jgjiz8UY pic.twitter.com/vgPaTtsdQN— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019

“The symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified,” the document read.

The revelations are the latest batch of leaks undermining the official report of the OPCW regarding the incident in Douma, which was released March this year.

The OPCW report claimed that a “toxic chemical” had been used during the alleged chemical attack in Douma but stepped short of blaming any party for the incident.

The new documents along with previous leaks, however, show that the OPCW may have intentionally doctored its findings, notably avoiding revelations which may point to terrorist hands being behind the alleged chemical attack.

OPCW probe team rejects watchdog’s report on Syria 'chemical attack’: WikiLeaks

OPCW probe team rejects watchdog’s report on Syria ‘chemical attack’: WikiLeaksThe OPCW probe team on the ‘chemical attack’ on Syria’s Douma protests the watchdog’s final report on the incident, WikiLeaks reveals.

The leaks come as the Syrian government, which surrendered its entire chemical stockpile in 2013 to a mission led by the OPCW and the United Nations, has also strongly rejected the chemical attack allegations as a staged event to frame Damascus.

The US and its allies, however, were at the time quick to blame the Syrian government, launching a coordinated missile strike on the country despite having no proof that Damascus used chemical weapons.

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