Apr 18,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
The western missile attacks on alleged Syrian chemical sites pre-empted the visit to the town of Douma, east of Damascus, by experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who were charged with discovering whether or not the Syrian air force had used such weapons in strikes on April 7. The US, UK and France fired 105 mainly cruise missiles at three targets in response to claims of chemical agents by activists, medics and rescue workers embedded with Jaish Al Islam. The group had refused to follow the examples of three other takfiri groups, which had evacuated Ghouta and travelled to the Turkish-occupied zone in northern Syria.
In the weeks ahead of the alleged chemical incident, Russia repeatedly warned that an attack could be expected, but Moscow’s concerns were dismissed. Russian officers who visited the declared site of the chemical attack said they found no trace of chlorine or nerve agents. They were ignored as an interested party, while medics and activists tied to Jaish Al Islam in Douma were believed. No independent evidence was provided to substantiate or dismiss the
Damascus and its allies, Moscow and Tehran, argued the opposition claim of a gas attack was a “fabrication” intended to condemn all three, put them in a corner and provoke retaliation, risking a military response by Russia and Iran. Fortunately, the US, UK and France carried out tactical strikes that did not provoke retaliation.
Journalists from Western media, who visited Douma on Monday, were told by doctors and medical students, who were in the town at the time of the alleged gas attack, that the reason for death and distress was oxygen starvation during heavy bombing. This would be “hypoxia” caused by air being sucked out of crowded basements and tunnels, where people had taken refuge. According to one report, the story of chemical agents was created when a White Helmet rescue worker shouted, “Gas!” This resulted in a panic and may have been the origin of the chemical weapon charge. An earlier alleged gas attack on Douma was quickly refuted when it was found that hypoxia was the case of breathing difficulties and dizziness.