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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Idlib CW Massacre 4-4-17: Masterlist

Idlib CW Massacre 4-4-17: Masterlist  
April 12, 2017
last updates Oct. 2, 2017

Among the many, many alleged chemical attacks in Syria that's been blamed on its government, the one reported early on April 4, 2017, with at least 78 and likely over 100 killed, is the probably the second deadliest to date (at around 500+, the Ghouta massacre of 2013 still has a distant lead, and a little-known alleged sarin attack by Russian forces last December is a close #3, or perhaps still #2, at a reported 93 dead.) It's claimed these 100+ locals, all civilians, were exposed to sarin nerve gas fired on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, southern Idlib province. That was early in the morning, around 6:45-7 am, and was said to affect over 500, mostly as they slept. 

In reality, much evidence suggests, local anti-government Islamist groups massacred some of the hostages they've seized, perhaps including the 120 or more reportedly abducted from the villages of Khattab and Majdal just days before this incident, during the time that al-Qaeda-affiliated militants had overrun the otherwise government-held towns in northern Hama province.  

Either way, it was the first alleged CW attack of the 6-year so far to spark direct U.S. military strikes against the sovereign nation of Syria, damaging an airfield and destroying several jets used in their anti-terrorism fight, and killing a reported 9 civilians and wounding others with some of the 59 missiles that went astray. The (hot-headed?) Trump administration has offered some reasons to support their decision to credit rebel claims, but these don't seem adequate to answer the growing questions about that story. It remains disturbingly possible the U.S. government has, more directly than ever before, rewarded the terrorists occupying much of Syria for one of their sectarian massacres of  civilian hostages.

This post only offers a basic overview for now, and organizes links to a few sub-posts where some of the details are explained (for others, see affiliated ACLOS talk page, besides a lot of decent to great work by others not in my network - a few linked sporadically as they come up)

* Special attention to the analysis of Dilbert's devious God, Scott Adams, via and alongside a furious b at Moon of Alabama. plus comments.


* The When and Where - Added May 6, a big piece with video analysis findings, geolocation, solar angle timeline placement, etc. The white cloud and white fog considered, impact points, located homes said to be affected, and the most accurate wind estimate yet, which is strangely opposite of the direction built into the rebel story (as shown here, and explained there).

* Idlib CW False-Flag Covers for Islamist Massacre - the widely read starter post from the 4th, featuring the children killed by some unexplained bladed type of sarin that seems to follow Islamist protocol for how to kill kids vs. adults (head slices for kids, throats for men aged 13 and up). It's a small sampling, but more than we should expect - this is quite a slip! So far, this remains a leading point.

Note: this is the exception to the general rule that most dead seem to be/probably were gassed (how many real vs. fake victims have been seen vs. unseen is still a bit unclear)

** Important sub-post: Two Smoking Gun Head Wounds

* The Sarin Evidence - if this is the sarin people are describing, it sounds like the smelly, impure kind Islamist forces in Syria are known to have used in the past. So far, it seems western tests are confirming that, and they rely on false blame precedents to craft another unwarranted blaming.

* The Shayrat Airfield Link: considering what did happen vs. might have, vis-a-vis the alleged 6:46 Syrian overflight - includes a good visual overview of what happened, maybe to be copied here, below. But the main point is questioning the involvement of those jets, which was the public basis for attacking the Shayrat airbase they're said to take off from.

* Abdelhamid al-Yousef: The Proof Man? Following and predicting the moves of the leading alleged witness-survivor. with sub-posts on his alleged family, speedy recovery, etc.

* Monitor Mahmoud Unravels the Quds1 Sarin-Chlorine Serial Murder Plot “Quds 1, guys he has chemicals, he has chemicals. He is the same pilot who had dropped chemicals on Latamineh” ... "four bombs carrying the chemical substances sarin and chlorine."

* Saving the Khaled Family: see a family of 6 soaked in the mud for at least 40 minutes at one "hospital," get trucked off at 8 am to be shown as dead in various combinations, then get rushed to a remote hospital to save their lives, at about noon. See the friendly rebels fail to save these people, even with their fancy white W77 trucks, the White Helmets, and all that outside help.

* The Fakers - Two clear cases singled out - one plays dead but can't help but peek at the camera, and the other plays a convulsing sarin victim, who keeps going as long as the cameras stay around.  A number of others also seem possibly fake.

Note: it's not fake like nothing happened. There's a real and terrible thing under this fake thing, it seems primarily chemical, and at least partly Islamist (and I think it's mostly chemical and all-Islamist), and all of it deserves careful and honest study.

Critical Reviews of Others' Investigations
* The OPCW's No Wind Theory (July) No discernible wind? So the sarin rolls downhill to the southwest? Huh. Too bad there was a real and discernible wind in the opposite direction. And too bad it would roll to the northwest in their scenario, if they had mapped it right. Oops. (this last was noticed after the article)

* The Evidence vs. Bellingcat vs. Khan Sheikhoun False Flag Theories and four best questions between open-source citizen investigators (added August 6)
* On the UN CoI's Meaningless Report (September)
* CoI Report Dismantling at the Indicter (links and adds a bit to external article based on the above but much improved)
* Gareth Porter reviewed:
** Part 1: on Faking Sarin Tests (added October 2)
* Refuting Ted Postol (included in The Blasts). And while we're at it ... his backwards wind reading is one thing, and handled fairly well. But what the hell was this?

* Timeline issues (forthcoming): Important point regarding the problems with the Russian narrative, so far, and some other points of interest to disassembling the Western-opposition spin as well. (see for now ACLOS section on hospital attack time)

<add Aug. 7>And since it keeps coming up, including "verification" by Seymour Hersh's insider source, I'll just add this here: the best evidence suggests there was no Syrian or Russian airstrike at the time of the incident. This means there was no accidental release of chemicals from hitting a terrorist CW facility on accident. Russian, Syrian, and supportive sources have repeatedly suggested this is the explanation for the events and deaths recorded around 7 am. But those people don't seem to realize the fundamental disconnect.  By way of details, they explain:
* Syrian FM Walid Al-Moallem "said the government's first strike happened at 11:30 a.m," which is noted as "about five hours after reports of the chemical attack emerged." (CNN)
* Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konoshenkov: “Yesterday, from 11:30 am to 12:30 p.m. local time, Syrian aviation made a strike on a large terrorist ammunition depot and a concentration of military hardware in the eastern outskirts of Khan Sheikhoun town ...there were workshops which produced chemical warfare munitions ... The poisoning symptoms of the victims in Khan Sheikhoun shown on videos in social networks are the same as they were in autumn of the previous year in Aleppo.” (Reuters) (Russians know a lot about rebel CW arsenals in Aleppo; it's a talking point.)
Konoshenkov at least suggests the poison was released in that strike at noon. But all imagery and reports are clear the bad thing with suffocating kids happened right around 7 am or a bit earlier. So however whoever decided this might be the explanation, they were wrong. Either Syria and Russia are lying about the time of this first strike of the day, or the incident was not caused, even indirectly, by a jet. There are two jets on radar, but they seem to be on a dawn reconnaissance mission, presumably to scope the scene in advance of the coming attack. Damascus denies any strikes this early, but did not deny that they had any flights in the area around 6:46 am.<end Aug. 7>

* Others perhaps forthcoming


  1. Just a quick geolocation question, probably already answered but I can't seem to find

    In this video a man is presenting a basement (presumably the basement where the family died?)


    On one shot you can see the silos in the background. I think it is on the same road where Bellingcat geolocated the destroyed building, is the 'basement' building next to the one on the corner I've marked or am I looking at the wrong place?


    1. Yeah, I think that's it. A darn good fit anyway. It's decided they lived near that crater apparently NOT made at 6:45 (see http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Talk:Alleged_Chemical_Attack_Khan_Sheikhoun_4_April_2017#Scene_Overview), only earlier or later, but before the undamaged electric distribution box was set up. Might be nicely downwind too, where they said here (weather section at ACLOS is right below last link)

    2. If any help, on Terraserver I think the photo is from the end of Feb - maybe a shadow where the box is?


    3. There is a simple explanation why the people in the cellar died. The grain silos most likely contained a fumigant, like Detia GAS-EX-B. These fumigants contain aluminium phosphide that produces phosphine gas when it comes into contact with water. The aluminium phosphide might have been exposed when the grain silos were bombed. Phosphine gas may have been released into the atmosphere and it might have entered the nearby cellar killing the inhabitants.

      I am sure this event did not happen on April 4th. The grain silos were bombed earlier. The locals might have been recollecting this earlier event when they testified about the gas and the deaths. Rebel media might present this testimony out of context.

      For more, see: Was phosphine used in the Ghouta Chemical Massacre?

    4. Interesting.. all depends how much truth there is in the basement story too I suppose. WH videos have featured other unrelated people carrying children as they run past and the 'waving the buses through' video so 'appropriating' victims from another event would fit with that.

