Warning: This site contains images and graphic descriptions of extreme violence and/or its effects. It's not as bad as it could be, but is meant to be shocking. Readers should be 18+ or a mature 17 or so. There is also some foul language occasionally, and potential for general upsetting of comforting conventional wisdom. Please view with discretion.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

More on the Alleged Chlorine attack of 25 March, 2017

Re-Considering the IIT's Nine Unsolved CW Cases
More on the Alleged Chlorine attack of 25 March, 2017
November 27, 2019
rough, incomplete
updates to ...Dec. 5

Note: this is my second and far better post on this alleged chlorine attack on a cave hospital in Al-Latamnah, Hama, but was originally half-written as part of this post regarding the alleged sarin attack in the same town the day before.

Comparison with Douma, 2018
OPCW FFM report S/1636/2018, 13 July 2018 https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1636-2018_e_.pdf
1.9 The alleged incident of 25 March was widely reported in the media as targeting an area where an operating field hospital was located and in which one “barrel” cylinder fell inside the main entrance hall of the hospital and a doctor lost his life.
/5.44 "...Due to the impact, the head of the cylinder cracked releasing a gas inside the hospital. The gas was described by witnesses as yellow, with a pungent and irritating smell, and since the hospital was carved inside a rock formation, the gas was rapidly dispersed in the rooms of the cave."
5.45 "The signs and symptoms reported by the casualties shortly after the dispersion of the gas include shortness of breath, moderate to severe cough, mucosal membrane irritation, blurred vision, lacrimation, expectoration, and vomiting. People located close to the entrance escaped immediately through the emergency exit."

But when the same kind of chlorine cylinder is said crash into an apartment building in Douma, on 7 April, 2018, and where the OPCW was able to verify no sarin or anything was added to the chlorine, the given story was far different. As we heard, the 50-60 people in the basement 3 floors below the impact were chased out by the sinking gas, ran up to the street, then back inside and up, into the denser gas, then dropped dead or paalyzed. And thus 35+ people died - or close to 200 by a strangely credible alternate tally. Here at the Latamnah hospital, it spreads horizontally, through a space of unclear size, but limited by how much carving they did. People react more normally, by reports, all fleeing the gas to fresh air, with no one blacking out or dropping dead on the way. And so all staff and patients lived, except those involved in that dubious alleged surgery. These were said to require rescue, which would be abnormal, but then we hear they died only the way to the hospital or later in the day, or never - none of them instantly. Neither story is truly plausible, but vis-a-vis the effects of chlorine, the hospital incident is far more realistic.

Narrative discrepancies
One vs. four chlorine cylinders:
S/1636 explains one cylinder crashed into the hospital entrance, and three others landed in various spots, including one about 50 meters to the northwest of the hospital entrance.

But to Human Rights Watch for their "death by chemicals" report, Dr. Mahmoud al-Mohammad, the manager of the hospital] said "A helicopter dropped two barrels. … One barrel with explosives fell about fifty meters from the hospital, the other hit the roof of the hospital.[18]" Two other bombs of whatever kind might also have been dropped and he didn't know about it, but we seem to have a disagreement on the one at 50 meters.

WH Hazmat: "Two barrels of chlorine gas" were dropped. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MCiIMFG1uU

Attack time:
A Syria Direct report heard it happened "at 1:30pm" citing "Abadah al-Mansour, the hospital’s spokesman"
HRW report: "around 3 p.m."
The OPCW FFM's S/1636: "at about 15:00."

Visually, shadows are fairly long and from near due west, in the few WH photos published. Just before DST kicks in, this should probably be around 3 PM or later, not close to 1:30. But it's impossible to say from the pictures what has happened before and how long it took. Sometimes the outside view is the one that got hushed up because it was a clue to the reality of events.

One assistant wounded, or two? Again the spokesman to Syria Direct has the outside view ...

To the extent providing a photo of a cylinder impact counts as a narrative detail, a certain White Helmets guy seems to have the outside view on how many chlorine cylinders crashed inside the hospital. ...

S/1636, 5.45 The signs and symptoms reported by the casualties shortly after the dispersion of the gas include shortness of breath, moderate to severe cough, mucosal membrane irritation, lacrimation - all good. Less consistent, blurred vision, vomiting.

Syria Direct: "“most of the injured suffered from fainting, red eyes and shortness of breath”, the Hama Civil Defense reported." Chlorine does not make you pass out.

The Fatalities
Dr. Darwish died, and it was from chlorine, he'd have badly burned eyes, damaged lungs, pulmonary edema - he'd suffocate on fluids. Even with medical help, death can occur after hours or days of struggle and the best care available, if the initial damage was severe enough. I'm still not convinced that is what killed this man. His eyes look tired, but not reddened or swollen. Otherwise, it is hard to really say from just an image like this.
As for the other two reported to die - a first responder (not the treating nurse?) and the boy they operated on. HRW: "Dr. al-Mohammad, the hospital manager, said that the attack killed three people due to chlorine exposure: Dr. Ali Darwish, the hospital’s orthopedic surgeon who was conducting a surgery at the time of the attack, the patient in surgery, and one first responder," and "Abd al-Munaf Faraj al-Saleh, the head of Syria Civil Defense in al-Lataminah, confirmed that the attack killed three people." HRW heard the assistant lived but "was still receiving treatment in Turkey as of April 8."

But in the OPCW report, it says "The patient was anesthetised and intubated to protect the respiratory airway. ... According to accounts, the surgical patient was only mildly affected due to the previously mentioned airway protection. However, Dr. Darwish and his assistant were severely affected. ... Dr. Ali Darwish, the assistant, and the patient were rescued by the SCD and were also transported to MF-A ...Critical patients such as Dr. Ali Darwish and the assistant were immediately transferred to other hospitals. Dr. Ali Darwish died on the way to Medical Facility C (MF-C). The assistant was transferred to a hospital in a neighbouring country."

The likely boy victim by deduction: http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/details/martyrs/186770#.Xd0SDndFyP8
Ayham Saedo Hamadeh age 13, Shepherd, from Lattamna, killed 3-25 by "shelling." (No deaths from chemicals are reported for this incident -
"warplane shelling" cited for Dr. Darwish). Was Mr. Hamadeh tending his sheep when he was hit by a rocket or mortar shell, prior to dying in the chlorine attack?

As seen on Facebook, perhaps already dead, but among suffocating patients arrived in Turkey. Tubes still in, eyes look possibly swollen, but pretty unclear. What did they allegedly do for eye protection? Why was this surgery so goddamned important, allegedly?

We hear consistently that Dr. Ali al-Darwish was an orthopedic surgeon, so he worked with the musculoskeletal system by training. This is important work - sewing up injure arms and legs, feet and hands, and more. But it's generally not life-saving work. That's what he should have been doing, and we don't hear any different, though it's possible he was working past his expertise in something that was life-or-death. Otherwise - and even then - he exercised very poor judgment in continuing the procedure. Abadah al-Mansour, the hospital’s spokesman praised the selfless choice: “He refused to leave so he could save the patient ... He paid the price for that with his life." But he also paid with the life of the boy he was 'trying to save' from... an injury that was probably not life-threatening. That's not giving your lie to save one, it's taking it plus another through idiotic choices, besides leaving an assistant - or two, according to the spokesman - in critical condition. Well, they didn't assist Dr. Darwish very well by suggesting they leave and try the surgery later. Can you see the three of them standing there in the gas, eyes burning, barely able to see though the tears, coughing and choking, doubled over puking sometimes, but still fast at work with the scalpels and so on? It's absurd. In fact, the choice of these men to stay is so poor it's highly questionable it was ever made. There may be a true story of these deaths that remains concealed.

