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WEAPONS inspectors have confirmed the authenticity of a leaked document by a group of dissenting scientists which casts doubt on claims that Syria’s government used chemical weapons on it own people in April 2018.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been fielding calls from the press about a report contradicting the official line on the attack in Douma, which led to deadly air strikes by British, French and US forces.
Questions have been raised about the independence of the OPCW, which is accused of deliberately “covering up” evidence under political pressure.
In March this year, an OPCW report claimed that the organisation had physical evidence consistent with the view that two gas cylinders had passed through the concrete roof of a building in which they were found in Douma.
Opponents of President Bashar al-Assad insisted that the chemical weapons had been dropped from a Syrian army helicopter.
However, the dissenting report, an engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders signed off by Ian Henderson, states: “In summary, observations at the scene of the two locations, together with subsequent analysis, suggest that there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at those two locations rather than being dropped.”
This view, expressed by expert engineers who had conducted rigorous scientific research, was inexplicably omitted from the OPCW report.
Mail on Sunday journalist Peter Hitchens wrote to the OPCW about the dissenting document, enquiring about its validity and asking why it had been excluded from the official report.
In response, the organisation said it was investigating the unauthorised leak of the document, thereby tacitly confirming that it is genuine.
Journalist Jonathan Cook said: “The final report actively concealed evidence that the Douma chemical attack was staged by jihadists and the White Helmets.
“The OPCW’s other Syria reports must now be treated as worthless too.”
Soon after the attacks, rumours circulated that they had been staged by pseudo-humanitarian group the White Helmets, which testimony on the ground appears to corroborate.
Russian and Syria insist that the attacks were staged to pave the way for military intervention to remove Mr Assad.
Piers Robinson, from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, said the revelations raised questions about whether political pressure had been applied to the OPCW.
“Because the US, France and UK bombed Syria in response to the alleged Douma attack, they have a powerful political interest in the OPCW issuing a report that justifies their attack on Syria,” he pointed out.
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