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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Douma's Mask of Death, part 1

< Douma Chemical Massacre, April 7, 2018
< Victim Analysis
Douma's Mask of Death, part 1
2019 re-write
July 8, 2019
last update 7/13

For over a year this space was inhabited by a poorly-formatted article that was never updated to match the importance of the subject. For reference, that's still available, just moved here. The following is a cleaned-up, to the point, and updated summary. Considering the gravity of the matter, and the relevance of this peculiar evidence, it's still not quite what the subject deserves, but a solid effort to help make this difficult argument easier to understand.

My explanation: tied upside-down with goggles
In all the discussion and controversy over the Douma alleged chemical attack of April, 2018, most have overlooked the very unusual appearance (clinical signs or “symptoms”) of the few dozen civilians who died. Some observers have rightly noticed and wondered about these details, but most didn't even notice them, and perhaps only I have the knowledge, imagination, and follow-up to reason out and grasp what it shows. If true, this would be a big crack in the case pointing to a horrible reality behind this hideous crime that was already suggested by the best evidence.

The basic problem with the Douma victims was evident from the first images I saw, including the woman with what I dubbed mask 1. She in particular was perhaps shown off thinking the bizarre look just added to the horror of Assad's chlorine bombs – but this unusual detail, on careful consideration, points very much in another direction. After mask 1 emerged, I noted a few other cases, quickly clarifying we had an unusual mystery to solve.

In years of studying alleged chemical attacks and other events, including looking at the fatalities as possible, I have never seen anything quite like this. Yet it didn't take very long to decide on about what I still maintain; by April 28, I had the first draft of this article up, with the first six examples of what I dubbed the "mask of death." The clarity of the pattern varies, but there are ten cases I've since found to show this “mask” solidly, and it's visually suggested in at least thirteen other cases. The unusual clues evident with 23 victims - a clear majority of the 35+ seen - it's extremely relevant to establishing the manner of their killing.

Herein the "mask" pattern refers to an area of skin shaped somewhat like a "domino" mask around the eyes, but with a narrowing strip down to the mouth with a differing appearance. The basic shape is best represented by the image below, extracted from the clearest case, "Mask 1" (sampling the colors onto their own layer, and some softening effects for the rest - artistic liberties that I find clarify the important parts and minimize the photo-reality of the horror).
This area of skin tends to be filled with a yellow-brown to black coloration and/or a sort of burning irritation. This appears differently above the eyes, but is especially strong under the eyes, across the upper cheeks, and sometimes the bridge of the nose, fading and narrowing down the upper cheeks towards the mouth and nose, where it fades away or stops suddenly. And quite notably, there are extremely distinct exclusions to the staining right around the eyes, sealing the impression of a domino mask.

The next four cases, all on children, are not far off in clarity: mask cases 2, 3, 5, and 6 are compiled at right, with some filters to the same effect as above. All these have reference and context images included below, with sources largely tracked back down and linked to. While mask 4 and some others aren't clear enough to merit a taller picture, these five images should be alarming to anyone with an idea of what makes sense for dead people, even in an alleged chlorine attack. The others add to the picture, but mainly we need to consider what that picture shows, which I focus on with the bulk of this article.

As noted above, there's no clear precedent; this is a total anomaly demanding an unusual and original explanation. And as covered in detail below, it seems these effects are caused by fluid coughed up as the victims suffocated on it. Gravity being what it is, this fluid would only flow "up" the victim's face like that if it were upside-down. They could be laying down with head tilted back, or quite likely with their whole bodies suspended upside-down. The prevalence of this death position would certainly be another odd detail to consider.

The total of 23 cases examined here suggest that most or all of the fatalities were killed in captivity. They may have been comprised of entire Syrian families as claimed, but they weren't just sheltering from bombs. It seems they held in poor conditions for varying times, and at the end were tied-up, probably in a barren basement somewhere reconfigured as an improvised gas chamber. The clearest signs suggesting the rest say the victims were probably fitted with swimming goggles over their eyes before the fatal gas turned on them. Some horrible people would have then left these children, women, and men to suffocate with yellow-brown fluids pouring “up” their faces, staining areas all around but not inside the goggles. It sounds bizarre, besides horrible, but no one has an explanation, aside from the one you're reading. And if one takes the time to follow along, it makes total sense as for explaining the physical evidence, if nor having an obvious reason...

I'll cover the ideas first, in text with minimal imagery, with most of the original images moved lower and with sources at least partially cited and linked. Please check these if you can and need to; this is important to see and understand, to challenge if possible, and to increase acceptance if it proves a strong enough explanation.

Add July 13: Why this is a flow pattern
Thanks to Qoppa 999, I've identified a serious stumbling block for his and others' understanding. He insisted there was clearly no flow pattern from the mouth and nose that my hypothesis requires, most explicitly here. "You'd have to see a direction following a "path" from origin. Here in red what this might look like" (image as shown, or imagine it flowing to the other side, more straight up the middle from both sides as it seems, etc.). But in the immediate area of supposed origin, there's little to no such staining.

I hadn't realized how confusing that could be, but I'm unfazed; as I always suspected, and suggest now, it's an issue of contact time, This principle is already explained some in the article, but it's worth a clearer summation up top to clarify the issue.

First, consider most fluids passinge over skin would leave no visible sign. Only some will stain, burn, or leave other notable traces, and even then maybe not in all cases, or evenly across the affected area. So clearly no trace does not mean no fluid passed. But here - there is a trace in some areas, and if it all came from the nose and mouth as I propose, you might expect those areas to be the most affected. But consider the effect - be it staining, irritation, or other - would set in over a time we don't need to specify. If so, areas passed over quickly might show no sign, but where the stuff lingers the tissue might suffer visible staining, burning, etc. This is just how it always seemed to me - at the mouth and nose there's little sign, but at the expected traffic jam of mucous below the goggle lenses the skin tends to be the worst off over a wide area. So it takes a little-filling-in, but we can see how the shape of the mask otherwise is sort of triangular, pointing to the mouth and nose - the airway exits, and logical sources for any facial fluid on people who almost certainly died suffocating on fluids they would manage to expel a lot of. Considering the point I raise, I think that filling-in is warranted.

A new graphic finally turns mask 1 upside-down to help make the point. Actually not much filling in is necessary here, past my initial color-keying that was always clear on where it's lighter vs. darker, with the implications I always got - some areas might be so lightly stained you can't even see it.

I did forget here to draw in some faster flow at the forehead to what I suspect are gather-and-drip points. But that's debatable anyway. It's the lack of sign at the source that's so confusing. But as this color-coded view shows, the color is like a speed chart, with darker shades (and/or deeper burning) indicating a slower flow, so in a way what we see is a lack-of-flow pattern, while the main flow leaves almost no visible sign because that takes time, and this stuff was just too busy moving on, under a force I take to be gravity.

Consider also these clues seen on PPR 7's mouth - the main flow area stays pretty clear, while the edges, and shallow-inclined plane it would flow slower across have suffered the kind of stain-rash she displays. And note this victims seems less upside-down and more laid flat, face-up. Note the suggested mild upward flow, going further up the crease to the nose, probably because some shielding across her cheek prevented its natural flow down that side, forcing a fairly small amount to pool up here for some time.