The boy might have suggested they leave, but he was reportedly "anesthetised and intubated to protect the respiratory airway," probably left unconscious and helpless. The likely victim, by deduction, listed at VDC: Ayham Saedo Hamadeh age 13, Shepherd, from Lattamna, killed 3-25 by "shelling." (No deaths from chemicals are reported for this incident - "warplane shelling" cited for Dr. Darwish). Was Mr. Hamadeh tending his sheep when he was hit by a rocket or mortar shell, prior to dying in the chlorine attack? So he was probably knocked out right away, and the grown-ups wanted them all to stay. Tehn, even when it got truly intolerable, they never did chose to leave - eventually it seems they passed out or foamed at the mouth or whatever nonsense, so the White Helmets had to go in and rescue them. "5.48 ... Dr. Ali Darwish, the assistant, and the patient were rescued by the SCD and were also transported to MF-A."

The first responder: not specified as a White Helmet, a "first responder" was also killed, as the FFM heard it. This is mysterious. It's not specified if he died from a first response (like from secondary contamination, as with sarin?) or just standing in the wrong place (no impact deaths mentioned) or stayed well past his first responding to slowly die in the hospital, maybe helping with that surgery or for some other unexplained reason. There's no clear match (perhaps no match at all) for this victim at the VDC listed for 25 March or the following two days (checking men from the area killed by 'warplane shelling" "shelling' or CW).

Jaysh al-Izza commander: The spokesman for this ruling militant group said, in the STEP News video related below, the "chlorine gas and other toxic substances" used at the hospital "led to the martyrdom of Dr. Ali Darwish and the military commander of Jaysh Al-Izza, Hamidou Lahdiri." A 25 March tweet also suggests he died from the gas, naming and showing two "martyrs, God willing: - Dr. Ali Darwish, and Abdul Hameed Al-Hudairi, both explained by "the regime's warplanes and Russia are bombing with poisonous gases. God is with us."

But other sources disagree. While most sources don't say how he died (just that he was a "hero" and "the finest Mujahid" and had Hamidou as a nickname), he's listed by VDC as Abd al-Hamid Ahmad al-Hdairi ( Arabic: عبد الحميد أحمد الحضيري), FSA, age 37, from Lattamna but killed in "North Hama countryside" by "shooting" done by Syrian armed forces. This sounds like an explicitly different story with a locale, but then "shooting" sometimes seems to be the generic cause of death for any "FSA" fighter where the cause is unknown or meant to be obscured. In a linked video he's seen dead, washed and wrapped for burial. There are no injuries from the neck up, which is all we see, and he has sort of purple lips. That moderate cyanosis probably means prolonged suffocation prior to death. Maybe he was shot in the lungs, or maybe he died like these others are saying, suffocating fom chemically damaged lungs.

It was a bit confusing to find another 37-year-old Hudairi man from Latamnah dying a week earlier: I thought HAMAH NOW on Mar 19, 2017 must have had a different name and an earlier death for this hero: "Mohammad Abdul Qader Al-Hudhairi, 37 years old, died from the city of Latamna due to ..." Shooting? Chlorine + mystery gas? It cuts off and the link is dead, and comes up nowhere else I found. But the VDC helps with a seperate listing for Mohammad Abd al-Qader al-Qasem al-Hdairi, 37, from Latamnah, killed by bombing over in Khan Sheikhoun on the 19th. A smiling young child is actually shown, with an older man's face (his?) half-cropped off, and looking different from the fighter's.

This would be quite a coincidence, and it may not be one; the VDC only lists 15 people of this name dying in the whole war (Arabic list, all but one hailing from Lattamna. Five of these were killed at once shelling, 19 Octber, 2016 with an Abdul Kareem al-Hadhiri family hit: this name appears on 4 children killed that day: khaled, 10 - another Khaled? age 5 - an infant girl Sundus - Ahmad, age 12 And a woman named Zamzam Hudairi died 4 days later Due to her wounds sustained by the shelling on 19-10-2016. No one else appears until these two 37-year-old men a week apart, and then just one more in 2017, one in 2019, end list. This might suggest some family targeting in two phases, but that could also be too imaginative.

Now, recalling the unexplained first responder - he could be a White Helmet in a van, like the one we see impacted and burned (below). But that appears to be a militant van and area, so maybe that's where "commander" Hudairi was? Maybe he was called a first responder because he was also a White Helmet (not that we hear) or just because that seemed like a passable story for the van impact near the hospital. Or perhaps the militant and responder are two distinct men who both died in this event, and had that poorly explained. That would make four deaths if so.

Traces: f/c - or see here.

Hints: March 25: Shajul Islam seems to claim the attack this day (penetrating the cave hospital in Latamnah) was by chlorine, and by sarin, in the same tweet (in the video, he reported chlorine like most did, but the text claims sarin - via Qoppa999 shortcut). Then on the 26th he claimed "I am so unwell now. Not sure what it is. I have been treating so many patients from chemical attacks this week without any sort of protection for myself or others around me. We just don't have any." We knew of two chlorine attacks by this point, one of them on this day, and no sarin ones. Chlorine causes no secondary exposure, which he seems to be hinting at. He's more explicit with this Facebook post and video of the same day: "URGENT! We are getting so many patients with gas poisoning. This attack is from Al Lataminah in Northern Hama. This seems very toxic and has killed a doctor ( Ali Darwish) who was treating the patients. We have seen chlorine gas attacks, but this is not the same. The patients are dying very fast. We now strongly suspect its Sarin Gas. CAN YOU HELP US." (ACLOS)

A spokesman (or leader? unnamed?) of Jaish al-Izza (speaking in front of their logo) also said "chlorine gas and other toxic substances" were used. He also says "this is the first time they target the hospital with chemical gases of this type, toxic gases of a new type with chlorine," causing the death of Dr. Darwish and a fellow commander of Jaish al-Izza. He's not clear if this is the first time that possible sarin was used in the area, just the first time at the hospital. But he doesn't say anything to directly support the alleged sarin attack elsewhere in the same town just the day before that (and this would probably have effected fighters of the same group, so he'd hear about it).

Now, he doesn't specify this other chemical made the chlorine more deadly, but it's odd how a few people knew to specify something else when nothing else has been accepted as used, and yet sarin traces did turn up. It seems plan A was to claim sarin mixed in on the 25th, and a later plan B was to concoct an event the day before to explain its presence.

Mapping the 4 alleged impacts 
Impact #1 is the famous one of the four alleged impacts that pierced the roof and got inside the hospital. Here's the FFM's image to show how it fits on the satellite map. The actual location is on the west edge of Latamnah. (coordinates: 35.19.32N, 36.36.43E)

The impact they agree on is questionable but possible, depending. It would take a lot of force to penetrate a couple meters of soil - or more like one meter? - and then reinforced concrete. Dropped from a helicopter it might have enough force - also perhaps fired straight up from the ground, for a maximum fall back to the earth might do it, especially if it had extra weight added somehow... (this capability isn't proven, but is often suggested - they have some way or launching these things with a Hell Cannon of whatever). So it remains uncertin whether this is all from such an impact, and also just what that would mean.
(enhanced area and red lines to show possible rebar grid faintly visible)

(as seen from below - note beyond flash-illuminated concrete jumble are gaps of earth color, app. lit by natural sunlight)

5.59 The impact location of the hospital as indicated by witnesses are shown in Figure 13. The first cylinder (1) pierced the rooftop of the ER at the entrance of Ltamenah Hospital. The second cylinder, third cylinder, and fourth cylinder fell to the ground at the respective distances of approximately 50 meters northwest to the hospital, 200 meters east to the hospital, and 100 meters to 150 meters south to the hospital. Witnesses reported that vegetation appeared burnt for about 100 metres from the impact points."

