Evidence Calls Western Narrative About Syrian Chemical Attack Into Question
I. Evidence From Khan Sheikhoun Does Not Support Assertions Of Airborne Chemical Weapons Use
Evidence which has emerged in the aftermath of the attack at Khan Sheikhoun indicates that not only was the nature of the attack misreported by the media, but that certain individuals on the ground in Syria may have had foreknowledge of the attack up to several days before it happened. On April 3rd, 2017, an anti-Assad journalist tweeted that the next day he would be launching a media campaign to cover airstrikes on the Hama countryside, including the use of chemical weapons. It is not clear how the reporter was able to know that chemical weapons would be used an entire day before the attacks occurred.
Observers further noted that on April 1st, 2017, a doctor on the ground in Khan Sheikhoun, Dr. Shajul Islam, had received several shipments of gas masks in the days running up to the chemical incident. The revelations on Twitter fueled speculation that opposition figures were aware of the chemical attack days before it actually happened, contesting the narrative that the Syrian government was responsible. Daily Mail has reported that Dr. Shajul Islam was at one point sought by the British government in connection with the abduction of two journalists in Syria, and security services have stated that Islam and his brother may have had ties to ISIS executioner "Jihadi John."
Additionally, footage from the scene of the incident taken by the Syrian White Helmets appears to show that their operatives were not assisting victims in a manner that was consistent with established protocol on how to handle sarin saturated bodies. Images appear to show that Syrian White Helmet operatives were handling purported sarin victims with their bare hands, rather than with gloves, which is necessary to prevent the rescuer being injured by the chemical themselves. They also appear to be using simple dust masks, which are not suitable protection in the event of a sarin attack.
Disobedient Media has reported in January that the Syrian White Helmets are heavily supported by the United State government via USAID, are implicated in war crimes committed in Aleppo and other parts of Syria during the civil war and appear to have a large number of members who are involved with local Syrian militia groups and jihadist organizations. The White Helmets have also been caught staging rescue footage for propaganda purposes in the past.