01:52 GMT21 April 2021
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    A "proper, international, transparent investigation" is needed in order to get to the bottom of what's actually been happening in war-torn Syria since the armed conflict first broke out in 2011, Piers Robinson, chairman of the Politics, Society and Political Journalism Department at the University of Sheffield, told Sputnik.

    Riam Dalati, a producer for BBC Syria, recently tweeted that after six months of conducting an investigation, he's concluded that the footage of people being treated at a hospital following an alleged chemical attack in Douma was staged.

    The recordings mentioned by Dalati were initially published by the White Helmets group in early April 2018 and showed both adults and children receiving treatment after the alleged chemical attack.

    ​However, doubts regarding the incident have been bubbling for quite some time, Robinson told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Thursday.

    "Since the events of Douma in April 2018, there have been a series of questions raised by myself and others, many others in fact, regarding what actually happened in Douma," Robinson told host Brian Becker.

    "And the persisting question really is whether or not this was a false flag event, which was carried out by opposition groups… in order to pull in a Western intervention, or whether it was an attack carried out by the Syrian government, as is alleged by Britain, France and America."

    American reporter Pearson Sharp previously revealed that during his travels to the Rif Dimashq governorate, none of the locals were able to recall such an attack in nearby Douma.

    "We just randomly went up to different people — nobody came up to us — and interviewed probably 30 to 40 people. Consistently, not one person in the town said they heard anything about an attack," Pearson revealed in a report at the time.

    Reflecting on reports on Syria, Robinson told Becker that journalism by James Harkin, Dalati and Sharp demonstrates the need for an investigation to be conducted.

    "Obviously, Riam Dalati is apparently saying that an attack occurred, although what he means by that is unclear at this point in time — we need to hear more from him on that — but… if everyone concedes that there's been staging going on of anything in relation to Douma, then it starts to beg more and more questions about how far that staging and manipulation goes," he said.

    "We really need to consider very boldly and frankly the possibility of false flags having been occurred in Syria, and we need a proper investigation… a proper, international, transparent investigation into what has been going on in Syria."

    Following his tweets, Dalati made his account private, and the BBC has yet to release a statement on his remarks. Russia recently responded to the revelations by noting that it proves the "theatre of absurd" in Western media's coverage of the events in Syria.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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