Bellingcat

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Evidence Chlorine Gas Was Used In A Second, Failed, Chemical Attack On Kafr Zita

This is an update of an earlier post.

On April 11th, reports supported by video from the town of Kafr Zita, Hama, claimed to show the aftermath of a chemical attack on the town.  Reports claimed helicopters had dropped a "barrel bomb" containing a toxic gas on the town, with the below video claiming to show the attack as it happened


While there's been a number of small alleged chemical attacks reported in the months since the August 21st Sarin attack, this attack was unusual for a number of reasons.  First, earlier attacks have mostly (if not entirely) been on front-line positions with adult males being the victims, while in the Kafr Zita attack it appears children made up a significant number of victims.  Second, it's a rare occasion both the government and opposition claim an attack took place, with the government claiming Jabhat al-Nusra launched the attack.  As reports claim a helicopter dropped the bomb, it seems highly unlikely Jabhat al-Nusra would have been operating a helicopter, unless they have a previously unheard of air-force the Syrian air defence system failed to detect.

Syrian State TV felt confident enough to specify the type of agent used, "there is information that the terrorist Nusra Front released toxic chlorine... leading to the death of two people and causing more than 100 people to suffer from suffocation".

Now, videos and photographs from Kafr Zita provides evidence of a second, failed chemical attack, on the night of April 12th, with the following video showing a container supposedly used in the attack


Photographs show the markings on the container clearly




The markings, CL2, indicate the container has Chlorine gas inside it, with the name of the Chinese company Norinco also visible.  "Bar" is a reference to pressure, so it seems extremely likely this was a cylinder containing Chlorine gas.

Reports from the Kafr Zita media centre claims the cylinder was inside a DIY barrel bomb which failed to explode, shown in the below video.  This seems an incredibly badly designed way of deploying chlorine, but may be the only option available after the OPCW's work in Syria, and like the chlorine bombs used in Iraq appear to be better at spreading terror than chlorine.



In the videos and photographs this is specifically described as being dropped from a helicopter. Again, there's no evidence of Jabhat al-Nusra have a helicopter, and considering Kafr Zita has been the focus of Syrian military activity for the past weeks (including the first deployment of BM-30 launched cluster munitions) it seems unlikely the Syrian military would have missed a mystery helicopter flying overhead.  One also has to ask how Syrian State TV could state Chlorine was used without access to the site, a pro-opposition area.  One also has to wonder how much State TV's claims Jabhat al-Nusra was responsible is influenced by Seymour Hersh's recent claims Jabhat al-Nusra were responsible for the August 21st Sarin attack.

Thanks to @markito0171 and @7oriaWBas for highlighting the videos and photographs.

Update The Violations Documentation Center has now produced a detailed report on the attacks, which can be read here.

26 comments:

  1. Here we go another again the blame game, lets break this down shall we, a couple of weeks ago regime warned that rebels would try another false flag CW attack. Under the OPCW agreement Syria's production facilities were destroyed and all its chemical arsenal put under OPCW control; for removal from country FACT.
    Those of us who have been following this will be aware that rebels took over an area in Aleppo early last year which included a factory for making "chlorine" so not beyond AL nursa or another crudely construct some sort of gas weapon.
    As the latest Army offensive shows,the SAA have been making significant gains across Syria recently without resorting to any type of CW.

    So question is ,is this another attempt by rebels who are getting desperate things aren't going there way on the ground.? Seems OPCW and West are saying much about this claim, and I put that down to Syria has already declared its arsenal and its being removed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chlorine is an industrial chemical, so it's not exactly unique to Syria's chemical weapon programme. Maybe you can explain how Jabhat al-Nusra dropped the barrel from a helicopter?

      Delete
    2. There's no evidence the first video and the other photos/videos are even connected in time and space. You are not even trying to appear objective.

      Delete
    3. Which is why I specifically describe the first video as being from April 11th, and the other videos from a separate attack on April 12th?

      Delete
    4. Gimli, only %80 of the CWs declared have been removed, so your point is moot. We have videos of Assad air-force dropping a barrel-bomb, a huge toxic gas cloud hovering, and then dozens injured or killed by apparent chemical poisoning, and you respond with silly excuses and flat-out misrepresentations.... I wonder where your bias lies.

      Same excuses for mass-murder and use of CWs by the Assad regime; "the SAA is making gains, so they don't need to..." This is a non-sequitur. The SAA is losing ground in other places, so according to your logic, they've got every reason to use CWs, right Gimli?

      Delete
    5. Still, to be fair and accurate, we have no proof of the helicopter dropping that specific barrel bomb...

      Delete
  2. Is it a fact that the helicopter dropped it? A video with explosion is no proof

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah completely agree. In fact let's run the "drop" video frame by frame and see if there's an actual mass being dropped.
      Countless videos showing the barrel bomb being dropped from start to finish and yet this one only shows the blast.
      If i'm to believe this i need the video UNCUT

      Delete
    2. This Id like to see Elliot answer this.
      Elliot you base everything on:
      "Reports from the !!Kafr Zita media centre claims!! the cylinder was inside a DIY barrel bomb..."

      Delete
  3. Supermo

    Indeed we only have activists claim it was dropped by helicopter no video ,no other source other than activists oh and my favourite propaganda source SOHR..writer of this blog defending the rebels..

    ReplyDelete
  4. "One also has to wonder how much State TV's claims Jabhat al-Nusra was responsible is influenced by Seymour Hersh's recent claims Jabhat al-Nusra were responsible for the August 21st Sarin attack."


