Syria: Chemical Warfare — Regime Uses Chlorine Gas on Kafrzita in Hama Province


On Saturday, we compiled videos of a claimed chemical attack on Kafrzita in Hama Province, probably from this airstrike and its “yellow-tinged cloud”:

See “Poison Gas” Attacks Near Damascus & in Hama Province

To our surprise, Syrian State media admitted the attack, although they claimed — despite the airstrike — that it was the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra Front who was responsible, using chlorine gas that killed two people and injured more than 100.

Now Eliot Higgins, on his Brown Moses blog, puts together audio-visual and photographic evidence. His conclusion is that, even as the Assad regime claims it is shipping out its chemical weapons for destruction, only the Syrian military could have carried out Friday’s attack with “poison gas”.

Videos and photographs from Kafr Zita provides evidence that Chlorine gas was in fact used, with the following video showing the container supposedly used in the attack:



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

In the videos and photographs this is specifically described as being dropped from a helicopter. Again, there’s no evidence of Jabhat al-Nusra have a helicopter, and considering Kafr Zita has been the focus of Syrian military activity for the past weeks (including the first deployment of BM-30 launched cluster munitions) it seems unlikely the Syrian military would have missed a mystery helicopter flying overhead.

The remains of a barrel bomb which carried a cylinder:

One has to ask how Syrian State TV could state Chlorine was used without access to the site, a pro-opposition area. And one also has to wonder how much State TV’s claims about Jabhat al-Nusra are influenced by Seymour Hersh’s recent claims that the Islamist faction was responsible for the August 21st Sarin attack.

UPDATE 1220 GMT: Eliot Higgins writes on Twitter:

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  1. Anno Bunnik points EA to this comment on his blog Eurabist:

    Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter, has re-opened the discussion on who was behind the Chemical Weapons attack in Syria. Hersh argues that Turkey supplied the rebels with these deadly weapons in a ‘false flag operation’ designed to create the legitimisation for military intervention.

    At first sight, this looks like exciting investigative reporting by an icon of free journalism. A closer look, however, reveals the work of a twentieth century reporter whose methodology has become heavily outdated and perhaps even unreliable. Hersh’s story is based on a single anonymous source – rumoured to be F. Michael Maloof, a former George W. Bush Defence staffer.

    On the other side of the debate we find the likes of Eliot Higgins who runs the Brown Moses Blog. Higgins has no qualifications in Journalism or Foreign Policy and has never set foot in Syria. But he understands the Internet’s defining characteristics and turns it into a strategic advantage to gather information and, as such, is able to successfully challenge the grand master of investigative journalism.

    By cleverly utilising the network characteristic of Twitter and by gathering the infinite images emerging from the deadly conflict via YouTube and Facebook, he manages to document the dynamics of the conflict in detail. This methodology has turned his blog into a credible source of information referenced by traditional media outlets like BBC, Reuters and CNN.

    Higgins represents two distinct features of the information age: Open Source intelligence gathering and unfamiliar networked solutions. Developments that Hersh has ignored but which are radically changing the field of Intelligence and Journalism.

    Read full entry at

  2. “”Hersh the icon of free journalism – a twentieth century reporter whose methodology has become heavily outdated””

    Another development is at least as frightening: An increasing number of journalists and commentators are interpreting the Syrian War mainly as the old East – West confrontation namely the struggle between the blocks. There is some truth to it because Russia by all means together with Iran adheres incomprehensibly to the massmurder regime.

    What comes up short in this interpretation is 1. the actual role of Obama is playing really in this conflict and 2. the actual events which have taken place in Syria.

    Hershs opinion can only be understood if he sees the events at Syria as an opaque and dirty game of powers and superpowers. This oblique attitude often leads to oblique settings and to failed reviews because they are not considering in the least what is actually happening in syria.

    Is hersh a specialist who is familiar with the syrian conflict ? Rather not. Has he written anything what would prove the opposite? Simply no.

    Hersh belongs to the group of cold warriors reinterpreting the syrian war as an east – west conflict.

    Why else does Hersh it have not considered as necessary to put a closer look to the gas attacks?

    Hersh opinion is not frightening – what is frightening is his ignorance with respect to the actual events in Syria.

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