You can find the CNN story here and the BBC story here BBC Radio 4 had our old friend Hamish De Bretton Gordon on the topic and the video that they are all talking about is here. It is graphic (a lot of the victims shown are children), but there is little evidence of the 570+ fatalities that it claims and equally it is difficult to define agent by the signs and symptoms. Clearly respiratory distress, some nerve spasms and a half hearted washdown (involving water and bare hands?!), but it could equally be a riot control agent as a CWA. There is an extended shot of a child’s face, but it the light is too poor to see the pupils, at least this time there is none of the suspicious white froth that categorised early videos.

Still very early, the video is only 34 minutes old, but the timing is suspect to say the least. UN Inspectors enter the country with the acquiescence of Assad and to welcome them he stages a surface to surface CWA missile barrage and MiG dropped CWA munition extravaganza? The lack of conventional munition marks (though pressure wave or asphyxiation can’t be ruled out) does suggest that it was a non-conventional munition, or a RCA in a confined space, but who fired it and what it was has yet to be proved. If there are 570 fatalities it would suggest that evidence of what it is will not be hard to find, the culprits, however, are another matter… 

Addendum - The ever excellent Brown Moses has provided more video footage, largely showing the same sorts of shots as above - though the link above does have the largest estimate, the balance seems to be between 100 and 570. I was reminded about an article by Noah Schachtman and Colum Lynch in Foreign Policy magazine worth reading where he quotes an US intelligence source stating: “How massive would the chemical strike have to be in order to prompt America and its allies to intervene in Syria in a major way?” We might have seen the answer to this question.

  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Subscribe to CBRNe news

View articles by date