    Nothing to do with this latest claim..

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Chlorine is an industrial chemical, so it's not exactly unique to Syria's chemical weapon programme."

    Your missing the point I've made in my earlier reply.Syria's CW are under OPCW control not the regimes, and as Ive said already Army hasn't had to use any source of CW recently in its gains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've missed my point, there's no suggestion this is a weaponised form of chlorine, they could have just got it from an industrial site and stuck it inside a barrel bomb.

      Delete
    2. So could have the rebels you see my point , you seem to forget rebels have control of chlorine facility near aleppo.

      Delete
    3. The barrels were dropped from a helicopter.Neither Al-Nussra or any rebel group got a chance to fly anything.
      Let Moses do what he does best!

      Delete
  6. correction: 100% of *declared* CW are under control (a "fact" i doubt anyway). there will be enough undeclared material left to stop rebel offensives at any point

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I don't know answer to that, pure speculation.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A couple things about the video.

    1. The video seems to show two separate detonation events.

    a. If you stop frame the video at about 3/4 seconds (must play with it to get the right frame) you will see two distinct flashes separated by a few milliseconds.

    b. If you continue with the remainder of the video you will also see two distinct/separate rising plumes.

    c. The color of the plume clouds indicate that they where both caused by the high order detonation of high explosives. Now chlorine may have also been present but most of it would have likely been consumed by the detonation events.

    2. There are a couple of ways that this duel detonation event could be accomplished/orchestrated but I will let the experts figure that out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Norinco does manufacture chlorine gas cylinders for the purposes of water treatment and water purification. Norinco does have an arm which manufactures military weapons, but I would not know if they manufacture chemical weapons although it is possible.

    There are many different possibilities. The Syrian Army could have used an empty Chlorine cylinder accidentally to deliver an explosive load. They could have used a full chlorine cylinder to deliver that load. The use of the chlorine cylinder could have been purposefully planned by the highest officer ranks or something that the enlisted through together from some extra water purification cylinders.

    The explosion in the video has no flame just smoke. Obviously there wasnt a lot of explosive used. Towards the middle of the video you do start to see what seems like a greenish gas and that greenish gas seems to linger. The actual smoke from the explosion rises, but the chlorine gas is heavier then the air and so that seems to linger in a cloud on the ground.

    I am wondering why they decided to use this crewd method of chemical warfare. It seemed like the air-fuel bombs were offering a more devastating effect. Also they face attention from the international authorities for using such weapons. I am not sure of the logic involved, but this was not a good move on their part. The bomb produced some nauseating effects with injuries and some deaths, but nothing what the air-fuel bombs have caused in ways of death or destruction.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Here is what the Chlorine gas cylinders from Norinco look like.

    http://www.hydramet.com.au/cmn/custom/17/125/23391/Port%20Lincoln_w1200.JPG

    Basically, these are cylinders used for water purification. Note the yellow paint on the outside of the cylinder. Basically, they rigged a yellow chlorine gas cylinder, intended for a water purification plant, with explosives and used that as a barrel bomb.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sorry for so many comments, but this blogging platform does not allow for editing.

    The terminal velocity of an object tossed from a helicopter is about 125 mph. I am not a physics guy and I obtained that number by googling it. Correct me if I am wrong. In other videos we always see the mass falling and the rebels always show the helicopter tracking it through the sky. In this video, we see no helicopter and no falling mass. The rebel filming the video (nice that he is using 1080p for a change instead of that old scratchy cell phone) seems to know something is about to happen. Why doesnt the rebel pan up towards the helicopter or airplane like they have done in many other videos?

    I am more likely to believe this was a ground explosion of a planted bomb rather then a barrel bomb from a helicopter. Another conclusion is the rebels planted a chlorine gas cylinder with explosives attached and detonated it.

    One thing to note about the Kafir Zita attack was that was a military target. Those children were not innocent children which you might see going to an elementary school in the United States. Looking at the ISIL and Nusra videos, they train their children as soldiers sometimes attaching suicide bombs to them. Why were so many children gathered in one place? In my neighborhood here, they do not just mass children in one place to sleep all night long. These were platoons of child soldiers and I believe the Syrians were acting on that intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In one part you're denying the regime was behind the attack, but in the other you're actually confirming that they possibly attacked an ISIS children training camp based on ground intelligence.
      Doesn't make sense bro!

      Delete
    2. Let me clarify. There are many different possibilities and scenarios. There is no way to be absolutely certain about what is taking place in Syria. The one thing we do know is that neither side is "good" or the "right side". In fact, I think a Syria ruled by Al-Nusra or ISIL is probably much worse then one ruled by Assad.

      Everyone is bad here, nobody is good...

      Delete
  12. Take a look at this picture. You see what is ISIL members aboard a truck, but this is not just any truck. Its a Toyota Tacoma which is made in Fremont California and only sold in the United States. Overseas they have the Hilux truck.

    http://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2014/04/16/isil-running-amok-in-mideast

    There are stories on the internet of US special forces using Tacomas:

    http://www.brian894x4.com/MilitaryTacoma.html

    So these were either stolen from the Iraqis or the United States gave them to ISIL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bro, i LOVE conspiracy theories as much as the next man... And i'm certain rebels to be engaged in black propaganda. But USA supplying ISIS with trucks?! That's just preposterous.

      Delete