Mapped out here, roughly: impacts 3 and 4 should be in or near those red circles, which are at other dug-in areas, likely connected to the same underground complex. This goes to suggest a regime bombing plan to punch gas into the ER, and flood the exits as well. And also to drop a bomb on a random spot a bit NW of the entrance - or perhaps at the other entrance, if they mean north...
FWIW 25 March wind rep. still or to the east. Darksky gave 4m/s to the west.

Impact 2 is important - no clear marks appear close to 50 MW of the hospital entrance, comparing Google Earth images from Feb. 20 and April 2 of 2017. The impact might be invisible or unclear from that level - the damage should be minimal if it were just a chlorine tank (recalling the hospital manager claimed an explosive bomb landed there). Larger craters further out predate the February image. It's claimed an explosive barrel and/or a chlorine cylinder landed around here, but visually it could be nothing did ...

"5.60 Based on the analysis of the digital evidence gathered by the FFM from different sources, including witnesses, the FFM could account for three cylinders and three craters/impact points. Three of the craters/impact points are shown in Figure 14." They aren't shown very well, but it's better than nothing.

As the hospital impact into the roof (1) is shown first (left)*, logically the others show … two of the other three, seemingly unspecified, but likely in numerical order. The second scene that witnessed some fire-like burning has a steep rise very nearby - a wall or a cliff - to cast that even shadow. This area might be dug into a cliff, perhaps north-facing. That could be impact 2 (if northwest meant north) … but that area is shown in a photo, and it doesn't look like any burned impact area is back there:

So impact 3 is even better suggested for that second image. If they're in order, the other would be impact 4, and the important impact 2 - that might be an explosive "barrel" that left no mark and/or was the spot people washed off sarin the day before (see below) - this is the one that couldn't be seen or clarified.

* this is debatable, but the debate is lame. This is a dep hole into dirt, a narrow section of gray stuff, and then open black space - the ER as more widely seen from below. In fact along the edges of the gray layer (the concrete) can be seen faint lighter sections at right angles to each other and to the visible building lip/outer wall there on the right. That's rebar, as a better quality image would prove.

Aaaand, FWIW, sorry - whatever the shown cylinder hit MIGHT have included rebar. That's worth something, but not a proof's prize. I don't even need to label what here looks like a sharp imprint of narrow-gauge metal rod, apparently after an impact with some earth had deformed the thing, flattening its impacting end. I'm NOT convinced this proves anything like the attack reported, but I have to acknowledge it suggests - at least - better-than-usual falsification of the evidence. I think that's the very couch in the entry they claim it came to rest on. Note also: brown liquid at lower left - this comes up in other cases and seems to be a real chlorine sign.

The other seen cylinder(s)
We hear of 4 alleged chlorine cylinder impacts, and see the important impact and cylinder fairly well, poor views of 2 other impacts, but little of the other cylinders. One that's clearly different was shown to HRW by WH member Abd al-Munaf Faraj al-Saleh as hitting the hospital on 25 March, as if it were THE cylinder in question (HRW wasn't sure, considered multiple cylinders likely, since it was reported). Strangely, it seems to be both inside a building and atop rubble it should have created. But by the distances cited and exterior impacts shown by the FFM, the other three should all have landed outdoors. we have to wonder where was this image taken? Is it misattributed? I've seen it before, but I don't recall if it was in a different context ...

It seems to have landed sideways like this to be so flattened, and its valve assembly is intact. There aren't any visible splits, but it might have released gas - the signs aren't clear to me one way or the other (possible brown residue).

Step News footage via SNHR video shows two further cylinders - one to go with the burnt patch outside, and the other also outside, and not at the torn up crater the FFM showed.

Thiqa news agency video: the burnt cylinder? Hard to correlate any details, but logically there should only be one that was burnt - this is unusual. It seems that's because it crashed into this van parked just inside an entrance to a dug-in garage area, maybe while the engine was running, or whatever causes it to burst unto flames. Or someone deliberately burned it after the fact.
Seeing the widely distorted roof, the split of it on the near side, and the sharp dent in the window frame below that, it seems to me this thing came in - if it did - at a pretty sideways angle, not the nose-down position

Later, it would be pulled out, along with some identifiable parts - like the little wheels we've seen with its aerial harness, the main point of which is to make it come in nose-first.  That stuff would be  laid on the burnt ground, maybe after the van was towed away, or still parked nearby. Noting some mud atop the charring, this only makes sense. It was burnt, the moved to drop an end in the mud.

Above we noted the burnt patch was seen in the shade of a nearby wall, suggesting a dug-in area like this. Through the wreckage, we can see there's another cave on the perpendicular wall. Both walls are in the shade, at roughly mid-day, so neither faces south.

This almost has to be impact 4, at one of these two areas, as seen clearly in a Feb. 2017 image, then less so on 2 April. A week later, there's no clear sign of a wrecked van or a burnt patch, but they were probably in there somewhere.  The site of impact 3 seems to be just a quarry, with no signs of dug-in activity like this. Impact 2 was vague, but could be the dug-in area just north of impact 1. But in all views, that seems to have simple walls lacking cave entrances on all sides. Below: views from February and April, compared to the WH photo above, with the oblique wall stretched a bit: no sign of an entrance, but this is a bit fancy for a simple parking area and turnaround. Wall appearance with patching, etc. on the far face, topped with a straight, roof-like top, suggests there might be an egress here, that the people in that SAMS truck recently used.

We still have an apparent earth-impacting cylinder that's unplaced, and an impact with no cylinder also unplaced. We have enough seen to go with one exterior cylinder that's unplaced, now that #4 is roughly placed. We also have the 4th cylinder HRW showed, but it may not even fit in the accepted narrative. "The FFM could account for three cylinders and three craters/impact points," they explained, showing the 3 impact spots above. They seem to think only the one "pierced the rooftop" while "the second cylinder, third cylinder, and fourth cylinder fell to the ground at the respective distances" given and shown above. It sounds like they should all have landed outdoors. So the one WH Saleh showed - is this an unreported fifth cylinder while another remains unseen? Or is that the 4th cylinder? If so, we've never seen where it landed, just where it was set after they brought it inside someplace (why?) and happened to lay it on top of some rubble where something else crashed in or caused damage, besides the known damage at the entrance. Neither of those options makes a whole lot of sense.

Here's pretty much all of that in one graphic, plus a rough indication of where the sarin degradation products would appear. Here and forward I'll use cylinders A-D to describe those above, in the same order of appearance, to be clear that while cylinder 1 goes with impact 1, we don't know that 2 goes with 2 and so on. In fact there's no clear ordering for the cylinders by the FFM, and I think none shown past the one that's A here.

More Cylinder Oddities
This may all deserve its own post, but for now ...

Two further images of what I call cylinder C come from Aleppo Media Center (or an AMC) via Michael Kobs: https://twitter.com/MichaKobs/status/1165157431829291009 - this is after it was removed, I think, and set on ground that was burnt in the same fire (next to the van that's never seen, under where it was after they towed it?) Some possible salvage fom the van in the upper middle looks like ammunition boxes. In the rubble: the cylinder, intact with a dented side, valve snapped off.
To the left AND the right are two little bars with tiny wheels - these look just like the wheel-axles seen after 2018 chlorine attacks, as in Douma (visuals below). Said to be part of the aerial harness that lets it be rolled from a helicopter and then to have its fins help orient the bomb to fall nose-first. AFAIK this harness isn't alleged in 2017 chlorine attacks. No signs of this appear with the other 3 cylinders linked to this event. But this might be seriously alleged. There's also some kind of bar with bolt-holes possibly related, maybe from the van. A large tubular object in the foreground should be from the van (rear door hydraulic thing?). A few lighter pieces could relate. Why does the one with such a possible contraption have to land in a vehicle and turn it all into a mixed junk pile? Strange, that … So total illusion remains pretty possible.

