Two years ago the Syrian government was accused of a chemical attack in the Damascus suburb Douma. It has become clear now there never was such an attack. But still, people were found dead. Who were they? And how did they die?
On April 14th 2018, the US, France, and Great Britain launched missile strikes on Syria, in retribution for an alleged poison gas attack on the terrorist stronghold Douma for which they held the Syrian government responsible. Just before the attack, the Russian ambassador in Lebanon and the chief of Russia’s general staff warned Russia would respond to strikes on Syria if the lives of Russian servicemen were threatened, targeting any missiles and launchers involved. As Russian envoy to Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Alexander Shulgin, later put it: “There was a smell of gunpowder in the air”.
What could have led to World War III eventually ended with a hiss. No Russian targets were hit and for Syria, the damage from the attacks was limited, partly because Syria’s Soviet-era air defence systems intercepted many incoming missiles.
Rumours about a chemical attack had started with videos and photos disseminated on social media by Syrian Civil Defence, better known as The White Helmets, among others, of children being treated in a hospital with respiratory problems; of dead bodies in an apartment building; and of chlorine cylinders that looked as if they had been dropped from the sky, one laying on a roof terrace and…