<End 7/13 add>

Other possible causes
It would be helpful to consider why the mask of death is unlikely to have an explanation other than what I propose. I won't be able to cover this entirely here, but comments are open. Discussion of possibilities can be quite lengthy, so please consider the following points as a start point before issuing any half-baked, time-wasting challenges. A hint: specific knowledge and a well-based, specific reason would really help your case. I'm not an expert nor infallible, but this case deserves serious consideration and a real answer.

First, there is a general sense of heavy smoke exposure, with many victims - their hands especially - coated in soot. There was a lot of bombing and surely many fires in Douma, plumes of concrete dust and smoke, and predictable reports of people suffering breathing problems. At right: mask 10, not that it's obvious here - soot-coated clothes, also hands and feet, but washed face. Small scratches on the cheek are probably from movements after death, not seeming irritated by the fatal gassing. And how much movement was there?

So smoke inhalation might play into the story, as some suspect being the cause of death for the victims in question. But this in itself can't account for the strange clinical signs. Or can anyone show how breathing smoke makes the upper face get stained like that, with a goggles-shaped exclusion?

To be clear, this unusual stain is a real phenomenon others can see, even if they can't explain it. The OPCW's “Fact-Finding Mission” (FFM) explained in their March, 2019 final report: “Several victims display degrees of periorbital discoloration," which may not be the right word. It means “around the eyes,” and usually right around them - all skin that's inside the eye socket. The oddity here is how this area is mainly clear, while the edges and skin around it (peri-periorbital?) is discolored, and even blistered. Helpfully, the FFM did add this (emphasis mine):
"8.101 The periorbital discoloration is not associated with any specific known toxic exposure. To determine whether it is due to a physiologic response to exposure to a toxic substance or simply post-mortem changes would require additional steps."

The FFM perhaps never intended to take those steps, leaving the point unclear. It's not a “specific” (physiological) effect of any poison, and I agree. But they left it open it might be a "physiological" (perhaps meaning unusual, victim-specific) chemical effect. That could explain it, maybe. But why so many peculiar cases with no “specific known” explanation and an unspecified mystery required?

They also considered possible body changes after death (postmortem), but these too are generally specific and known, given names like rigor mortis, etc.. I suppose they'd call this one “masca mortis” if it existed. The FFM probably did look for it, but could not find any known effect to cite. Yet they still had to suggest it might be one they don't know about, because - as they acknowledge - it wouldn't happen directly from any known chemical. It probably was caused by some toxin, but there has to be another part to the story.

For anyone wondering, this should be no kind of decay visible on the Douma victims. These bodies display rigor mortis as seen, especially the following morning. This muscle stiffening is worst for a long span from about 12-24 hours after death, slowly relaxing after that. So they died the previous day and no earlier, and wouldn't be changing color. From my studies, this only happens after a couple of days in the open, starting with a faint green patch on the lower abdomen that slowly spreads, and nothing in particular around the eyes.

I initially wondered if mask 1 displayed "raccoon eyes" (periorbital ecchymosis), bleeding into the eye socket from a skull injury; initially the eyelids and surrounding skin is flooded, swelling and bruising (turning purple). In this case it would be in the later, less swollen brown-bruise stage of healing. But I was able to rule that out based on the details; the color is lacking in the eyelids in general and from the upper socket, and present across the upper cheeks and other parts of the face that have nothing to do with periorbital issues, The affected areas have nothing common except the proposed relation to the goggles, straps, etc. and the pull of gravity.

To save time here, let's summarize: so far as I know and reason, there is no normal pattern of illness, poisoning, bruising, rash, allergic reaction, staining, premature decay, or anything else that would cause the pattern we see of localized darkening-irritation and distinct exclusions. Of course enough random things in a lucky combination might reasonably explain a single case, or maybe two or three, but not the dozens of them as we have here. Epidemiology-wise, this suggests a real pattern with causes worth pursuing, even if the only answer seems rather strange.

For good measure, I'll include a space for anything good that's added by way of an alternate cause. There are ideas I've already been presented, and was waiting to explain the inadequacies ... but clearly not in this space. Comments are open, and I'll start a Twitter thread to discuss it. Otherwise, let's move on to the details I can explain, and anyone else would have to in order to compete.

[ - space for alt. causes likely enough to cast serious doubt on the following - ]

Add July 10: that thread starts here: "#Syria #Douma's Mask of death pt. 1, 2019 re-write now online. Stranger than fiction and well-explained, inviting well-based alt. views here. Upside-down in goggles, or what else might explain it?"

Explained by feature
Any scenario that could compete with mine will need to find a logical cause for all of the features going into the mask pattern, which I'll try to summarize here under a few headers.

The staining, irritant fluid, and the foam
The only reasonable explanation I can see for the darkened areas is a recent exposure to a staining and irritating fluid, as the pattern points to the nostrils and the mouth as the origin, and they had issues with fluids in there. Sometimes the victims cough up mostly blood, but usually it's a yellow-orange to brown mucous that probably includes blood. The fatal chemical may add some color, if it's yellow. It apparently stains the skin in its color, most deeply in the areas where it flowed heavily but slowly.

Mask 2, victim B6 (mask 2) shows this staining in action; early views of him alone in a side-room show foam clogging his nose and piled up from his mouth, probably some hours after death. There's also liquid leaking down his cheeks – probably just what the foam will all become when the bubbles pop. The same strips down the cheek (especially on right side) are later stained yellow, with brown edges where the flow was slower. This is a the same effect from the same fluid earlier directed - by gravity - all to his upper face.

The colors vary by case from almost neon yellow to orange, brown, and essentially black colors, based on how the fluids – including blood – mixed in that case, and on whatever other factors. But it's presumably the same poison and same basic process for all of them.

The fluids in general - and especially the blood - suggests the victims inhaled a caustic gas that damages tissue. It also burns on the way back out, mixed with body fluids – on its own or in reaction with gas still in the air. I suspect this causes the irritation like a rash or even a chemical burn, depending on the case – seen clearly with masks 2, 5, and 6 – that may also worsen over time, even after death (see earlier vs. later images for masks 1 and 6, PPR 9). This also is worse in areas where it flowed slowly as opposed to a steady flow (see edge effect above, with PPR 7).

This would be an unusual type of pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs. It should generally be worked into a foam inside by the victim's efforts to breath through it (foam is bubbles, which is how air and liquids mix). In many cases, the foam exudes from the mouth and nose, appearing essentially white, as foam tends to do (the reflectivity of many tiny bubbles should make it appear whatever color the light source is). Seen closer-up, the foam is often faintly yellow-brown or sometimes pink with blood. Usually it seems to be what dissolves into the yellow-brown fluid seen under many victims; mask 6 for one has foam and pooled fluid visible at once.