On the left, an almost conical metal object - I think this is deformation, not its original shape. The metal may be too heavy and iron-like to be from the most impacted parts of the van (roof, etc.). Is it possible that's one of the tailfins or another element of the aerial harness that's suggested here? The other AMC photo zooms in on this piece, finding it interesting. It is. Another metal fragment, perhaps larger, is set behind it. There may be bits of metal strips and a bar in there as well.
Absent clear fins or other unmistakable features, this implication isn't clear. But the question could be raised thusly: IF this was fitted with the harness and fins, dropped from a helicopter with all that time to get oriented right … why did it hit the van sideways, as I noted above the damage suggests? 
(image for that if it keeps seeming like a good question). Answer: it wasn't so dropped or so fitted. I scanned the apparent impact position inside the van. Some debris in  there, but not a single sign of the harness it would be in. Not one fin, wheel-axle, long or curved iron slat or anything to suggest such a device. So IF this is the same cylinder-impact and there are serious harness fragments with it later, they WERE planted.

Andrew links me to more imagery, photos on Facebook from Thiqa News Agency. Image 1 there shows cylinder A, image 6 shows cylinder D from its split-open nose-end, with odd blue material where the nozzle was. For shortage of views at lest, I'll this one here. The other images of 9 total show WH hazmat teams suiting up, some gear they use, and a lab they use for their own analysis? (all saved here if they vanish.)

But regarding those related remnants, possible ones … image 4 shows the damaged van a bit more clearly. Image 5 shows a new angle and clearer view on the cylinder inside. From this, Andrew notes the possible wheel-axis in there, and how it's in the prior view as well. Image 5 is what adds a lot.

Looking closer and letting out the seams to identify possible parts … and took a while to cut them out on a dimmed background. Between the two views I see what could be tailfin corners, and similar slats, but with holes bored in them, and some curved stuff down in the floorboard - maybe the rim of one of the rings around the harness? A partial slat seems connected to it, but otherwise  he numerous strips down the side (one of which the wheels connect to) may not appear. These maybes are marked in red. But the wheel-axle appears clearly enough, and with a short section of tube welded next to it in the middle. This is a unique feature, but here with a hole bored in it. So for now I'm undecided if there's any harness used here. But the wheel axle says with 95% certainty that's what they're saying.

Wheel-axle comparison: That's what they're saying, isn't it?

Side-things: 'conical object and other material seen from the other side, still unclear, in STEP/SNHR Testimonies video v=rm1g5fSfDUE. This has metadata I don't usually see on downloaded videos - April 2, 2017 7:33 AM. Between hi-res video and photo views in Thiqa video: cave entrance: rifles in one view then moved, a big white bin w/open lid. Chicken coop inside that cave? An intact propane cylinder is still inside the van, maybe related to the fire? Poss. shrapnel marks in the interior metal right behind it? And there's an area I'll geolocate in a bit just for good measure.

… (more forthcoming)

26 March Testimonies video
Michael Kobs nailed the geolocation. ... 99% certain lineup.
This is how we mapped it. Things lined up but seemed quite far away, and the angle of view was questionable.

Kobs nailed it, I thought, though it did look weird. Now I think Amin2511 nailed it, without the weirdness; the view faces north-northeast like I thought, and the matching features appear closer, more like they seem. The match for a pole on the red line is less clear; it may be close, small, and invisible from space. Orange house still has no certain match, but that's likely it.
The location may not matter, but after all this work ... there's the view lineup, and more importantly,
the details at the cave entrance that clarify the match.

This STILL puts it NOT at the stricken hospital - not that surprising as they say it was out of service, maybe not even the best place to meet for interviews. This view location also identifies a cave area we didn't know about before right in the middle of town. Here are the 3 locales in question on the map.

The video was uploaded on 26 March, probably shot earlier the same day. My download somehow has a date of 2 April, 2017 attached. That might be a clue or might not be. The content of what's said is of some interest, and a translation is pending included below.

From that, STEP News video's 2nd interviewee, a White Helmet who says "We are the northern countryside of Hama Latamna civil defense center 114" The Eastern Arabic number 114 is also seen on the flag behind the man interviewed in the other video. (Amin2511) So presumably, this centrally-located cave compound is "civil defense" center 114.

The exact White Helmets van seen here was also seen waiting to remove patients from the hospital the previous afternoon (top image at right). The man speaking is …(Saleh?) - likely this is his own boss man's van, so he headed up the rescue of those somewhat implausible vicitms and also handles this interview. On he door in red: perhaps "no weapons" ? That does sound like a special kind of WH ride.

As Kobs notes, the same man is also a leading face in the hazmat crew after the 30 March incident. (Combined images in tweet below)

Video Translations: Amin2511 crunched the consonants once again.

The geolocated 26 March interview, 2 speakers
In the name of God the Merciful: The city of Latamna was targeted with chlorine gas on 25/03/2017 at three o'clock except quarter (2:45?) two barrels of chlorine gas targeted the field hospital, from a helicopter that took off from Hama Military Airport, headed north targeting the field hospital. Civil defense teams responded to the incident and evacuated more than 30 cases from the hospital. Three people were killed, including an (alternate?) doctor. The hospital was completely discontinued (put out of service) and one of the vehicles was burned. We noticed symptoms on civilians: redness in the eyes, fainting, vomiting, (foam) out of the mouth, difficulty breathing.

Yesterday the Al-Latamina field hospital was exposed to a chlorine gas raid that resulted in suffocation of medical staff and patients. Doctor Ali Darwish from the hospital staff was martyred. Here the strike place of the barrel of chlorine gas exploded in the heart of the hospital, inside the hospital.

STEP news video, 2 speakers
Jaish al-Izza spokesman? (that's their logo)
On March 25, 2017, the surgical hospital in the city of Latamna was targeted with chlorine gas and other toxic substances. This led to the martyrdom of Dr. Ali Darwish and the military commander in Jaish al-Izza, Hamidou Lahdiri. This is the first time they target the hospital with chemical gases of this type, toxic gases of a new type with chlorine.

In the name of God the Merciful: We are the northern countryside of Hama Latamna civil defense center 114. The city of Latamna is being bombed by Russian warplanes and regime airplanes
Yesterday, the regime's helicopter gunship targeted the Latamneh field hospital and took it out of service. This resulted in suffocation. About 50 injuries, suffocation, fainting and the death of Dr. Ali Dwaish (Darwish). One civilian died in the hospital. We transferred the injured to Kafr Zita Surgical Hospital and there were cases transferred to Bab El Hawa

Hospital Mapping
An effort at visually mapping the hospital interior from video, by Michael Kobs
rev https://twitter.com/MichaKobs/status/1200506914767036416

And the exterior

and the entryway with cylinder impact

Hospital founders:
UC Berkely HRLab report translates a sign inside the entrance using rebel colors to declare “alLataminah Surgical Hospital - created and founded by Jaysh al-Ezza.” Google translate gives "army of pride" as the meaning of "جيش العزة"

ACLOS: "A video cited below on the March 30 attack, declares that's the third chlorine attack in recent days, explaining "On Sunday, March 26, 2017, a medical official at the Al-Latamneh hospital told Smart that a number of civilians, including women and children, and fighters of the Izz al-Din al-Azza of the Free Army had been suffocated following the helicopter's flight for the second day in a row. Contains "chlorine gas poison". The first time was March 25, as addressed above. There's no other supporting claim for a March 26 incident.

