Wikileaks has published the fourth batch of documents from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons pertaining to the probe into the alleged chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma in 2018.
RELEASE: OPCW-Douma Docs 4. Four leaked documents from the OPCW reveal that toxicologists ruled out deaths from chlorine exposure and a senior official ordered the deletion of the dissenting engineering report from OPCW’s internal repository of documents.https://t.co/ndK4sRikNk— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 27, 2019
The whistleblower organisation has shared an e-mail exchange between senior officials from the organisation as well as members of fact-finding mission dealing with the Douma attack.
According to the e-mails, Sebastien Braha, Chief of Cabinet at the OPCW, has demanded that an engineering report, as well as all traces of this document, be removed from the organisation's Documents Registry Archive.
The report in question details the findings of a Douma investigation, which indicates that two cylinders located at the site of the purported attack had likely been planted.
Another document published by Wikileaks is from a OPCW staff member meeting dated 6 June 2018. The publication admits that an expert probe conclusively established that there was no correlation between symptoms manifested by the victims and chlorine exposure.
"The symptoms observed were inconsistent with exposure to chlorine and no other obvious candidate chemical causing the symptoms could be identified,” the extract said.
In addition, the whistleblowing website attached correspondence related to last August's meetings of the OPCW personnel with the toxicologists, as well as emails from last July containing instructions that the eight OPCW inspectors deployed to Douma must be barred from discussions regarding the project.
Alleged Douma Attack
Earlier this year, WikiLeaks published several damning leaked documents about the OPCW probe into the Douma incident, including those suggesting that the final report had been significantly doctored and misrepresented facts obtained during missions on the ground.
When the incident was first reported, the West promptly placed the blame on Damascus. However, the Syrian government denied any involvement, saying that the attack was staged by local militants and non-governmental organisation White Helmets. A week after the incident, without waiting for the results of the international investigation, the United States, the United Kingdom and France hit what they called Damascus’ chemical weapons facilities with over 100 missiles in response to the reported attack.
The OPCW visited the site of the incident to conduct a probe, but not immediately after the alleged attack. In March 2019, it issued a report on its investigation, saying that chlorine was "most likely" the chemical agent used in the incident but stopped short of apportioning blame.