What Really Happened in Douma?

The following video features a recent Russian military briefing about the situation in Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, and particularly in Douma, where the alleged chemical attack took place a few weeks ago.

Before you dismiss this clip as nothing but Russian propaganda — which it most assuredly is, especially the PR sections at the beginning and end — watch the middle section, which talks about what happened at the hospital in Douma. As Paul Weston remarked a few days ago, the footage of the puir wee bairns in the hospital has all the signs of being a typical Pallywood disinformation production.

Many thanks to Six45 for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:16   Good day, ladies and gentlemen. In a Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta
00:23   the Russian Center for Reconciliation, together with the Syrian government,
00:28   is wrapping up a large humanitarian operation.
00:31   During this operation 170,152 people were evacuated.
00:38   This number includes 63,117 insurgents along with their family members.
00:43   At the present time, all the population centers of Eastern Ghouta
00:48   are under the control of the Syrian Arab Republic government forces.
00:53   To help observe the situation and maintain order,
00:57   Russian military police units are also present in those territories.
01:02   As the situation stabilizes in this Damascus suburb,
01:06   the local population is returning to their homes.
01:09   As of today that number is more than 63,000 people.
01:15   In other words, more than half of the inhabitants came back.
01:22   The Syrian government is now working on rebuilding destroyed civilian infrastructure,
01:28   such as electrical and water utilities.
01:31   Building construction is ongoing. The population is now receiving regular medical help.
01:38   Thus, Eastern Ghouta is not a “black hole” any longer,
01:44   unreachable to anyone, but a Damascus suburb returning to its normal peaceful life.
01:52   The situation is now under the control of a legitimate government,
01:55   which is now focusing on restoring retail and regulation of food prices,
02:03   providing services to locals. Schools are now open as well.
02:08   Conditions now exist to quickly return life to normal.
02:11   Still, the local population is still in dire need of humanitarian help,
02:16   after so many years of lawless living under insurgents.
02:21   Russia became the first country to render such help.
02:25   The Russian Center for Reconciliation has supplied: 520 tons of food supplies,
02:30   more than 50,000 litres of bottled water,
02:34   9,000 bedding units,
02:37   as well as the necessary technical equipment for removing rubble.
02:42   Today, a vehicle convoy bringing construction equipment has been sent to city of Douma.
02:47   It will bring construction trucks, building supplies, steel water pipes,
02:55   as well as the equipment required for restoring the electric grid.
02:59   During the next week, another five such humanitarian auto-convoys will be sent to Douma.
03:07   As soon as the convoys arrive in Eastern Ghouta,
03:12   this construction equipment will be transferred to the UN representatives in Syria
03:19   for subsequent delivery to locals.
03:22   This is Russia’s investment in humanitarian assistance to Syrians on behalf of the UN.
03:27   Dear colleagues, I would like to emphasize that this is
03:30   real help from Russia to real citizens of Syria,
03:33   and not some empty promises, such as those coming from some Western countries.
03:37   We appeal to the world to join Russia in providing the necessary humanitarian aid to Syria.
03:44   As you may know, those positive changes towards
03:48   a peaceful Syria are not necessarily welcomed by all.
03:52   The legitimate Syrian government is being falsely blamed by the US and some Western countries
04:00   of allegedly using chemical weapons against the civilians of Eastern Ghouta.
04:05   After almost one week has passed, the US and some European countries
04:10   have still failed to provide any evidence
04:14   of the Syrian government forces’ alleged use of chemical weapons in Douma on April 7.
04:20   The Russian Ministry of Defense has multiple evidence that on April 7
04:27   there was a planned provocation in Douma, with the aim of
04:31   deliberately misleading the global community.
04:36   The real aim of this is clear today: to provoke the US
04:39   into conducting missile strikes against Syria.
04:42   I would like to remind you that the main evidence for assigning the blame
04:46   in the West is a video recorded at the hospital in Douma,
04:49   to which, it is claimed, those locals injured in the chemical attack were brought.
04:53   However, we were able to locate those who took part in
04:57   the actual filming and ask them some questions.
05:00   Today we would like to show the interview with those people.
05:05   Locals from Douma have told us in detail how the footage was taken,
05:10   which episodes they participated in, and what they were doing.
05:15   Moreover, they showed us the footage of their participation in the film.
05:21   Both participants have a medical background,
05:25   and work at an Emergency Center in Douma’s Hospital.
05:30   According to those two Syrians, none of those who were brought to the hospital
05:34   showed any signs of poisoning by chemical agents.
05:37   While they were administering first aid to those locals, unknown people
05:42   rushed into the hospital; some of them had video cameras.
05:49   These people began to spread panic and douse everyone with water from hoses, while shouting
05:54   that whoever was present in the facility had been affected/poisoned by chemical substances.
05:59   The rest of the patients and their relatives started pouring water over each other in panic.
06:05   After everything was filmed, the unknown persons disappeared from scene.
06:11   As you can see, the two Syrians are pointing at themselves in the video footage.
06:15   I would like to bring to your attention that these people are not hiding their names.
06:20   Those are not some anonymous posts on social networks,
06:24   or claims made by anonymous activists.
06:27   I emphasize again: here we have people who became the actual participants in the pseudo-footage.
06:35   This actual video that you see will be made available to you
06:38   after this briefing, ladies and gentlemen.
06:41   In a civilized world, facts such as these are acceptable evidence;
06:44   not some baseless and irresponsible accusations,
06:47   which are spread in order to label someone and blackmail governments of other countries.
06:53   I would like to remind you that earlier Russia warned at all levels
06:59   that militants were about to stage a provocation:
07:04   an alleged chemical weapons attack against locals in Eastern Ghouta.
07:09   Today, the Russian military agency has other forms of proof as well,
07:13   which confirm direct participation by the British
07:17   in organizing this provocation in Eastern Ghouta.
07:22   We know with certainty that from April 3 to April 6
07:26   a lot of pressure was put on the representatives of the so-called “White Helmets”,
07:29   specifically from London,
07:33   to quickly go ahead with the planned provocation.
07:38   White Helmets were instructed that between April 3 and 6
07:43   the militants from Jaysh al-Islam would carry out a series of
07:48   large artillery barrages of the city of Damascus.
07:51   This would cause a reaction from the Syrian military, which the White Helmets
07:54   should use to conduct the provocation with the alleged chemical weapons.
08:01   As you know, today a group of experts from the Organization
08:04   for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is arriving in Syria.
08:07   The Russian Center for Reconciliation is ready to ensure their safety
08:10   and the necessary conditions for work in Eastern Ghouta.
08:14   We hope that this mission will not be conducted under some agenda,
08:20   and not rely on posts by anonymous pseudo-witnesses from social networks,
08:24   but will conduct an objective and impartial investigation to establish the truth.
08:29   We are sure that this responsible organization will be able to lower the tensions in the region,
08:35   and thus preserve the fragile peace that we have now in Syria.
08:40   And another point. While peaceful life is making come back to Eastern Ghouta,
08:46   we would like to turn your attention to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the city of Raqqa,
08:51   which was destroyed five months ago by the US
08:54   and countries of the so-called international coalition.
08:57   The World Health Organization recently prepared a report,
09:02   which details that the lives of the citizens of Raqqa are under daily threat
09:09   due to a huge amount of left-over ammunition
09:12   and IEDs. According to WHO, from October 1, 2017
09:20   to February 28 2018,
09:23   more than 660 Syrians were injured in varying degrees,
09:28   and more than 130 were killed.
09:31   As many as six locals are injured due to explosions every day,
09:35   with children and teenagers being the most likely victims.
09:40   There are currently only two functioning hospitals in Raqqa, which are now overwhelmed
09:46   and unable to handle the workload. WHO experts emphasize
09:50   that locals in Raqqa lack humanitarian aid,
09:54   due to the absence of aid organizations in the region,
09:58   and the inability of the local government to improve the situation.
10:03   The epidemiological situation is especially bad in Raqqa.
10:07   There are still thousands of corpses under the city’s rubble.
10:11   70% of the city was obliterated by US Air Force.
10:18   Those are the estimates of international organizations.
10:22   Due to this, I would like to remind you that in all the territories
10:26   liberated by the Syrian Army,
10:30   schools, hospitals and social organizations are being rebuilt.
10:35   Markets are opening up, and there is local construction. Thank you.
 

