Monday May 4, 2020
Over the past year, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been quietly facing a crisis of credibility. The crisis started when whistleblowers within the organization shared information that contradicted the findings of an OPCW investigation into the April 2018 alleged chemical attack in Douma, Syria. Leaks and whistleblower testimony show the organization suppressed the findings of its experts to fit the narrative that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack. That crisis of credibility continues. A group of OPCW insiders have just spoken out against a new report that blames the Syrian government for an alleged 2017 chemical weapons attack.
On April 8th, the OPCW issued the first report from its new Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), a unit of the organization established to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks inside Syria. The new IIT report found "reasonable grounds" to conclude the Syrian government was responsible for three chemical attacks in Ltamenah, Syria at the end of March 2017. Specifically, two sarin attacks on March 24th and 30th, and one chlorine attack on March 25th. The three alleged attacks jointly "affected" 106 people and did not claim any lives.
The Grayzone published a response to the IIT report from a group of OPCW insiders who called the credibility of the IIT "compromised" and said the report is "scientifically flawed." According to The Grayzone, the authors who wrote the piece "represent the view of, at minimum, a small group of current and former OPCW officials who took part in its [the IIT report’s] drafting and review."