      Do you have this video on your playlist? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTx0kmQnZLw

      Just found via https://twitter.com/Qoppa999/status/856277477299281924

      Seems to have another smoke cloud ~6 seconds in on the far right. You've probably already seen it but I thought that was interesting as Bellingcat quotes a news channel as saying the plane only fired four rockets.

    5. Been meaning to reply. Petri: that's simple, in some ways In other ways, not.

      Andrew: thanks, was just looking again for that video (I don't think it is on the list), and didn't notice that other plume yet. Trying to map it out better...

    6. If any use, my best guess (big jpeg)


      Minaret in yellow is the one furthest right on the Bellingcat picture, view is looking almost south

      The new smoke cloud does seem to line up with what looks like a garbage heap so maybe not relevant - burning trash?

      Mushroom cloud I think is a little east maybe south east of the blue building. You can just make out the windows on the satellite view, seems to match.

    7. Ah! I had that view, but thought the minaret in green continued down to that lit facade edge, and was a minaret right on the right side of the street nearer to the camera. Oops. That alone kept me from finding a match, which would've been and now is this. Thanks - making a big map now and finally something new to add (it'll take a while). I think it's attack related: a sudden plume moments ago, no traces above/before that, little new coming up - it's some kind of smaller blast. The possible burn pit area is further to the right anyway, not on this line.

  2. The box doesn't look to be quite alongside the crater in this video so perhaps debris just missed it


    (also a red marker on the mound of earth between the box and the wall, not sure what significance might be)

    1. Looking again, force of travel/most severe blast seeming towards that wall, it could scrape by that box. And that might be its shadow. So that point isn't solid.

      red marker might be another danger toxic sign? weird placement if so.

      Still, dated crater clues: it blew out a lot of dirt and fill, but that's gone. Except on the edges - spread gravel, scraped away on a clean line, and some of the dirt on the far side, mostly swept off the road. Then, some small gravel tossed across the cleaned area, some larger white rocks tossed, one smashed on the road and smeared. Is that supposed to be it? Or wasn't this a non-explosive sarin releasing rocket, that blew that crater?

      And the other point seems to stand, and I'm refining and explaining that soon - there's no kind of plume anywhere near that crater at the time of attack. That's important because the time is quite clear, and the WH is quite clear that crater is the main spot sarin was released, at that time, when they saw the jet, and we have that gassed basement family just down the way (wind direction tho is under question, maybe almost opposite of that and/or shifting).

      (not that I'm arguing with you as if under attack, just refining the point)

    2. All just a maybe - I was just trying to square any moving of the box with the apparent lack of 'sophistication' (for want of a better word) with the lack of protective clothing.

      Some vehicle has clearly run over the line of white rocks.. more smeared rocks in later photos, wouldn't be surprised if someone had even driven through the crater. I wonder if debris was swept or hosed with water like the victims?

      Also kind of curious that the animal victims on Orient News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tayK50Ggs9w&list=PL5WYCTqm6QUE9GXGdGUSqW23BeWuSV46f&index=151 appear to be in the exact opposite direction to the 'basement house'. I'm no expert in how a cloud might travel so interested to see what you make of it all.

    3. I saw on Twitter a WH photo showing the crate not there, back in February, as you seem to have. No one has proof it still wasn't there on April 2 or 3. But maybe it wasn't.

      winds can shift, might have ... and of course things can be made up wrongly.

      Update on crater-area plume: It could be there, but the camera never pans far enough to say. Suggests it wasn't there or they'd show it, but that's not proof.

      I too am looking forward to what we figure out. Wish I had more time to speed it along...

  3. Just an observation on the new photos from HRW report, probably noticed already - the 'cap' appears to be green like the other piece of metal. So presumably not 'chemical weapons' stripes as claimed? http://imgur.com/a7z2oKZ

    1. From HRW video - https://youtu.be/cVGDcReFz9k?t=123

      I can't seem to find a section for fragments on ACLOS, doesn't seem to be on Youtube playlist yet

    2. No fragment section, that would be tedious. This cap might be distinctive enough, but that body scrap isn't. I see some general green all-over down the fragment's side, not stripes, but maybe different styles are used - so it might be what they say and so what? If it's a sarin false-flag, they'd use some old sarin bomb they stole from an overrun warehouse somewhere. Why Syria would use it for an attack they'd deny is not clear.

      Besides, we've now got the best wind reading yet - some kind of breeze to the northeast, maybe E-NE or N-NE, but nothing else prevails. That means this crater can have all the sarin evidence it wants, it would drift over the grain silos or the fields, and away from all the located places where they say people died from the gas. Why has no one been shown the other sarin release point that might have mattered? Is there one?

    3. With the weather info maybe you can determine whether the al-Helou story is even possible? (shadow story, line of sight etc.)

      I'm not finding it very believable - like the White Helmet's footage and choice of protective clothing in the context of the witness statements: a colleague having already touched another victim and fallen unconscious; the very *first* team suspecting chemicals returning to base to get protective equipment... they've called the base about it... then video shows they decide to not even bother with gloves. And leave people supposedly from their own community (friends?) lying face down in the mud.

  4. KS 2019 videos:

    White Helmets shared a little bit more of the earliest al-Rahma footage with Dr Hazem Najm
    briefly see an empty looking yard. Dr Hazem not bothering with gloves (and later standing in the crater in flip-flops in "Sarin gas, with cyanide and intensive chlorine" according to Turkey, so he is quite resilient.)

    WH Mazen al-Sayed's story, WH's "went with two vehicles" after a "strike" who came back and told him about it. Not a first team to help Raslan's fuel seller boy and then another to rescue them as they all fainted as per HRW?

    This man I don't think I've seen before

    60 Minutes is now removed/paywalled outside the US
    Has Mazin al-Yousef, grandmother Aisha al-Tilawi and his grandfather who CNN had reported Mazin ran to but found suffocated. Unless both sets of his grandparents lived in the one house, one suffocated the other didn't... or CNN meant his father not grandfather... confusing.
    +the later exclusive footage of al-Rahma and White Helmets actual sample collection. Original page might still have a working video of Mulet talking about the JIM having pilot recordings.

    1. Related to Sayed story where they respond to the strike (not a fuel seller boy) - stories of Abed Al Kareem Noureddine and Khaled Nesr

      Both speak in video on this page:

      Khaled al-Nesr appeared in a now-deleted Smart News video with Aboud al-Bakri in WH uniform (rescuer of Warda al-Sayed)

    2. https://twitter.com/SyriaCivilDefe/status/1114460919361343489

      Testimony of Amal Hamo and Khadija Kutaini possibly seen late on at al-Rahma with the journalists and photographing bodies ("Kutaini" maybe related to Hamid Kutini)


      Both went "the center" (presumably al-Rahma) instead of the scene but perhaps that is the arrangement for women WHs in Khan Sheikhoun.

    3. 'New' video - inside the Khaled house
      "They said that we've been hit with gas, a chemical attack" (they knew?)
      Footage at the end is 2017 https://www.facebook.com/syrianpresscenter/videos/1921920924717176/ and Mustafa is dressed in the same clothes so entire interview may be

      Mustafa al-Khaled story to AJ in 2017

      Osama al-Khaled story of how he found the family around 7am page 27 of the JFL report https://jfl.ngo/?p=4484

    4. Mustafa told his story here too (but needs translation)

    5. Taken 2 years but have finally found the al-Khaled house. It is at the east end of the road from the Omar house:


      Videos used:


    6. @Andrew : Mustapha first part 0:34 --- 2:31 from link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktsE__CDkBY) went more or less like this: https://hastebin.com/ekitohapuh.sql

    7. Thank you for the translation anonymous!

      Apologies for another terrible drawing, but I think the bedroom window can only be on the east or south side of the house (probably east looking towards the bakery, away from all explosions.. what they could have seen from here...?)


      From this interview, this is where uncle Osama lives


      Other maybe interesting things here:
      In Osama's JFL report account, coming from the west he only sees *one* person lying in the road.

      Osama comes west down same road as Abdelhamid al-Yousef (in AH's 2018 story version), only AH sees people falling down by the Omar house

      Panorama with AH story, a shot from crater towards Khaled house ~8:15, house front ~8:40 -

      Bad quality drone shot from crater towards Khaled house here https://youtu.be/rgeoODtuVh4?t=402

      Khaled house is east of the Omar house and only affected after explosions (like everyone at Yasser house + basement)

    8. a "not that good" translation but enough to understand oncle Osama's interview https://hastebin.com/ewokegelup.sql

    9. Thanks again for the translation Anonymous.

      JFL version Osama's brother in law went to find a car then Osama tells him "that it was a chemical attack".. differences that seem too specific to just be down to JFL's translation (unlike "the whole family lying on the ground in front of the house."). The sheep is new unless he really refers to *the* goat here -before it was moved to the yard by the bakery.

    10. Not new, but, if possible, translation of these 2 may have something interesting:

      The Mazen al-Sayed house and yard behind (appears to be the same house as Warda and Fouad al-Sayed 100% sure on the yard, not 100% on exact house) -


      Smart News video of corner by Yasser al-Yousef house and basement -


      If he has any basement connection, the man in the van is (now dead) Bashar Dado, was in the half-translated "Humanity Men".