Jaysh Al-Izza, Wikipedia - "Union of Glory" - it doesn't specify in the sidebar if they're Islamist or what, but a senior commander was disgraced football star Abdelbaset al-Sarout from Homs, an Islamist involved in sectarian massacre marketing from late 2011, who's been a media darling and only considered joining Islamic State. But he sided with Al-Namechange Front instead, the good cop half of the Al-Qaeda presence in Syria, and stayed so until he was killed in June, 2019 (WP for him).

Mr. Sarout and/or his associates are likely to be involved in staging these CW events on March-April, 2017, probably in conjunction with al-Nusra. They might also be subjected to attacks by their erstwhile allies. As explained above, Jaysh al-Izza claims one of their commanders, Hudairi, was killed along with Dr. Darwish in the 25 March attack.

Do they run the base in the south of town said to be gassed on the 24th and the 30th? Will try to find out. They may run a large base just south of the cave hospital. Running some 300 meters, it has several entrances, if maybe none for vehicles (or the doors close to look like cliff walls?). but a lot for foot traffic. It runs wide and deep, with apparent ventilation shafts hacked into the limestone (blue boxes here). We don't see this at the hospital, and it as noted they had poor ventilation - especially relative to the militants down the road? From Feb. 2017 Google Earth images:


My first post: https://libyancivilwar.blogspot.com/2017/03/syria-chlorine-allegations-march-25.html

ACLOS wiki page on this and other incidents in the surrounding days and area: http://acloserlookonsyria.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Alleged_Chemical_Attacks,_March_25-April_3,_2017#March_25.2C_Latamnah

OPCW FFM report S/1636/2018, 13 July 2018 https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/S_series/2018/en/s-1636-2018_e_.pdf

Hosp. post-attack video:

Syria Direct report

by students at the UC Berkeley Human Rights Investigations Lab (“HRC Lab”), so sharper than high-school kids by a bit. (got hospital location wrong, but everyone did)

Hama- al Latamina: testimonies on regime shelling using poison gases on latamina Hospital 25 3 2017 - 1:38, good cylinder views

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Nonsense Gassing of Militants in Saraqeb, February 2018

Re-Considering the IIT's Nine Unsolved CW Cases
The Nonsense Gassing of Militants in Saraqeb, February 2018
November 21, 2019
rough, incomplete,
ongoing edits to ...Nov. 24

On 7 April, 2018, some kind of illogical sarin-chlorine attack was initially blamed for the deaths of 180-200 in Douma, but claims later settled on "more than" a "verified" 42 people killed, and just by chlorine as it turns out (aside from illogically persistent suspicions in some quarters). That was and remains a bizarre record, and even the initial claim of both chlorine and sarin used together is borderline absurd. But it might have helped that there was a recent precedent.

Flash back two months .. someone across the country was announcing "Assad's" sneak peak. He'd been working for a while - allegedly - to sneak some sarin back in under cover of his unpunished chlorine attacks. On the night of 4 February, he had his helicopters drop two barrel bombs - filled with chlorine and somehow-sarin - on a field at the eastern edge of Saraqeb. As reported, the gas they released spread to only one place we heard about - a basement where 8 random men were doing nothing special that night. Luckily the usual heroes with the White Helmets rescued them, caught the signs and alerted the world, so we could be more prepared to accept the coming claims out of Douma. And this precedent comes with an implied (or explicit?) moral - No one showed due alarm and stopped Assad when just men were gassed by the chlorine-sarin bombs and none of them died. But maybe if we had, the nearly 42-187 victims in Douma - including women, children, infants - could have been saved.

(in progress)
* Implausibility of mixing sarin and chlorine (the sarin would be weakened or destroyed, and the breakdown products would probably be different than what was found)
* Inconsistent symptoms (miosis noted but absent, eye irritation noted but lacking, "odd behavior" instead of paralysis, no SLUDGE syndrome)
* Militant victims passed off as civilians (at least one and probably all were wearing camouflage fatigues before they were stripped down for the videos)
* Others locals claiming an attack seem related to those militants (2 locals not in the shelter are heard from; one is an apparent father of a shelter victim, and the other is a possible brother of his, judging by their given names) * Spread A - not to the victims (their given location is perpendicular to the gas spread as evidenced by the areas of bleached grass)
* Spread B - to a lot of non-victims we haven't heard from (except those couple who seem related to the militants)
* Unexplained means of sarin dispersal (it would have to be stored and released separately to work at all, and as usual, this trick remains unexplained)
* Strange deformation of cylinders (an extremely even and total indentation of four circles in a cloverleaf pattern appears on both gas cylinders, and never before on any cylinders involved in any other attack)
* ...

15 May 2018

Syrian Archive entry: SAR020418
Chemical attack on Saraqib, Idlib on 04 February 2018

Syria: Witness testimony reveals details of illegal chemical attack on Saraqeb
6 February 2018, 16:59 UTC

BBC Arabic report w/possibly valuable information

SNHRreport: http://sn4hr.org/wp-content/pdf/english/Syrian_Regime’s_Chemical_Terrorism_Hits_Syrians_for_the_211th_Time_en.pdf


CNN Arwa Damon report with 2 related videos attached


Syrians for Truth and Justice report (good Edlib media Center images, some Arabic text): https://stj-sy.org/ar/422/
STJ Hears that "12 civilians, including three members of the Civil Defense" were the casualties, while the Saraqeb city council has 6 civilians plus 3 WH (the WH tally of 9), and "the Syrian American Medical Association (SAMS) documented the reception of (11) cases of asphyxia" and no more. If any other locals were affected (some claim to have at least smelled it), this SAMS hospital didn't help them or doesn't vouch for it.

OPCW FFM Findings:
1.4 The FFM determined that chlorine, released from cylinders through mechanical
impact, was likely used as a chemical weapon on 4 February 2018 in the Al Talil
neighbourhood of Saraqib. This conclusion is based on:
(a) the presence of two cylinders, which were determined by the FFM as
previously containing chlorine;
(b) the testimony of witnesses, who identified the cylinders as impacting the
location on 4 February 2018;
(c) environmental analyses, demonstrating the unusual presence of chlorine in the
local environment; and
(d) a number of patients who presented for treatment at medical facilities shortly
after the incident, and showed signs and symptoms of irritation of tissue,
which were consistent with exposure to chlorine and other toxic chemicals.
1.5 The FFM also noted the presence of chemicals that can neither be explained as
occurring naturally in the environment nor as being related to chlorine. Furthermore,
some of the medical signs and symptoms reported were different to those that would
be expected from exposure to pure chlorine. There was insufficient information and
evidence to enable the FFM to draw any further conclusions on these chemicals at this
4.9 Environmental samples relating to the allegation of 4 February 2018 were collected
by an NGO on 5 February 2018 and were received by the FFM team on
19 February 2018. The samples were prepared for transport and delivered to the
OPCW Laboratory on 27 February 2018.
4 February 2018 – Narrative
5.8 Witnesses described the night of 4 February 2018 as cold with no precipitation and
virtually no wind. There was poor visibility due to low ambient light, and restricted
use of artificial light due to fear of being targeted by aircraft.
5.9 At approximately 21:00, eight men were taking shelter in a basement in the eastern
neighbourhood of Al Talil in the city of Saraqib when they heard a notification via
radio from a spotter that a helicopter had entered the airspace of Saraqib from the
south-east. At approximately 21:15, witnesses reported hearing a helicopter flying
above the city and the sound of two “barrels” falling and impacting in close proximity
to their location. They also indicated not hearing any explosion.

