A new video produced by the New York Times shows how the version of events put forward by Syria and Russia about a chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province earlier this month don’t quite add up.
The April 4 attack in Khan Sheikhun, Syria, killed at least 58 people, including 11 children.
The video highlights how the Syrian regime’s claims — backed up by its longtime ally, Russia — about the time and location of the attack, and whether or not Syria still possesses chemical weapons, are not in line with the evidence.
Syrian President Bashar Assad and Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin, maintain that Syrian warplanes carried out a conventional attack early in the afternoon on the outskirts of Khan Sheikhun. Eyewitness accounts from doctors and civilians, however, put the time of attack at 6:43 a.m., local time.
The Syrian and Russian governments also claim that the airstrike targeted facilities that contained chemical weapons. But satellite images and old video footage show the chemical weapons were dropped on civilians homes.
Moreover, Syria and Russia seem to contradict each other on which buildings were hit. Russia claims depots destroyed by bombs in 2015 were struck. Assad, however, told an AFP reporter that the facility “could be a store, it could be a warehouse, it could be a depot.”
Assad also claimed that Syria has not had chemical weapons since 2013, when it agreed to have them shipped out of the country and destroyed as part of a deal brokered by the US and Russia. Assad pointed to an early statement released by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which announced that Syria “is free of any chemical materials.”
But a 2016 OPCW report said that “Syria has not yet adequately explained the presence of indicators of four chemical weapons agents.”
Watch the video below: