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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Douma CW Massacre: Victim Analysis

Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, April 7, 2018:
Victim Analysis
April 12, 2018
(rough, incomplete)
Or did they come down here to use the shower, with that yellow thing and some white powder ...  did they try taking some medicine? (credit: Orbi and Qoppa999)

Except this guy, who probably didn't carry himself here on this stretcher... (credit: Kobs)

This guy next to him clearly has a somewhat different story from the rest of the family. Face injury, blood from the mouth, and thick foam, but somewhere duster, face-down for some time before he was put here. But this is outside the house, as this video shows, suggesting other, dustier locales where  people died this mysterious foamy death... 


My thoughts (partial):
Clothing: layered sweaters, some grubby, smoky, or muddy. There's an older woman in an overcoat, other fully veiled at least, one with a possible shoulder bag strap. Otherwise we see no coats, hats or worn bags (but there is a likely bag of bedding and a hairbrush), and no shoes. So they're fully clothed and ready to go out, but for shoes and coats. This state, usually in the middle of the night, is a common feature for CW attack victims in areas where Islamists are specially desperate and losing quick. In Islamic culture, shoes are removed usually before execution. And hostages stay inside, needing no shoes, and sleep in what they had at capture, with no pajamas and few if any baths allowed and no laundry service. Sometimes new clothes might be put on before the photo shoots, but usually not.

One guess: bundled to walk away at night, but not this one - captured, held for some days, gassed there, then brought here to an abandoned house

This (girl?) perhaps fell on her back, then sat up, in the mud outside, likely during the arrest. She never did get cleaned up, wound up dead in here, laid down awkwardly on this couch. This is on one of the upper floors, not in the basement.


...a bit less clearly from most views, this boy also seems to have hands that are smoky, but less so. He also seems to have facial injuries, especially around the eyes and the bridge of his nose. (credit: Michael Kobs)

...huh, this kid too.

Back to the Baytounji family in Aleppo in late 2016. See here. They seem to have been hit in the head a few days before the alleged chlorine gassing, which actually is very hard to diagnose. Their faces look baked, as if by extreme heat, with some white residue around the mouth, nose and eyes. Two examples:

The victims of this latest incident look kind of similar, with "raccoon eyes," suggestive of a skull fracture days earlier, signs of heat (but more sweaty than baking) and also smoke exposure, but with relatively massive amounts of white stuff foaming out of them. But it's all in various combinations.... the boy above: see morgue video
This may be something else, largely not in the eye socket but all around it.

- this lady - here it looks like the same "raccoon eyes", but after another few days of healing, into the brown-bruise stages. 

What is this, I don't know, but it looks similar.

Is this skin irritation or from a recent slap to the face? note apparently sweaty face and hair.


This girl died where she fell in two different places, and is the only one seen being carried away or around. (credit Orbi)

White Helmets guy (I think) wearing a gas mask, probably old Soviet material of limited or no function now, and not even gloves. This girls isn't even wet - neither stripped nor washed even once, raw from the CW cloud, allegedly. This will likely be claimed as a sarin attack, so take note. He's making sort of big eyes at the horror of it, or is that him starting to suddenly die?
Longer video shows about as many bodies on upper floors of the same duty damaged house, with a scary hole in the roof. That's like 30 or 40 of the 55-70+ fatalities, all in one building, and not just in the basement. How can I download and save Twitter videos? I saved screen grabs anyway (f/c)
(Andrew helped here, see comments)


  1. I've been looking through the videos with the camo-wearing father and seen the argument JaI would never do anything to "their own families". Are there any signs they are JaI relatives? Do we know anything about the local tunnel network and why militant families wouldn't be sheltering from airstrikes in those tunnels instead?

    No-one seems worried about handling the bodies- they have no worries about nerve agents? Chlorine 'mixture' has historically ended up as sarin and there is the cylinder with one end blackened: could this be the 'black sarin' or burned?

    1. when they say "our family" it underlines how it's probably not. The records so far suggest the people were not identified at the time, only slowly and partly identified now.

      No gloves on that guy carrying the girl, and that's just one example. Correct there.

      The black sarin thing, good q. It looked more like smoke residue, and the white dust, in an order I'd need to consider more, and some light rain since then. The blackish stuff lined to some sarin events is kind of oily, and this stuff didn't look that way so far. But I'll be reviewing things.

    2. The US/France/UK revealed intel seems to point to another unseen M4000-esque nerve agent 'barrel bomb' no-one seems to be able to find. Perhaps the M is for Morad.