5.10 According to witness statements, two cylinders (or “barrels” according to most
witnesses) fell in an open field surrounded by building structures approximately 200
metres to the south-west of the Agricultural Bank in the eastern part of Saraqib (see
Figure 3 below), and 50 to 100 metres to the south-west of the basement mentioned in
paragraph 5.9 above.
The marks are quite clear in a satellite view on Google Earth handily taken on 6 February, just two days after the attack. The nearest crater (impact #2) is 85 meters from that building's nearest corner. The other is 135 meters away.

Militant victims passed off as civilians
Amnesty International stood up for the victims yet again to report: “Direct attacks on civilians are absolutely prohibited and are war crimes. The fact that the government feels free to flagrantly carry out such attacks using internationally banned chemical weapons reflects the complete impunity enjoyed by those who order war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria.” A rescuer described "Around eight people were barely able to breathe," and rescuers became sick. As they heard, "the casualties, all of whom were men, have since been discharged."

Now, this wouldn't make dropping toxic gas on a whole neighborhood okay, but it should be noted the men were apparently not civilians. That always seemed questionable how 8 guys were just hanging out together to encounter some poison gas, despite evertyone specifying they were civilian or just leaving that open. But there's evidence to support that hunch in the one known video to show the victims early on.

Observations (hosted videos): 1 "Injured people due to targeting the town of Saraqib with chlorine" 0:55. On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=it4YouSkp70

In a night-time, exterior video, a few shirtless men sit on the curb while two others in particular are treated by White Helmets. They seem to be in genuine distress, and not just from the treatment. One of these, seated  on a gurney, is first seen having his jacket removed, and it's a bit green and patchy-looking to be civilian... Was he gearing up to go hunting in the mountains? No, in Syria this usually means a person is a militant. His jacket looks like it matches the one on the fighter on the left, who's helping his apparent comrade remove that evidence, tugging at its sleeve with little help.
And at least one man seated on the curb - older, also with tattoos - seems to wear tan camouflage pants similar to those of the fighter standing near him, and tucked into the boots in a similar and sort of militant manner. Otherwise, the dark pants we see, and the soggy piles of discarded clothing are harder to classify. But these points alone make the issue pretty clear to me.

The older seated man looks quite a bit like surviving civilian Fayiz Khatab, "age 46", who spoke to CNN about how his family fled recently while he stayed behind to protect the house. And so he was in a shelter with 8 other totally civilian men (9 total) … and look at these clothes! Urkle alert! How civilian can you get? This is surely the same man here on the left, and probably the extra-dazed tattooed fighter on the right, with a face that still doesn't seem to be working right.

Further clues may be in these videos featuring the victims:

SMART News: "11 civilians were suffocated" The men acting dazed in their underwear at the clinic, some interviews

Sham News Network "11 injured civilians" - interviews at the hospital

Orient News - "A regime helicopter targets Saraqib city with chlorine gas" - different footage of washing scene, interviews

"Civil Defense Idlib" on Facebook - video shows how 12 civilians had been injured, including three members of the Civil Defense

SNHR report explains after the targeting of civilian homes with the gas barrels, "8 civilians were injured." Media activist Motea Jalal specifies "the injured were all civilians." And the report gives the names, ages, and professions (true or not) of all 11 who were injured. The names are tedious to type (at the moment) and may be fake, but the first three are all aged 20, "civil defense member at Saraqeb center" and junior ones. The other 8, aged mostly in their 20s but up to 53, are all in this line of work: "civilian." Real professionals at it too!

Furthermore one of the 8 "civilian" men who survived the gassing - apparently the oldest one, Haithan Amad Kafrtouni, age 53 - was killed just "days later" in a Syrian airstrike, according to his ostensible son Mahmoud, speaking to CNN. We're to understand that was not a strike on militants engaged in violent or terrorist acts, but on civilians stacking sacks of grain in a truck, as part of Assad's food embargo. But it seems these men were militants, and that just might play into his being involved in a staged gas attack, and his violent death shortly after that.

Obsered Symptoms
An Orient TV video claims to show one of the injured for a few seconds, breathing from a nebulizer. His eyes are white, suggesting no irritant exposure (crop at right).

In the treatment video discussed above, the two men getting special washdown seem to be in genuine distress, and not just from the treatment. One thin man is seated on the ground, heavily sprayed, and later seen doubled-over as if vomiting or trying to.

A tattooed man (I couldn't make out any of the tattoos) is seated on a gurney, and seems quite unhappy and disoriented. He has yellow stains across each cheek, as if he puked up something yellow recently. In both cases it's too hard to say if the whites of their eyes are at all reddened, but it seems like they are. By video's end both men have been walked off - unsteadily - towards (the hospital?).

The tattooed man, apparently, is seen in the SMART News video holding his hands in the air as if he's planning to conduct a symphony but still trying to decide what the music will be (note a possible tattoo on inner left forearm is visible in the clinic image). And as noted, that may be him above seated to the right of Fayez.

OPCW FFM report gives the reported symptoms, tending to all be totally shared by all 11 patients, thought it's said 2 were worse off than the others: "Physicians described, from memory, nine ambulatory patients presenting with mild signs and symptoms of exposure, while two other patients presented with moderate signs and symptoms, displaying an altered mental state that required them to be assisted." That's probably the same ones that we see - the tattooed conductor and the thin guy. They also required extended treatment; "approximately two hours of treatment and observation before being discharged." The other nine were out the door long before that.

"5.21 ... Patients displayed nausea, eye irritation, and excessive secretions. They also presented with shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and crepitus during auscultation." (audible wheezing or popping in the lungs)
"5.22 ... No secondary exposure was reported."

Props to Michael Kobs for noting the visual conflict with the reports (my 'remix' of his graphic is below). This man is one of the 11, and he does not have the constricted pupils to show sarin, when it was reported for all 11. The others probably don't display it either, but there aren't many views this good. It should be noted that miosis tends to last a long time after the event - usually a couple of days, as I hear, even in moderate cases. He's in the SAMS clinic, just got the toxins washed off. His hair is still wet, yet that observed miosis has already faded? Not likely.

As noted, if this were a chlorine-sarin attack, the sarin would likely be "diminished" so it would be less effective as a weapon, or not effective at all. But there is some possible wiggle-room in the neutralization; it won't be total and instant, but will take place over some moments, and maybe some molecules of the sarin will escape totally intact. So it might be possible to have diminished symptoms instead of none, and then limited secondary contamination - if the wind blew this mixture your way. Could that also explain the lack of miosis? Possibly, but then why were medics noting miosis that wasn't there? Just to help clarify the picture for us? In the interest of truth? Not likely. More likely that's due to the lack of the right wind and/or the right chemicals.

"5.34 No chest X-rays were performed on any of the casualties." This is why "crepitus during auscultation" is mentioned instead - that's crackles audible when listening to the chest with a stethoscope. (originally I just saw "crepitus" and wondered why sarin OR chlorine would cause popping air bubbles in their joints). This probably doesn't matter, but ...

"5.36 No biomedical samples were taken." They would be hard to verify anyway, but conveniently, they didn't even have to have these guys do the token dose routine. Just have sarin turn up at the site, and have someone say "miosis" and viola - you're a sarin victim. Not that the OPCW's people were willing to fully sign on with that, but it's worked for a lot of other people, who'll be pulling the OPCW along, pressuring them to make the science agree too.

Other victim issues
SNHR report gives the "civilian" men as:
Haithan Amad Kafrtouni, age 53
Omar AbdulKarim Kafrtouni, 20
Hasan Manhal Haj Hussein, 22
Hasan Hussein al Safar, 24
Fayez Ahmad Khattab, 45
Hussein Zuhair Bakir, 32
Eyad Maher Kafrtouni, 20
Dammar Hasan Haj Hussein, 36

Somehow these 8 have relatives all over who were also the only other locals who reported a gas release: Manhal Haj Hussein, one of the residents who was exposed to the poisonous gases from the latest attack, spoke to Syrians for truth and justice: “At about 9 pm, while I was sitting and my family at home, we heard a helicopter approaching the place, and only a few minutes until we started smelling a strange smell inside the house. Then, I fainted, and then the civil defense teams arrived and took me to the hospital...” But he's not one of these 11 patients, so must have gone to a different hospital? He does specify "one of the medical points adjacent to the city." Huh. And as it happens, his apparent son, by name - Hasan Manhal Haj Hussein, age 22 - happened to be in the fateful shelter along with an apparent cousin, a son of Hasan Haj Hussein.