In some cases the foam is strangely persistent,  the bubbles are suspiciously tiny, and the fluid unusually gummy, never dissolving away and sometimes (mask 9) hardening with bubbles intact, in a rather strange effect that some take as a sign of fake, added foam. This is fairly possible, but would have to involve some extra tricks and considering unknown factors, it could just be another sign of how they died - breathing in smoke, or plaster dust for all we know, and maybe even intentional dehydration prior to killing could make for thick fluid and bubbles that last, and even harden into porous little sculptures. And with mask 9, the clearest case of suspect foam that undergoes "rigor mortis" - it's tinged pink as if with blood (see images below). That too could be faked, but likely enough to be legitimate that any uncertainty on that point could just be worked around.

The exclusions to that fluid rule
As I've read around, involuntary eye-clenching is pretty standard after first contact with chlorine, to the point it's often difficult to force them open again just to see. But no kind of squinting or clenching the lids closed can explain the clear spots amid the staining - oval-shaped exclusions over the entire eyelids, with perhaps the exact size and shape of small swimming goggles. There are many features of the eye that might create a similar shape – the natural recess, the protective tendencies of the eyelids and the whole body, etc. But I'm confident these outlines cannot be explained in all these cases by any of these things, even if there were an explanation for the staining it puts a limit to.

I'm not sure how to show this visually, but it should be pretty evident; there is no way simple squeezed lids could cause this degree of shielding. It's too broad an area, especially across the upper lid, too smoothly ovular in shape, with no sign of wrinkling along the edges.

The totality of eye protection also supports the use of goggles. Nearly everyone will close their eyes at first chance, but there will be usually be irritation and redness of the sclera (eye surface) at least from the first contact that triggered that. Yet with most of their eyes visible, it seems none of these victims has red eyes. Some activists have tried to claim the clouded irises are a kind of burn effect proving a chemical attack. (in some images the medics show off the eyes, apparently for this reason). There can be scleral hazing from scar tissue once a burn heals, in bad cases causing blindness. Perhaps this happens immediately upon the injury in severe cases, but the initial burn should also include the redness of engorged capillaries we don't see here (as considered here in some detail). Opacity by itself is probably the standard post-mortem eye clouding, showing they died ... with no chemical damage to the eyes. It seems they were trying to show something else.

We can be sure the victims breathed a caustic agent, from the pulmonary edema and occasional blood. So for the eyes to avoid the same damage to this degree would require something like goggles, applied before the gassing began. And clearly, whoever fitted the goggles is the likely party to have opened the gas valve, or whatever it was.

Something else is needed anyway to explain the stripes of clear skin that seem shielded by straps across the cheeks and nose as if to secure the goggles. That's seen clearly with mask 1, and only faintly in other cases, including at least mask 4 as listed below. As with the goggles, the presence of straps atop these areas would also cause, as we see, areas of deeper staining that correspond to where this nasty fluid catches on the straps, especially with the nose of mask 1.

And of course the three-dimensional shape of goggles is suggested even more so than straps, by the extra effect beneath them. Similar eye protection can be provided by a flat, eye-shaped plastic patch, but being flat, it wouldn't cause this kind of buildup: this would be stick-out goggles. The fluid probably rolls over them as well as around the rim, the latter more slowly and leaving the stains we see. The broad area beneath stops at the outer curve, then there's just a thin line of fluid that rolls around the rim, along the top to about the mid-point, where gravity would make it drip off, so it falls to the floor, or trickles up into the eyebrows, etc. The upper rings on masks 1 and 2 only stop around the middle, after the fluid rolled around just the outer half, while mask 3 has it running across the whole top; extra fluid up the middle, never halted by a strap, so it flowed partly into the eye socket and around the goggle lenses from the inside as well.

Finally, there is a sort of sizable bump in the goggle outline on several victims – masks 2 and 5 along the bottom arc, masks 3 and 4 along the top, all fairly close to the center. With mask 2, I colored these areas pink. The color I chose at random made me think of wads of chewing gum used to help secure the goggles. That actually makes a bit of sense – some adhesive substance in a wad of varying size and shape. That may not be it, but I haven't thought of anything else yet, and aside from perhaps mask 4, none of these cases have straps suggested as with mask 1 (who conversely has no (gum bump?) in her outline.

Or, since the top side makes more sense for the inverted, maybe they all have one at the top, marked, in most cases, only by the stopping of the visible stain, which does seem to get a bit heavier right at the end (over the right eye on masks 1+2 …) Only mask 3 seems to trace the whole upper rim, and that has a full bump across the middle.

Undeniably upside-down
Mask 5 serves as another general illustration, with the upper arc of the goggles only thinly traced (as usual, only on the outer half) and with a brad swathe of apparent orange irritation below, similar to mask 2 (perhaps relating to subcutaneous fat deposits, or just the fluid's color?). She also has a small clear area beneath the lens similar to mask 2. As ventured, this might be some adhesive material. Some thing at the bridge of the nose only slowed the flow a little, for slightly deeper staining with no distinct edge – maybe rolling beneath a loose strap. Here at right I've labeled also the apparent burn spots on her forehead. With nothing obvious to cause a slowdown at these spots, maybe it's just gravity? There would be drip points, where fluid could roll no lower, and would gather there before it built up enough weight to drip off. With no spots seen higher up her head, unless they're totally under her hair (possible), I think these would have to be the drip points.

This loose cluster of spots appears on several foreheads: mask 1, 3, and 5 at least. Maybe they aren't drip points, but that seems reasonable since - as noted above - the general pattern under study requires the victims – at least their heads – have to be upside-down, or at least face-up and slanted so the chin is appreciably higher than the forehead. Especially if those forehead dots are drip points, the victim would have to be in a position similar to that shown at right – totally upside-down besides head tilted back, probably even more so then shown.

Note also how several victims, including masks 1 and 2, have extra-purple foreheads. The color is called livor mortis (blueness of death). The post-death settling of red blood cells to the lowest available parts of the body, plus a final blue-shift in their overall color, to a red-purple hue as seen. Their chins are more drained, left with a pale yellowish color that's separate from any yellow staining. That's “pallor mortis,” where the red cells have settled away. Gravity being what it is, a yellow chin will be higher than a purple forehead, and that for some time after death. Most logically it was that way during and just before death as well.

The degree of that separation is moderate to invisible in most cases, despite other clues for dying upside-down – those would be cut down soon after death, while other apparently were left for a while. In fact deeper staining and deeper color separation seem to correspond with the cases left up longer than the others, notable with masks 1, 2, and 3. And it's that kind of consistency that makes this detail so undeniable.

Why goggles?
So that's why we can know goggles were used, but why they would they be? If this were a false-flag killing by terrorists, and the manner of killing is quite harsh, providing goggles to protect the victims' eyes seems a strange choice - and one they might regret now, considering the telltale rings these left. What's the motive?

There's no certain or obvious answer to that, but my study offers a few possible reasons. There's a tendency in Syria over the years to show unaffected children on videos for chlorine attacks who have breathing masks on, but totally white eyes. This is a challenge they've posed to the known science, intentionally or not – we're to accept it damages the airways but not the eyes? When they report red eyes as a symptom half the time anyway? Perhaps the enforced white eyes here was just another blow in that war to revise what chlorine does, or sow mystery symptoms to hint at Assad's secret capabilities, etc. and keep the record confused and fungible.

I imagine there's a better reason than that, or likely a few of them working together. I'll say now I have one more immediate possible reason they went with goggles, and specifically invested in baby-sized ones, but since it isn't proof either, and I want to hold it as a surprise to make Douma's mask of Death part 4 worth reading (forthcoming, but not very soon).

So the lack of a clear reason is a relatively weak point of my hypothesis. But do note it also shows why I have no reason to make it up, aside from trying to explain this mystery. So far it's the only thing I can think of that would explain the mask and related signs and so it becomes a working hypothesis, motives aside. They must have had enough reason, or they wouldn't have done it.

This was Mass Murder
The only identified spot with fatalities is the apartment building beneath the poorly-staged “chlorine impact” at location 2 (as the OPCW's investigators termed it) – 35 deaths reported there, 34-35 bodies seen = pretty likely to be exactly 35 bodies. At least two alleged survivors have spoken on record, and there are claims of up to 50 people total. Now consider how chlorine exposure, while unpleasant, is generally non-fatal. Any group of this size at location 2 (35 dead + a few alleged survivors) should suffer probably zero deaths, maybe one or two, not 35. They would find it burns their eyes and lungs, but leaves them conscious and able to follow the instinct to get out of the concentration, to fresher air. And they would. But chlorine was the only toxic thing found widely by the OPCW at location 2, leaving these numerous deaths there not just uncertain but fairly implausible. Considering the bodies were never tested to see what killed them, while the alleged site of their death was tested, it's entirely possible the two do not fit together - they may well have died another way and elsewhere.

In fact, here - at “location 2” - if they were all in the basement as alleged, they would barely smell the stuff after it spread out on the street, and then partially drifted to the basement – if they fled, the instinct is to open air, and that's the first thing they'd find. Escaped! But no, they had to wash the poison off just their faces and hair, and the sinks were inside to the right, and upstairs if that washroom gets too busy... and so 35 people chose to go back in, as it turns out, to die in a still mysterious manner, and with those bizarre clinical signs we've been considering. This also does not add up.

Many observers have noted the chlorine-fatality problem, the voluntary anti-escape problem, or find some other reasonable cause for alarm, like how the bodies seem dragged around, placed arbitrarily, and even piled up. But the alarm that's sounded is often one of fairly banal fakery - suffocation victims from a building collapse or something, just happened upon and re-located here. This is a valid thought in general terms. But in the course of looking into these signs, it's become clear the killings cannot be explained that simply.

The mask pattern of staining/irritation and the distinct exclusions to it requires a special answer. There seems to be no simple explanation, so we'll be looking for the less complicated options. The only one suggested here is horrible but entirely possible: the fatalities were re-purposed from another place and event, that almost has to be a mass-murder with toxic chemicals. To best explain the evidence, they would be captives, hands-bound and suspended, likely upside-down, and strapped-up with goggles, and all – as explained above - before they were deliberately gassed.

Any sort of passive deception like extra foam might also be involved, but can hardly compare to the mass murder suggested by these central clues, and should not distract from them. There's a danger I might overrate that emphasizing “fake foam!” leads to fake = joke haha = no big deal, forget it. But this is, at its hideous heart, a mass murder, nothing to laugh away or explain away so casually.

To some observers, it's striking what poor conditions the victims seemingly lived in. One can debate war zone grubbiness, but the story is these folks died because they ran right to the sink to wash themselves, rather than escape to safety (see below). But for days or weeks prior to that, it seems, most of them let their hands, bare feet, hair, clothing, grow filthy with no bathing and no laundry washed. Well, maybe they were trapped in the basement and had no water? Until there's suddenly a chemical attack, anyway... this doesn't add up. And some of them did keep pretty clean somehow.

Poor conditions could be from detention where the jailers just don't care or are too busy to arrange these things, especially as they were busy getting totally defeated in these days. The cleaner ones might be recent captures. They could be other classes of people too, but the given stories don't add up, and we still have to ask - why are they dead next to sinks, with their faces washed maybe for the first time in a week?

Another thing to note is how the fluids apparently did nothing but flow up the face with little or no wiping away, or the pattern would be less clear. The victims wouldn't let so much build up under the lenses to almost melt the skin there, if they could help it, or they might wipe their foreheads rather than waiting for passive drips. If these things didn't happen, as it appears to me, it would essentially prove their hands were tied (from the visuals, in a manner that leaves no clear trace of it), but they did remain alive and wiggling – hence the varied flow patterns and drip points.

Whatever the supporting clues, the upside-down bondage and fixing of goggles prior to gas exposure is proof enough the victims were controlled captives. Civilians at liberty don't hang around in that state waiting for a gas attack. And whatever lack of clues – like much clear sign of recent binding on the wrists or ankles – the other evidence still all but requires it. There are ways to tie people up without leaving distinct marks, and one must have been used in this case.

Coverup, guilty conscience
The goggles and straps we see signs of would obviously be removed prior to documentation, or else we'd see more than just signs of them. So after being applied just before the gassing, this gear was kept in place during the murder, and only then was it removed by those managing the case, prior to displaying them for the world to see. So it was a clue they didn't want us seeing.

The corpses were apparently moved from the killing site and arranged at location 2 prior to this display, to help pin the blame on the illogically planted chlorine cylinder there. So in this scenario, the place of death, with the tossed-aside goggles and straps, in another thing they hid from view.

The FFM's report also notes: “Many of the victims appear to have wet hair in what seems to be an otherwise dry environment,” Which was “difficult to assess and is possibly due to profound diaphoresis shortly before death.” That means “cold sweats,” a small part of Sarin's SLUDGE syndrome, with most other parts lacking here and with no relation to chlorine. Further, as a Working Group briefing note concluded: “This does not explain why only the faces and hair of the victims are wet, or why they remain wet after their supposedly sudden deaths which the report assigns to a time three hours before the images were recorded” (my emphasis). The briefing note also mentions an ignored and more logical possibility that “victims’ faces were washed after death to remove signs of how they had been killed.” That links to my article suggesting the activists did that trying to wash off this “mask,” only to find out it was already stained in. They didn't want us to see it, but it was either that or don't show the bodies, so we saw it. Few noticed, but now that we have...

In fact the opposition activists claim the victims had tried to wash themselves off instead of fleeing, based on what alleged survivors reported, and seeing how they had wet hair and mainly died next to sinks and basins of water. That would be a reasonable conclusion except that it's absurd. This is a bizarre point the FFM seems to have dismissed, perhaps to improve the narrative. They note as an open mystery how the victims don't seem to have tried escaping, but do not have them washing up in lieu of that. No, it was decided they just had really sweaty foreheads, and also ran back inside to drop dead, for two or three unexplained mysteries.

The possible culprits:
This alleged chlorine attack came at the end of a brutal six-year rule over the Damascus suburb by the Saudi-backed “Army of Islam” (Jaish Al-Islam, JaI – formerly Liwa al-Islam, also a founding member of the broader “Islamic Front”). JaI are technically “moderate” forces vocally opposed to ISIS (considering part of the satanic plot w/Iran + Syria), but generally allied with the Al-Qaeda franchise I call Jabhat al-Name-change, and to any other outfit, no matter how extreme or brutal. Jaish al-Islam is notorious for just the known portion of their criminal, sectarian, even genocidal actions against the people of Syria, with barbaric massacres, mass kidnapping of civilians, slavery, suspicions of chemical weapons use, and an uncertain amount of deceit. (partly covered on this blog, with a best overview perhaps here). They had since 2013 ruled half the Damascus suburbs and parts of the city, but by April, 2018 their domain was whittled down to their home base of Douma, and that was set to crumble as well. Soon the JaI militants would control nothing but their seat on the green bus to Idlib, as agreed - no weapons, no hostages, no sudden moves. So consider just before the surrender they were also at their last chance to use any captured civilians, and there's some cause to believe they routinely used these as the props for their various allegations.

This “Army of Islam” held unclear thousands of captives - military and civilian - at any one time, and as I recall it was about 3,000 they promised to free in the final surrender deal. But as widely noted, only some 200 prisoners were released in the end. Whatever those exact numbers, it seems quite a few people went missing. It's hard to say when that happened, but it's quite likely some 35-43+ of them were gassed for the incident under study.

Some would doubt, as Louis Proyect did in a recent Counterpunch article, "the notion that jihadi devils would have killed 43 people in a city that was a stronghold of poverty-stricken Sunni resistance to Assad for 7 years." (see also my review of Proyect's “Marxist” critique) A tidbit few know that emerges with more specific knowledge: at least 1/3 of the identified fatalities seem to be related to an "FSA" commander with the rare family name Bakriyeh, whose Douma Martyrs' Brigade led a 2014 “Sunni resistance” to the Saudi-backed overlords Jaish Al-Islam. That “Jaish al-Umma” rebellion was ruthlessly crushed and its leaders killed, except the few who re-grouped, forced by the two choices left to side with the Syrian government. Commander Bakriyeh was already killed in clashes a few months before that rebellion, the same day as an apparent brother died in supposedly coincidental “shelling.”

Then and later, the Bakriyeh family might be seen as fair game for killing, or for kidnapping, depending what Fatwas the militants were following at the time. 12+ apparent relatives of commander Bakriyeh are among the 35 identified fatalities (11 with that name, and surely some married in with other names). (see here for a solid but rambling explanation). We can't be certain these are their real names, nor that it relates in that way if so, but for their part, these likely captives were never released to tell their side of the story. Opposition “activists” were left to relate a story on their behalf, and as we've seen, that story is full of holes.

The visual record: ten mask cases
The following further image analysis explains ten core examples of “Douma's mask of death” - revised for clarity from my original list, shortened - only clear mask cases, with 13 partial matches and related signs listed below as possible-partial-related. All are unusual and suggest the same complex cause with individual variations – 23 in total is a clear majority, suggesting it's done to most or all victims, with some just having no visible sign.

These are cropped from various photos and video stills, mostly Anadolu/Getty ones, some from SMART News, Douma coordinating Committee, others.

Many images can be found in the couple pages of this this search at Getty images. Some of these scenes are from or could have been from nine of the 18 videos collected at Syrian archive - in order listed there (direct linking doesn't work):
1 - 0:54 Fadi Abdullah, Douma coordinating ?unit=e296ff5 - Location 2, quick pan of washroom
2 - unrelated
3 - 2:27 Douma coord, Fadi Abdullah ?unit=ac6f4f3
4,5,6 unrelated
7 - 2:19 Yaser al-Douman / Douma coordinating ?unit=61254b8 - Location 2
8, 9 unrelated
10 - 1:00 Douma coordinating video ?unit=ae9f6c2 - later, point 1
11 - 0:14 Douma coordinating ?unit=615df53 at https://syrianarchive.org/en/collections/chemical-weapons/database?incident=DOU070418 - later, point 1
12 - 2:16 Fadi Abdullah ?unit=eb7351e - location 2, early all-over view, timed at 10pm
13 unrelated
14 - 1:52 SMART News ?unit=1916c20 - location 2
15 - 3:48 Yaser al-Doumani / Douma coord ?unit=67697e7 - location 2
16 unrelated
17 - 2:29 Yaser al-Doumani ?unit=7b45165 - location 2
18 - 1:38 Qasioun News Agency ?unit=ef6ac9f - location 2

Images shared often cropped, etc. with various global enhancements (mainly increased color saturation), usually noted. Source links: partial, perhaps more tracked down later. I consider this fair use as usual, in the public interests of pursuing truth and justice. 

I gave each identified case a "mask" number in the order identified. The first six are listed here as they were in the original article, and the rest were never clarified well until now. Even now it's not certain - I did things a bit in the wrong order: some review and a list revision, then most writing based on that, then some more review and image analysis, suggesting more revisions that ... just don't seem that pressing. The whole division is a bit arbitrarty, all valuable notes I had are included. So some may belong below, and some below may belong here - all 23 are worth considering.

For each mask or PPR entry, I also give the victim reference number as laid out in the “location 2” floor plan infographics for the 35 fatalities and since it just take two images, or one big one for a shortcut (new tab for readable size).

Here are the entries:

Mask 1, victim W7
The first image above compiles three views of this victim, with no enhancements. This is how she looked. This being the most vivid case, it's used for the first illustration here: darker brown all around the eyes, fading to yellow down the cheeks, but with a clear-skin dividing line up each cheek, following no normal folds of the skin, and seeming to cross at the bridge of her nose. There and beneath the goggle lenses seem the most darkened of all. The unusually dark color of her mask – nearly black along the upper half – might be from a high blood content, and/or possibly some unusual feature, like high heat that “burned” the stains even darker. Lower on the cheeks, and inherent in dissolving foam, is a more standard yellow-brown color. A slightly purple forehead, and increased lividity of the discolored areas in that direction, compared to a pale/yellowish chin and cheeks are clear in showing her face was upside-down, if not her entire body.

As the photo comp shows, this woman's foam situation varies. It seems the deepest staining appears later, or just in sharper light? We can see from the middle view the same stream from her nose had dissolved up her face, revealing its icky yellow-brown base color. But a new wave of extra white, uniform foam of very tiny bubbles has appeared in her mouth. That can hardly be freshly-breathed up, but maybe preexisting inside and pressed out from body movements or, quite possibly, this is some of the fake foam. The same kind of thing may apply in other cases.

image sources:
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-people-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943143962
- Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images - ...

Mask 2, victim B6
Here, We can see the same half-ring across the outer top half of the upper eyelid, but traced thinner, and a wider band underneath with deep yellow staining that clearly connects to his mouth and nose, and what looks like red, blistered skin widely over the same area, at a terrible depth across those extra-effected upper cheeks. A higher resolution view suggests the yellow area is burnt/irritated, possibly blistered, with surrounding skin reddened as if by a strong irritant. This is not external material, or it would be washed away by now. As with mask 1, the purple-shifted forehead and ears vs. pale chin = upside-down for an unusually long time after death, which is when this extra staining and burning would happen.