  5. https://www.newsweek.com/how-us-nerve-gassed-its-own-troops-then-covered-it-317250

    Interesting to compare vs. HdBG, Kaszeta etc. on explosions destroying sarin

    1. I suspect the point is valid, but when amounts are huge, it doesn't all get destroyed.

      Why did they ignore the warnings? All I can think is they were curious what it would do. I didn't know sarin caused cancer, nor the birth defects etc. blamed on 'gulf war syndrome.' Maybe it does, or some mix of agents and explosives...

  6. Amal Hamo 2019 story #2


    "I remember it vividly. I woke up at 6 a.m. to the sound of three airstrikes. From my balcony, I saw people running through the streets and screaming, “Chemical attack, chemical attack!” I ran down to the street and stopped the first person I saw; he was driving a motorcycle and I asked him to take me to our center. I arrived to find the most painful scene of people lying on the floor choking. "

    Timing is wrong by White Helmets own testimony: they only start rescuing people after the explosions
    She is at the scene but decides to inexplicably leave instead of helping people (unless she is somewhere else with people shouting "chemical attack", off hand the nearest claim I can think of is 'Hala' to SNHR: "chlorine" shouts after a few minutes)
    She has worked at the center since January, I wonder how she usually gets there? Always has to beg a ride from a stranger?
    Heard of the White Helmets when volunteering from 2011 for "almost a year".. did the White Helmets exist in any form at that time?

    1. White Helmets in that form only date to 2014 sometime. But Douma's civil defense had a version 2 by Sept. 2012, so I reason several had first versions well before that...

  7. Possible for the al-Qadah house, for consideration:


    That overhang on the roof isn't obviously there so not 100% but a few things match.

    The SFJ report tells us that Imad al-Qadah was a chemist (coincidence?) and Turky al-Qadah was an "electrical generator worker" (apparently set up the grey box by the crater so makes sense house would be near that)

    Maybe not so related but Khan Sheikhoun local council facebook shows they have lots of equipment for digging (but didn't dig out the green pipe for reasons unknown) + shows pesticide spraying

  8. Small add for al-Khaled house location: the photograph of the daughter in the JFL report looks to match back garden of the house


  9. Yousefs on Orient News = will try not to repeat things here but I think Kusai and Yusuf al-Yousef are behind the house shown in the ALYOM podcast



    Next to where ALYOM marks Molhem al-Yousef's house

    Rawda al-Yousef and one of the other Yousef kids is in the Orient video too.

    If she in fact lives there (next to both sons would make sense), Jalal al-Yousef is next door

  10. Evidence of planting filler cap


    Ignoring that it was actually "information obtained by the Mechanism" from an unknown source not the "OPCW report", it is specifically addressed here (paragraph starting "Another fact that is difficult to explain is a filler cap")

    These points would also apply to the 'cap' seen in the crater at Lataminah March 30 https://imgur.com/BIHgV5V

  11. Anas Diab dead


    Differing accounts, one that he was covering a bombing the other that his house was targeted by an airstrike

    1. (Apologies for the multi comments here, my posted comments kept disappearing)

      KS reported to be a ghost town at this point so not sure who WHs are acting as 'civil defence' for there.

      Diab claimed to be blinded by standing next to the crater after 9am (interestingly temp. blindness was only injury Dr Hazem claimed to suffer)

      Diab said that "all movements of civilians even motorcycles" in KS were being targeted.
      ..but apparently not the large procession of motorbikes here?

      Looking back, interesting Diab JFL quote about Raslan (could be lost in translation):
      (1 min after strike) "one of the Civil Defense volunteers contacted us from the Al-Tamanoua center, he was there at the tar-geted site and asked for medical help, but we did not understand the type of medical help needed."
      Emphasis mine, Raslan was from (or worse *at*) Al-Tamanah?

      Also: death of aircraft monitor Hasna

    2. Diab was buried in Idlib city (assume the procession is actually there too?)

    3. KS in 2019

      Video at this point shows the much-pictured north entrance, gives an idea of which parts of KS are being bombed

      Asked to go there by Anas Diab he says

  12. https://twitter.com/2ndNewMoon/status/1144862981769060353


    "Damascus also conducted tests with at least two M400 bombs filled with sulfur mustard"

    Typo or actual name M400 rather than M4000?

  13. Might be of interest


    'My grandfather is Dr Morad'

    Works for SJAC


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