And yet another relative, a possible brother of Manhal, is among the very few to get on the record here: "Ali Hajj Hussein and his family" did not flee, CNN's Arwa Damon heard. "He was at home with his pregnant wife and two children when they heard helicopters overhead just after 10 p.m. They heard the sound of something falling, and then the screams began." It sounds like none of them suffered serious effects and never had to seek treatment.

So implicitly, this gas moves against its own flow (see next point) to find the only militants around (considering everyone thought it was zero) - and also flows wherever is needed to find the relatives of two of these, in two separate homes in the area? And all this while avoiding - as far as we can tell - the home or shelter of anybody else in this town? What will the OPCW and IIT's intrepid investigators find to make sense of this?

And in another oddity, Assad's attacks seek out the victims to finish off later; Mahmoud Kafratoune, age 20, told CNN's Damon "We had left the neighborhood, but my father stayed because of the house and his work." And so he "was among those affected by the chemical attack," the report continues, "only to be killed days later in the same area by another strike as he was stacking sacks of grain in a truck." The list gives Haithan Amad Kafrtouni, age 53, as the apparent father. And it lists two possible nephews of his (sons of Maher and AbdulKarim) that stayed with him and became gas victims, but did not get blown up later, as far as we know. And again, everyone is clear none of those three men nor any of the other 3-6 hanging out with them were militants who might get blown up during an effort to kill soldiers or kidnap their fellow citizens, for example. If they're gassed or blown-up, it's only while protecting their home, rescuing or helping to feed people. Obviously.

I checked VDC killed database … Only person of this name killed in the right span is Firas Kafrtouni, civilian, photo. Aside from the sacks (of food?) he's shown next to, not an evident match. Not the father of a 20-year-old man, at age 28, but from Saraqib. It says he died 13 march, 2018 "Due to his wounds sustained by the regime forces artillery shelling on the city"

No one else of that name appears in the relevant span (anytime since 4-Feb., prior to that report and to now). The best I can find is a civilian (they says) called "Abo Ziad" - from Idlib, somewhere. Died Feb. 10 from IED explosion, no details, no one blamed. That's from a list of five men from Idlib called Abu something killed that day. Turns out the rest died in clashes and such, not the same event. The other 4 "Abu" guys are all non-civilians. I bet this was one also was, and this "Abu Ziad" was one of the men who took part in that staged chemical attack.

Impacts and gas spread
Videos with site imagery - some images forthcoming:

* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WAcv2YIzO0
SMART news agency - footage from impact sites, especially #2 (on the slope) up close on 5 Feb. 3:16
* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC4yM8oq4uU
At the scene, 5 Feb. panning across bleached grass and crater at impact 1 (in the road) 1:52

Directional impact clues? From the northwest perhaps? Or from straight above? analysis f/c...

The following on gas spread is just from the OPCW report's images compared to satellite views from Google Earth. Wind GUESS in the report: 4 km/h from SE, TO NW. To the northeast is needed to blow it to the basement the casualties were said to be in.  But that's a worldweatheronline prediction. A better indicator might be the visible areas of bleached grass.

Feb. 6, 2018 image shows fresh impacts since last image (Aug. 9,
2017), and the one bleached area quite clearly (suggesting it is a pretty recent event, probably on the reported day).  The bleached area in the north (1) is very unclear here - maybe it continued browning and dying to reveal bare earth over the next 2 days. It does seem to be the hollow, that soaked up a lot of gas.

Also, something was burned in the pit NEAR area marked purple since then - smaller hole dug there too, but unfilled? catches the light. Same appearance over following images, 5-9-18 buried over with a large mound of earth. This is just a few meters from the sort of hollow they dragged cylinder 1over to prior to sampling.

1. depression, pooled in all directions w/little spread
2. on a slope, spread largely downhill to the road

So it seems wind mattered fairly little, and topography was the main mover here. 4km/h might be right, I don't know - it's slow. Direction: In both cases but especially impact 1, The bleaching effect at the west and north parts get fuzzier - that could be wind spread, which comes along with dispersion. So the same basic northwest that was predicted (lucky break).

The side towards the basement where wheezing was allegedly induced - a sharper cutoff probably marking the contour of the hollow it filled. This shows there was hardly any flow at all towards "basement." It's possible enough would spread peripherally to smell or even be felt, depending on its strength. but not very likely, and not likely to lead to any severe exposure.

Note: this is a good image below, but there are some reports of locals besides these men saying they at least smelt the gas and/or felt some effects (more review f/c). Those stories could be true or not; that spread looks real, but screened witnesses may not be. But no one else is reported as being patients at the hospital we heard from - just the 6-8-9 men at that place perpendicular to the wind, and who were also militants. They just have a natural magnetic effect, from being so amazingly "civilian."? No there are hidden factors here - like these militant were involved in a CW false-flag operation by their militant allies that went awry, or according to plan, depending.

Since no explosion was heard, one occupant exited the basement a few minutes after
impact to assess the situation. He returned to basement and reported an odour of
chlorine. Shortly afterwards, he lost consciousness. The remaining occupants in the
basement shelter reported a pungent odour and immediately developed shortness of
breath, nausea, and a burning sensation in the eyes. Some of them reported losing

The implausibility of mixing sarin and chlorine
It seems the acidic properties of chlorine gas would probably attack and break don any sarin it came in contact with. Considering that chlorine-related compounds like sodium hypochlorite are used for decontamination of nerve agents like sarin. I haven't gone through all the details to be sure, so this area still deserves a better assessment, maybe by a trained chemistry expert. But here are a couple of sources that provide some of the details one could check:
* "The Chlorine-catalyzed Hydrolysis of Isopropyl Methylphosphonofluoridate (Sarin) in Aqueous Solution" Joseph EpsteinVirginia E. BauerMelvin SaxeMary M. Demek. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1956, 78, 16, 4068-4071 http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja01597a056?journalCode=jacsat&
* "As a decontaminant agent, sodium hypochlorite has been used and tested specifically to neutralize or remove traces of blister or nerve agents on skin, military equipment, or in soils" NIH.gov

Seymour Hersh mixes some erred thinking with genuine-seeming insights to claim the U.S. military "tested, in the Fifties, they tested chlorine with nerve agent to see how – whether the chlorine would supe [sic] it up. In fact what the chlorine did is it grabbed all the hydrogen molecules and diminished it. There's just no way you can use sarin and chlorine, as was written about all the time. I'm just talking about facts." https://al-bab.com/blog/2018/06/seymour-hersh-syria-theres-no-such-thing-chlorine-bomb

Of course one could mix them. The question is just what happens next - is it an effective weapon? What happens to the sarin? It will break down quicker, but there's reason to think it would also turn to different chemicals than usual - chlorinated forms of the standard breakdown products. As the WGSPM noted in a briefing note:
"If the sources quoted above are correct, the finding of chlorinated organic molecules and unchlorinated sarin breakdown products in the same samples suggests that the sarin breakdown products may have been added later. … We can find no published studies of the effect of dry chlorine on organophosphate nerve agents. If the conditions for chlorination (which include exposure to light or presence of impurities that could act as catalysts) were sufficently favourable for other organic molecules to undergo chlorination, we might expect that sarin or its breakdown products would undergo chlorination. If the sources quoted above are correct, the finding of chlorinated organic molecules and unchlorinated sarin breakdown products in the same samples suggests that the sarin breakdown products may have been added later. This casts further doubt on the integrity of the process by which these samples were provided to the Fact-Finding Mission." http://syriapropagandamedia.org/working-papers/briefing-note-the-alleged-chemical-attack-in-douma-on-7-april-2018-and-other-alleged-chlorine-attacks-in-syria-since-2014

So even our best minds can only reason that there probably should be chlorinated DIMP, IMPA, etc. instead of the usual forms that appeared. But the reasoning sounds good and this question should be raised.