No sign of cheek straps as with mask 1, nor ones running towards the ears. Perhaps secured with a clip on the nose? Some minor skin injury is suggested there. Also some additional shielding material (here in pink) under each lens might play in. The color I chose at random made me think of wads of chewing gum used to help secure the goggles. That actually makes a bit of sense – some adhesive substance in a wad of varying size and shape. Similar is seen with mask 5 below, and maybe the same but on the upper side of the lenses with masks 3 and 4.

Image sources:
- 0:14 Douma coordinating ?unit=615df53 at https://syrianarchive.org/en/collections/chemical-weapons/database?incident=DOU070418

Mask 3, victim B3

This older boy perhaps got a stronger dose of the caustic chemical than most, and mainly coughed up lots of blood. But like the cases above, this fluid poured “up” his face, where it pooled underneath and flowed around his goggles, leaving a quite vivid outline in a dark red color. Here the staining-irritating fluid ran around the outside rim as above, and also ran up the bridge of his nose and then into the eye socket, to wrap round the goggles from this side as well, forming an unusual fuller upper ring. No sign of straps, nor a clear spot below the lenses as with masks 2 and 5. But there's a bump in the stained ring on his upper eyelids (left side anyway – right side never seen well-enough). As I suggested with mask 2, maybe this is some wad of adhesive used, but on the other side. There's at least some staining or irritation in other areas - numerous reddish forehead burns (likely drip points), general redness of the cheeks with more severely irritated patches. Yellow-orange stains or burns are only visible at the outer corner under the eyes (the outer, slower part of the fluid's roll around).

But mainly he displays a nearly black and crusty appearance in the mask area. In the densest spots, it seems to be a material with volume - piled-up blood-heavy fluid that's dried to crust under the goggles and remains even after a hosing down, with some areas of white powdery residue in the cracks. No exact guess as to why, but mask 2 has some of this white powder as well, and probably others. For reference, the fluids he expelled later shows an unusual blood content; some of this is seen in his nose, more trickled now into his eye (that's not a reddened eye). Coughing up so much blood means extra damage, often a quicker death - but the uniformly dark purple lips may show cyanosis, deeper oxygen depletion equating with a longer struggle = one tough kid.

image sources: ...

Mask 4, victim M2

One man seen in the later morgue stood out for darkened cheeks, right side anyway, with a strap-like exclusion across it. On review, he has faint under-eye staining on the other side as well, perhaps some above the eye as well, maybe with the same upper bump as with mask 3. But he has nothing like a full goggle outline, the color is more brown-gray, with no sign of blood or irritation, and just faint yellow staining, compared to more sign of smoke exposure than usual (underside of nose is gray, everything but his face is soot-coated). But then we have no close-up view with good lighting and sharp resolution.

Mask 5, victim G6:
Here it gets clearer again, as the mask manifests in what looks like a sunken orange rash-burn on this older girl, but perhaps just vivid staining. These two images are not enhanced – one is a later and sharper photograph, the other a pale video frame from earlier in the night. Her orange-brown stain races the outer rim of the goggles as clear as any here on the left side (right side is never seen). Those eyelids look just as perfect and pristine as the arc marking the difference. The sclera beneath aren't seen, but probably just as unharmed. Beneath the goggle lenses there is a clear, rounded exclusion much like that seen on the boy, mask 2, but more distinct and circular. Is this part of the masking? Variable-sized gobs of sticky material to help hold the goggles in place? If so, maybe “gum bump” is fair enough for now?

Note here an almost neon yellow staining around the edges of the burned-looking orange patches - smaller points of the same sporadically across the forehead - likely drip points - some random catch points across the nose, including just beneath a likely goggles fastening point at the bridge. The foam here looks odd, like shaving cream, but the brown fluid on the floor suggests some real foam has dissolved here earlier.

Image sources:
- video: ...
- photo: Photo by Halil el-Abdullah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Mask 6, victim G9

The later Point one scene, 2 views enhanced:
This girl initially has no apparent stains or anything like a mask pattern (left view above) but later, and in better lighting and resolution, she displays a sort of red rash including a full goggle outline around the left eye, to almost none on the right (an issue of flow). Her yellow-stained cheek and earlobe suggest she - for one - was on her back as much as upside down. The irritation rash is also off the forehead almost totally, across the chin and cheek and around the eyes. But on her chin as well, it's irritated what might be a prior injury. But the general lack of deep staining suggests she was wiped clean quicker than most – maybe with the idea she'd be slated some camera time. She was famously shown held by a “rescuer” with the White Helmets, just before he set her down at his feet atop a growing pile of bodies. In that second position a bit later, the red rash is far clearer, probably not all from the different camera. Seen later in the morgue scene under “Point one” this has clearly worsened further, with the spots on her chin (pre-existing) and lower cheek (a new abrasion?) looking raw, red, almost sunken, dissolving. A similar raw mark that worsens is seen on the chin of infant covered under PPR 9.

Image sources:
- video 15, 0:26 ...
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-body-of-a-syrian-kid-is-seen-after-assad-regime-forces-news-photo/943130304
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-body-of-a-syrian-kid-is-seen-after-assad-regime-forces-news-photo/943447488

Mask 7, victim G3:

This girl in a cool “PEACE” shirt displays red burning cheeks, yellow stains under outer corners of the eyes, especially on the right, mildly at bridge of nose + faintly up the forehead, all with no clear goggle outline, aside from a faint brown ring along upper left eyelid and a dark spot on the upper left side outside goggle ring – besides an apparent spot above and below inside what would be the goggle rim. Irritation all over the eyes and cheeks could mean some buildup outside the goggles, and some getting in. Her eyes are never open more than a crack, appearing fairly white, but with a touch of pink, suggesting mild to moderate exposure to an irritant. A dark spot also inside goggle area under left eye. Not clear how it adds up, but enough periorbital color issues to suggest inclusion. poss. lip burns, pale exclusions around the mouth and nose, including the chin could relate to straps or just to the fluid's passing quickly here, lingering and thus staining less.

Image sources:
- Getty/Anadolu https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-kids-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943447586 - ...

Mask 8, victim G4

This girl displays red cheeks, deepest under the eyes - no clear outline, with the periorbital skin somewhat irritated, but the eyes (sclera) seeming fairly white and well-protected. This might suggest buildup below the goggles, as well as their not keeping it all out, especially post-death, as some of these rashes seem to worsen over the hours the bodies are shown off. little or no yellow staining, but the fresh fluid from mouth seems to stain brown. similar clear area on underside and corners of nose (similar to mask 7). Dark lips appear cyanotic, but might be some kind of partial stain or burn? Similar are seen on other lips (PPR 10 at least).