8 thoughts on “What Really Happened in Douma?

  1. All I have seen so far points to a false flag, same goes for the Skripal event.

    There are reputable western sources saying the same.

    The footage of the three sites attacked by the west do not represent over thirty cruise missile strikes each. Sorry, but that is just unbelievable… as well as that the involved parties would waste that quantity of munition on empty buildings for demonstrative purposes.

    We are in a very peculiar circumstance, I don’t have a full explanation.

    The closest I find credible is that other sites were targeted and the offensive repelled there, as per Russian narrative.

    I won’t sit and argue this out here, it is a best guess after reading everywhere for 48 hrs, please understand that we are way behind the moves that are being played, that the Russian show above is not aimed only at convincing us, but own audience.

    I still do not see an exit strategy for Syria, if anything the opposite as the conflict becomes redrawn.

    Not good, the hope is that there is a behind the scenes agreement, but I don’t count on it.

    • Updating the info :

      There are clear exaggerations or pretense by on the ground proponents of there having been CW usage, those are demonstrated in the above critique and other sources.

      The evidence of a rebel chemical stock in the zone is not proven either.

      The reports by all, inc. journalists, seem to exclude the use of more powerful agents, such as Sarin, but do not exclude the use of chlorine gas.

      So the narrative gets narrowed down to that possibility, and the answer is not obvious – invented, false flag, authentic.

      I am very doubtful on authenticity, not only because it would be a stupid move by the Assad regime, but also because the physical evidence is not fully convincing.

      Certainly not convincing enough to justify unilateral military intervention.

      Here is an attempted critique of the alleged evidence ( content warning), read through previous posts.

      http://libyancivilwar.blogspot.in/

      A pro West counterview is proposed by Bellingcat amongst others if you are looking for one.

      On the Skripal case the OPCW claim that BZ traces found at Spiez were a control measure need a full explanation, and the whole format needs transparency of method and further guarantee of independent oversight of its implementation to be at all credible.

  2. Quite possible some of those cruise missiles hit other undisclosed targets, targets that neither Syria or Russia want to talk about.

  3. There are two perspectives.

    One perspective focuses on whether a chemical attack was actually carried out, and if so, by whom?

    Another perspective is even under the worst case scenario, that that Syrian government used chlorine gas that affected mainly civilians in a disputed area that was offering significant resistance to the Syrian army. Even under this scenario, I don’t believe the US had any business in the area. I realize the entire rebel effort is funded, trained, and supplied by US intelligence, and I absolutely don’t think we have any business doing that.

    Israel may have quite valid reasons for wanting the Syrian government toppled. A coherent Syria under the control of Assad would present a definite danger to Israel in case of a conflict with Iran. But that is Israel’s affair. Israel should be left to get the best deal they can without the military intervention of the US. It is emphatically not the business of the US to intervene in Syria at the behest of Israel, just like it is not the business of the US to carry out policies in Iran to benefit Israel.

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