And we could note the FFM was apparently unable to find a way to make it all work, or they would have explained this chlorine-sarin bomb and its expected traces, and set the blame up far better than they did. Instead, upon noting sarin-related compounds, they described them vaguely as "chemicals that can neither be explained as occurring naturally in the environment nor as being related to chlorine." Even after noting that they also caused non-chlorine medical symptoms (i.e. allegedly mattered), they could only conclude "there was insufficient information and evidence to enable the FFM to draw any further conclusions on these chemicals at this stage." Maybe because they didn't make scientific sense - just yet? Apparently someone hopes the IIT can set a different stage and find a "correct" answer to this riddle.

Newborn Babies Involved?
A video on Twitter shows two tiny babies screaming on a gurney in a hospital that actually appears to be filled with thick greenish gas, although that could be a video effect. However, I don't think so. Even between the camera and the gurney it's thick enough visible shifting gas can be seen. Over the edge, it's a fog. Someone's feet five feet away are only half visible. The cameraman and the guy with the hazy feet seem to turn and walk away and leave them there. The date is 4 Feb. 2018 and the text with it translates: "#Urgent 3 cases of suffocation in Saraqib city due to targeting the city with chlorine gas Helicopters belonging to the Assad regime threw explosive barrels loaded with chlorine gas on the city of Saraqeb." Which 3 people would that be? There were the 6-8 men and here, shown, 2 tiny babies... https://twitter.com/Ali13919578/status/960291259746324481

"The Syrian regime hit Idlib countryside again with chlorine gas" comes with an image of a WH rescuer with a tiny baby in a blanket, dead external link. https://twitter.com/newsemaratyah/status/960404919776829440

Another shows a tiny baby at the very start, being wheeled out, others evacuated, apparently in connection with "Russian and Syrian forces claim the lives of dozens of civilians, including children and women, by targeting two hospitals in Maarat al-Numan, and hit chlorine gas on the city of Saraqeb" The SNHR report claimed the hospital there was targeted just prior to the chemical attack in Saraqeb. CNN's Arwa Damon also heard about hospital attacks in Maarat Numan and perhaps in Saraqeb itself … CNN report with 2 related videos attached "During that period, six medical facilities were targeted in airstrikes in Idlib province alone, including one of the key remaining hospitals that has a maternity ward. When it was bombed, teams had to evacuate staff and patients as well as premature babies, who were removed from their incubators, wrapped in blankets and sent away in ambulances in the hopes they would arrive at another medical facility before they died."

This could explain the mentioned imagery, except maybe the green gas image with Saraqeb specified and 3 cases of suffocation spoken of. This is worth a little digging. ...
Tweets Timeline
People tell me Twitter always displays the local time. Bullcrap. The times I see here are clearly hours off, I think the standard (10 hour?) diff. between my time zone and Syria's. Timeanddate.com gives a current 10 hour offset. So I add half a day (switch AM and PM), then subtract two hours for the following tweets. The one with the spooky video - https://twitter.com/Ali13919578/status/960291259746324481 - time 3:17 PM on my end = 1:17 AM on Feb 5. Again, the incident was said to be about around 9:20-9:30 PM.
* 9:44PM One person only had tweeted the exact same text about 3 suffocating, but with no video, hours earlier, at 9:44 pm. Nawras Ghazal @eg_nawras https://twitter.com/eg_nawras/status/960237607061016576. This is the earliest of all in 4 Feb. a timeline with Arabic tweets including suffocation + Saraqeb. A few repeat the 3 part in between, but mostly the record shifts like so - very quickly:
* 9:47 dropping the 3, "#Urgent Cases of suffocation..." https://twitter.com/6kdP26eXrjQ55Lj/status/960238510547619840
* 9:47 # Urgent Cases of civilian suffocation (now they're talking about the militant guys?) https://twitter.com/HalabTodayTV/status/960238521306042369
* 9:47 "9 civilians" (and that's the basic number - either an extra civilian or the WH total including themselves, also called civilian) https://twitter.com/Fr_faham/status/960238672443531264
From here the same things get repeated - no one has images, specifics or much for explanatory links. So one with an image stands out:
* 11:54 "9 cases of asphyxiation in Saraqeb city of Edlib countryside due to targeting with chlorine gas, delivered by helicopter" and about 7 or 8, maybe 9 wrapped infants are shown. Some of them look ill, injured.

* 12:24 Syrian Coalition tweet: "3 people suffocated with chlorine gas in Saraqeb..." https://twitter.com/SyrianCoalition/status/960247733947977735
* 12:24 More than 9 cases of suffocation among civilians https://twitter.com/alhamwi_10/status/960247692839538690
* 12:45 the Civil Defense reported 9 cases of poisoning with toxic chlorine gas in Saraqeb town (probably by now the WH tally: 6 "civilian" men and 3 of their own guys) https://twitter.com/Fouadhallak89/status/960253053466300416
* 1:55 pm an oddity: "Five civilians suffocated ..." https://twitter.com/raialyoum1/status/960270536348663809
A linked article explains in this case, the SOHR is cited - they might have their own source for at five locals - possibly even genuine - who reported to them. The fact that an usual five is cited supports this. But perhaps they got a slightly different report about the same 6-8 "civilians." "According to the Observatory, an unpleasant smell was reported after Syrian Army helicopters targeted several areas in Saraqeb city in Idlib governorate, causing five cases of suffocation among civilians."

In review No one else posted the spooky newborns video that took hours to appear ... A quick review of tweets by Ali13919578 suggests he's not usually privy to insider videos. He might well have dug it up from somewhere else (where?) and tacked it onto his retweet of an hours-old claim. But then the video might relate - maybe something he saw in other channels going with a message both he and Ghazal copied, one with the video and one without. If so, we could put that scene as earlier than the rest of the reports, before the "3 cases" switched to "cases" and then 9 "civilians." So this is inconclusive so far, not a solid lead. But the possibility remains so it might be worth more looking into.
--- unsorted
They headed to the rooftop of an adjacent building. On the
way upstairs, a few of them lost consciousness and others struggled to reach the roof.
They reported helping each other climb the stairs and using cloths to cover their
mouth and nose. They also reported calling for rescue via a hand-held radio.
The first team of three SCD rescuers arrived at the site. The first rescuer stepped out
of the vehicle felt a strange smell and immediately covered his nose and mouth with a
paper mask; but had difficulty breathing and lost consciousness. While en route to the
medical point, other team members reported developing similar symptoms.
two other patients
presented with moderate signs and symptoms, displaying an altered mental state that
required them to be assisted.
3 SCD, the 8 men, 11 patients total.
No chest X-rays were performed on any of the casualties.
5.35 Nine casualties were discharged within two hours of arrival, while two others needed
approximately two hours of treatment and observation before being discharged.
5.36 No biomedical samples were taken.

"crepitus during auscultation" (listening to the chest)

Some early casualty figures gave 6 men initially affected instead of 8, or gave a total of "9 cases of suffocation, including 3 injured Civil Defense Volunteers."