      "One said the gas smelt like car batteries." - I thought this was interesting. I can't see the OPCW finding anything that goes against a nerve agent (as West has already bombed) but if the story is true about the fire what else could this be.. an electrical fire?

    3. Related - SAA reaction, points out they don't have gas masks


    4. BBC videos, story of the family in the washing video



    5. Summary: CNN, BBC and Sunday Times have all spoken to the same family

      The story is that these victims didn't hear, see or smell something that made them drop dead in a few steps but made the people in the building next door just faint briefly and foam at the mouth.. even though they walked directly towards and into the gas. And lay down in it for a while.

      I assume 4th floor is US and means the very top floor (next to, I also assume, the bed cylinder).

      Longer version:

      Father says a helicopter goes over and "some guys tell them to go down one floor" (BBC)
      Loud bombs while sheltering in basement (Sunday Times)
      "Then it was quiet"... [no helicopter?] (Sunday Times)
      Masa says they hear a 'barrel' and hissing sound (BBC)
      2 volunteers go out of basement to see and come back shouting "gas" (Sunday Times)
      Mother + kids go upstairs with "white gas" pouring down past her [up towards where they just heard the 'barrel' hit, the hissing and where all the gas is coming from] (Sunday Times) "white smoke like fog" (BBC)
      Uncle carries Masa's twin sister (Sunday Times)
      Mother collapses and is "briefly unconscious", Masa lying next to her foaming at mouth (Sunday Times)
      Masa says she was the one who fell down and mother starts talking to uncle (BBC) even though the mother is "vomiting and coughing" [perhaps the mother has mixed up her twins here but the BBC only interviews one of the girls, said to be Masa] (Sunday Times)
      Masa says uncle takes her upstairs, gives wet cloth (BBC)
      Mother and Masa made it to the fourth floor [so they kept going towards the gas...!](CNN)
      Building gets hit by "new round of barrel bombs" (Sunday Times) though the mother admits she is "not sure what" the bombs were (CNN)
      Mother says she woke up, finds husband and other daughter "collapsed after inhaling the gas" 2 floors down (Sunday Times)
      "In blind panic, they made for the street" (Sunday Times)
      Child says "civil defence" arrived and poured water on people (BBC) or maybe the neighbours poured the water (Sunday Times)

      3 people died from their basement [unexplained, did these 3 die because of 'gas' or because the building was being bombed?], everyone next door died because they "didn't hear the gas" although WH Ibrahim Reyhani says many "died on the stairs" "after just taking a few steps" (Sunday Times)

      The mother tries phoning people (Sunday Times)
      They went to a medical point "at the end of the tunnel" (BBC) etc.

    6. Also shared the basement with 75 neighbours

      The medical point seen is still in use, so treatment by the actual doctors was real but apparently unnecessary


      No CW victims treated also backed by Robert Fisk

    7. Story on this differs https://twitter.com/holammer/status/985948898832285696

      People didn't notice the helicopter/'barrels' and were even stood outside during the heavy bombing? Why were their shoes in the basement if they were stood in the street?

      Doesn't seem very believable. He also seems to be in the video with the Russians visiting https://youtu.be/7QCPj5nUwkg?t=33

    8. Follow up question for Nasr Hanan: if everyone in the house died how did he watch his brother in the kitchen? Didn't he try and save his family if he was inside the house instead of leaving them foaming on the floor?

      If you want to match the cylinder position in the original video it would have to match the video frame tweeted and deleted by Eliot Higgins by the way, later videos the cylinder is in a different place and the edge of the hole collapsed.

    9. e.g. https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/986284059495206917
      If it 'perfectly matches' later videos they are not looking at the cylinder as the cylinder was originally at a different angle to the hole. People seem to be making things up again.

    10. The Times article "Syria: Family of 11 clung together in death" (which looks to mix up the 2 buildings) might explain the Hanan kitchen washing story

      Could be based on Abdullah Abu Homam "their clothes were still wet so we believe they tried to rinse themselves in vain".. so a guess?

  2. Paywalled Sunday Times article https://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/8cbaot/the_little_girl_whose_agony_set_the_west_on_path/

    The neighbours heard it but that house didn't.. gas is yellow and turns white... 3000 (!) survivors appear in a camp

    Also Syrian gov did an exchange for prisoners. How does that work at the same time as random chlorinerve gas bombing? Trying to accidentally kill all the prisoners they want released?

  3. Hanan brother blurred on BBC is not blurred on CBS




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