Image sources:
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-body-of-a-syrian-kid-is-seen-after-assad-regime-forces-news-photo/943447514
- video 11 ( ?unit=615df53 )

Mask 9, victim B1

Not the clearest fit, but ... an apparent splash of fresh brown liquid won't directly relate, but this boy also displays patchy skin darkening which, in a lo-res view like this, is often the relevant stain-burning. Faint yellow staining of the cheek, and possibly a partial goggle outline here on the left side (arc beneath, spot above on the outer and inner eyelid). But the blood in the foam means caustics breathed, but he has white eyes, suggesting protection, and some cheek-darkening beneath + some around the eyes = fit to include. Also: a bit of pink irritation at the bridge of the nose, with a clear cut-off.

image source: video 12, 0:52

Mask 10, victim I(infant)1 (gender pretty unclear):
This was not an obvious inclusion by way of visible staining, but a global color enhancement of the pale tot proved very useful here. This pops out uniformly yellow skin on the face and neck – not pallor but staining (see his pale but unstrained chest). Around the eyes is neither yellow nor white but a bit pink. Perhaps mild irritation, with a very shrp and perfectly goggles-shaped outline, and pearly white eyes in the middle. I suppose that counts as the mask of death.

A total of 10 mask cases, out of 35 fatalities reported and seen at location 2 = close to one in three are clear inclusions. This is highly significant, and also incomplete. There were others that almost counted, showing the same unusual signs but in lesser combinations.

The visual record: possible/partial/related (PPR 1-13)

The full “mask” pattern is a fairly arbitrary criteria, but at least leaving some off that list helps break up the horrible learning into phases. None of these following 13 victims quite displays the mask of death, but none contradicts it. In fact they all display combinations of the same clues: yellow stains, coughing mucous and blood, vs. white, protected eyes, uncertain upper-cheek issues, other skin irritation, upside-down and bondage clues. A couple seem to show all the signs except those related to being upside-down, perhaps because they were killed the same way but laying down face-up, so the fluids mainly rolled down their cheeks and stained the back of their necks most severely.

A total of 13 PPR cases plus 10 clear mask cases means 23 out of 37 victims seen (and several not seen well enough to call) and 42 reported, or a1/2 to 2/3 majority of those can be visibly classed as likely to be killed in the same horrible manner. Therefore all can be logically cast as likely, with about 1/3 of cases leaving no clear sign. In fact Most of the remainder show at least one sign as well – white eyes, foam and brown fluid, general skin irritation, etc. It's reasonable to assume they were all killed in this horrible manner.

PPR 1, infant from mystery location
This baby is covered first and has no victim number because he or she is not seen at location 2, and so probably was not there, since it seems there were exactly the 35 bodies we can see and that were reported. So PPR 1 was probably found at another site, one of those past the 35 mark suggesting it was more like 42 killed, or more. Since no death are reported at the other chlorine spot, “location 4,” with all other deaths reported in the vicinity of location 2, this kid was probably under no chlorine cylinder, yet apparently suffered the same odd manner of death as those who were: yellow mucous over the face (but up-the-face pattern less clear), with possible irritation to the lips, definite red skin irritation especially on the upper face, yet clear white eyes just fogging over with death. Is it possible the place they were found has nothing to do with their death? Were these commonalities engineered somewhere else we've never seen?

Image sources:
- 0:24 of 3:48 in video 15 ( Yaser al-Doumani ?unit=67697e7 )

There's at least one other child seen at point 1 but not location 2, a couple bodies over in the same video, several times but never up close. An apparent girl in blue top, laid between the two infants in white, her face may be darkly stained from the mouth up, but is never seen well enough to include - maybe as PPR2, if I hadn't already written the following.... The other 22 PPR cases are seen at location 2, offering clearer but mixed signs of the same treatment.

PPR 2, victim G5
There's no evident clear patch around the eyes, which are always closed (untested rawness) but deep irritation of the upper cheeks, dark staining across left cheek, inner corner of left eye, in the middle of her nose (with a clear patch above at the bridge) all suggest goggles slowing the flow, if not completely. The extra purple color and flattened nose are both from being left face-down all night. A clear area around the mouth, underside and corners of nose, stripes along the nose, similar to masks 7 and 8, but crossing at that dark stain, all suggests some kind of masking, but since the domino-shaped mask pattern is vague and lacks eye-holes, she's just a strong PPR case.

image sources:
- video 15 at 3:30
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-kids-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943447586

PPR 3, victim G12
Seen outside location 2, never later? distinct red irritation on the upper cheeks beneath the eyes, but stopping before the eyelids, and at the bridge of her nose, with a possible darker stain above the inner corner of the right eye. Other than the last, by color and location, you'd think this a simple rash. In context, we know what causes rashing in these areas, among these people, in a very unusual and widespread pattern. What would be more useful is a high-resolution camera photo this close up, but hours later at point 1 with direct lighting. We would likely see broader and deeper irritation, yellow-orange areas, clearer cut-off lines, etc. and she'd probably be another mask case.

image sources:
- at 1:36 in 2:29 Yaser al-Doumani video ?unit=7b45165 at https://syrianarchive.org/en/collections/chemical-weapons/database?unit=ef6ac9f&incident=DOU070418
- https://twitter.com/L0gg0l/status/982712121199923202

PPR 4, victim G9

This poor girl was left purple-faced and oozing a stream of white foam. A lot of foam, if genuine, and a lot of purple suggest a slow suffocation with a lot of struggle. Her chin is yellow, forehead covered (maybe conspicuously, like it looks bad), but all else is purple ...partly from irritation. Except that yellow-stained nose. Still, she was probably upside-down for a while after death. With few clear views from useful angles, I think I can still make out some apparent dark staining - all looking a different shade of purple, up the cheeks, under the right eye at least, and apparent dark patches on the upper eyelid, and probably an even worse patch under the inner left eye (our right). Some odd yellow fluid staining of the nose, with some gray, smoke colored aspects to the fluids as well – prior condition: exceptionally thin. None of the rest seem deliberately starved; she may have been ill, and probably not cared for well enough, and was fairly wasting away prior to her fatal gassing.

Image sources: nedaa.sy - Douma coordinating Committee – SMART News ..

PPR 5, victim G1
This is the first victim, counting from top-down as I do, seen in the stairwell above the 2nd floor. That's closest to the chlorine release on the third floor, but of course it's probably not the cause of her symptoms. An extra purple forehead vs. yellow chin, as with the others, means she was upside-down for a time after death, and she's coughed up what looks like pure blood up the left half of her face. There are no close-up clear views to show staining or lack of it in detail, but she has suspiciously darkened upper cheeks. likely stained upper cheeks, cutting off just where lower goggle outlines would be. Yellow staining of tip of the nose also suggests flow up and over that. Some gray and a clear patch at the bridge of her nose also likely to relate.


PPR 6, victim W6
No direct face views I know of, but from a decent side-view (above as-found vs, color-enhanced), she has a clear orange-ish burn color under the outer eyes (right side, anyway), around a likely unrelated pimple, or perhais it's all some kind of sore but … that area, among thse people, and with a lesser degree of that gold color down the cheek towards the mouth. More brown spots on the bridge of the nose similar to those on mask 12 likely relate.

image source: Douma coordinating video, 1:04 of 1:23 (rotated, cropped) - link...

PPR 7, victim W5
Apparently quite pregnant, this woman almost has to be the one referred to as Fatmeh Qarouq/Qarout, the 9-months pregnant alleged wife of alleged survivor Khaled Nuseir (whose story we don't just believe). She displays little fluid effect north of the nose, no livor mortis color difference from forehead to chin, and so – perhaps in a fit of decency, the killers left the pregnant woman they gassed laying flat, not hanging upside-down. Prior fluids are washed off, and little evident colored staining, but the rash-like irritation remains. The main pooling point was right around the left corner of her mouth, not very vertical-trending, quite severe, and with a cut-off line so sharp it suggests straps or other masking that forced the fluid to spread no further, pool and burn just in that corner. She may have had goggles like the others, but aside from a black dot on the upper eyelid (prob. irrelevant), there's no clear sign around her eyes. But these seem white, like the rest, not red like someone exposed to chlorine. White, wide-open eyes, clouding over with death, catching the light oddly = shielded from the gas she clearly breathed, in this case killing two people, by some definitions (in this case, it's not clear the killers thought of the victims as "people.").

And as fresh yellow fluid now out the right corner of her mouth (our left), laying on her back, it seems likely she was laying the same way before, just with her head rolled to the other side. Later views will be interesting: does she have new stains or burns at the right corner now? If so, we can go by precedent, noting the burns at left corner correspond to edges of a flow like that seen now in the right corner – this suggests for her case and others the greater effect is at the edges of a flow, where it lingers more, as opposed to the middle, where more caustic fluid passes, but passes quickly.

image sources: video 3? 0:39

PPR 8, victim W3

This woman She's oozing foam, but has white eyes. Distinct yellow staining only visible on the back of neck - also killed on her back as with PPR 7? She has a faintly yellow face, with just faint upper-cheek darkening visible here, I think mixed with some other darkness around the eyes (poss. Just standard dark rings, maybe bruising), and maybe some under-eye staining we've seen above. Any dark facial stains or burns are hard to be sure about, being where shadow, wetness, lighting might confuse things. But there's a definite lower half of a mask suggested, like with mask 1, be it pre-or-post death is not so clear. If so it doesn't seem to wrap around the eyes and continue up the forehead. If anything, it rolls down the temples here (as traced in red), which suggests only a sloping face like she has here, so again, on her back either way … here apparently seated in a chair that tipped over backwards. It was some other fall or events that left an apparent scabbed-over scratch and small possible bruise on her forehead.

image sources:
- video 12 0:46

PPR 9, I(infant)2
On closer inspection, this might class as another mask example, but either way: initial poisition (doorway between W7 and B4 - who happen to be mask 1 and PPR 12 – later laid on top of G8, who happens to be PPR 10. Right side of face initially extra-yellow, seeming uniform (perhaps stained, drained (of red blood cells), or a mixed). One view shows the left side is different, redder – livor mortis, but unusually red. Later in position 2, the tot has a redder face, especially at the chin (as with mask 6, and this seems like a clue). PPR 9's lips now look different, more purple, and that yellow is seen mainly up the right cheek, right about to the bottom edge of the goggle he/she wore. The left lens may have not worked: that eye seem not just squeezed shut but possibly a bit swollen. But on both sides, the eyelids seem to be fairly clear of the surrounding irritation. As with other infants and some women, the fluid pattern seems less up-the-face, more like the victim is just flat on their back. Then or later, some of this yellow fluid stained the backside of this infant's white top.

Later views split-off and enhanced, emphasis on unseen left side of the face: we can see the redness is worse on that side, rarely seen except at a distance in a later scene at medical point 1. Here (zoomed, rotated, enhanced, confusing parts of someone else' face painted out) we can see it's even worse than it seemed earlier, perhaps bleeding, and there's apparent blood in the child's ear, and some black color there and on the upper head – maybe just some soot he/she was set in after all the face-washing.

image sources:
- pale side view: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-body-of-a-syrian-kid-is-seen-after-assad-regime-forces-news-photo/943143956
- rash face: https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-babies-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943447494
- later view - this image, up by the grapes:

PPR 10, victim B5

This boy coughed up dark, presumably blood-heavy fluid from the mouth (and similar dried in his nose), so he was likely exposed to an extra-strong caustic gas. yet has totally white eyes except the irrelevant dark spots seen later - tache noir, a postmortem change, that's absent in the earlier views. Possible lip burns similar to mask 8, with white residue similar to mask 3. He has little to no visible stains, with all dots being possible moles, etc. A sort of faint soot mustache is hard to call for relevance. Subtle effects might increase over time, so I enhanced two later views from point 1 – definite rash-like irritation along the left cheek, near the recent blood flow – the general yellow probably covers the whole face, could be pallor (he's always seen face-up) or staining or a mix, but note the general pinkness around the protected eyes. And a possible trace of goggle edge on left eyelid (our right), in an arc of extra redness? And just to the outside of that, a "gum bump" of clear skin? Not calling that, but noting the possibility.

Image sources:
- Video 15 0:02, 1:56, and 2:48
- ...

PPR 11, victim G8
Originally face-down by the shower, distinct sweater, here seen outside in the morning, purple-faced (naturally – livor mortis). Possibly darker color up the cheeks, then clear right beneath the eyes, as with goggles, but hard to separate from simple lighting. Yellow color along the temple – poss. Contact pallor (where the skin was most pressed, no blood = no color) or perhaps yellow fluid staining; it seems to continue all along the hairline, and even where hair stick to the skin further out? Purple color may be excessive, indicate cynosis, and the lips especially look purple (means fairly prolonged suffocation).

image source:
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-kids-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943447614

PPR 12, victim B4

Same issue as above re: face-down all night, then shown the other way out in the street. Here the purple seems excessive; deep cyanotic lips and pale, bluish fingernail beds – the two points it's most evident. The bits of yellow skin we see could be staining or contact pallor, and there's little for goggle-shaped staining evident here, but eyes that seem relaxed + open will tend to be undamaged, shielded. But the foam suggests his airways were clogged with thick, yellow foam, here long after popping and drying up. Were they breathing gum? Or is that exactly the kind of residue left from commercial aerosol whipped cream, for example? Either way, the process may have left a lot of caustic foam inside for a while, where it would keep burning; later a slightly orange mix of mostly blood kept oozing out, pooling under his face.

image sources:
- https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/dead-bodies-of-syrian-kids-are-seen-after-assad-regime-news-photo/943447750

PPR 13 (+ 14?), victims W1, W2

Only a very brief, blurry view in video #12 shows these two women, from two directions (0:26 and 0:58) – The clearer one W1 has dark under eyes or upper cheeks, red nose, with a white area (foam?) on the bridge of it - foam dissolving to brown fluid – W2 next to her seems to have all-dark eyes, perhaps the raccoon eyes most do not have, but with extra brown underneath, and maybe across the nose ... no other sign of foam or fluids or staining, but might class as PPR or even mask 11, if we had a good enough view to say.


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah! Twice, actually. And it needs updated, ideally. Sort of embarrassing to have it seen more widely as-is. This started as the crazy-sounding theory, and has worked its way up now.


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