A former OPCW specialist, Ian Henderson, has blasted the chemical weapons watchdog for releasing a “sanitized” report on the alleged 2018 attack in the Syrian city of Douma, claiming it omitted key findings from its own fact-finding team.
These details, says Henderson, would have cast serious doubt on whether a chemical attack took place at all.
“The findings in the final [Fact Finding Mission] report were contradictory, were a complete turnaround with what the team had understood collectively during and after the Douma deployments,” Henderson said, addressing members of the United Nations Security Council in a recorded video address.
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The former OPCW inspector, whose visa application to attend the meeting in person had been denied, insisted the report blatantly disregarded “findings, facts, information, data or analysis” collected by the team, pertaining to witness testimony, toxicology studies, chemical analysis and ballistics.
According to the retired inspector, although in July 2018 several members of the fact finding team “had serious misgivings that a chemical attack had occurred”, the organisation’s final report released in March 2019 was compiled by a different group that hadn’t visited the incident site and claimed “reasonable grounds” for holding Damascus responsible for the attack.