Syria and chemical weapons – all articles

This is a complete listing of my blog posts and articles about the Syrian chemical weapons issue, in chronological order.

Some of these articles discuss the related propaganda war and for convenience they are also listed on a separate page, grouped according to specific topics:

Relevant documents are listed here.

See also: Quick guide to chemical weapons investigations in Syria.


Did Syrian rebels acquire sarin? If so, how?
17 July 2017

Chlorine as a weapon in the Syrian conflict: an overview
2 August 2018

Syria: Why tales of a western 'regime change plot' don't make sense
22 April 2018

Syria, Russia and the politics of chemical weapons
12 July 2019

Whistleblower versus watchdog: the political machinations over chemical weapons in Syria
21 November 2019

Leaked OPCW documents: what they really show about the Douma investigation
23 December 2019

The Douma chemical weapons investigation and the role of Ian Henderson
2 January 2020

False flags and fakery: the battle of narratives in Syria
18 January 2020

Prizes galore! Assad supporters win awards for 'integrity' – with help from a piano tuner in California
3 July 2021

Syria and the 'Zio-American plot'
8 January 2012
Denying the authenticity of the Syrian uprising is a central plank of the Assad regime's propaganda message

Method in Assad's madness?  
21 August 2013
What would the regime hope to gain by using chemical weapons in Ghouta?

Assad’s game-changer 
22 August 2013 
UN Security Council issues "vague, bland and tepid" statement after chemical attack

Chemical weapons in Syria require action 
25 August 2013
The use of chemical weapons in Syria needs to be addressed – but how?

US rallies support for Syria air strikes 
26 August 2013
UN Secretary-General says "We cannot allow impunity"

It's time to cast off the 'Iraq war' mindset 
27 August 2013
Memories of the deception over Saddam Hussein's weapons are confusing the picture in Syria

Syria: some unanswered questions 
28 August 2013
US believes chemical attack too place, but the chemical is not yet identified

Syria – from horror to farce
29 August 2013
British parliament recalled from summer recess

Syria: another green light for Assad 
30 August 2013
British parliament rejects mililtary action over Syria chemical attack

Syria: the view from US intelligence 
31 August 2013
US releases intelligence assessment of Ghouta attack

Syria: a question of international law 
31 August 2013
The chemical weapons issue should be kept as separate as possible from the broader conflict in Syria

Syria – a chilling hypothesis 
1 September 2013
Why launch a chemical attack when UN investigators were just a few miles away?

Syria – the waiting game 
1 September 2013
Obama shifts the decision to Congress

Walking a fine line on Syria 
4 September 2013
The US is pursuing two Syria strategies at the same time – one related to chemical weapons, the other to the wider conflict

Has Putin changed his tune on Syria? 
5 September 2013
Russian president says he would not rule out supporting a UN Security Council resolution backing military action in Syria 

Chemical weapons: a diplomatic way out? 
6 September 2013
Solution maybe possible if Assad can be persuaded to give up chemical weapons

Syria airstrikes: is there another way? 
7 September 2013
Obama says "I’m not itching for military action"

Put Russia to the test 
8 September 2013
France may seek UN Security Council backing

How to get Syria to give up chemical weapons 
9 September 2013
If Assad has any sense, he will weigh up the costs and benefits of keeping his chemical weapons versus giving them up

Why a UN resolution on Syria is needed 
11 September 2013
Russia seems to be angling for a mere "statement" from the Security Council rather than a full-scale resolution

Syrian chemical weapons: reasons for hope 
15 September 2013
Russian-American agreement provides for dismantling Syria's chemical weapons under OPCW supervision

More clues from the weapons inspectors? 
15 September 2013
What to look out for in the forthcoming report

Russia and the weapons inspectors
17 September 2013
UN report prompts non-committal response from Russian ambassador

Chemical attacks and a mystery reporter 
18 September 2013
Report on Mint Press website claims Saudi Arabia provided rebels with chemical weapons

Syria 'rebel chemicals' story gets weirder 
21 September 2013
Questions about authorship of Mint Press article

Syria 'rebel chemicals' mystery deepens 
21 September 2013
Despite by-line, AP correspondent denies writing article

Yahya Ababneh exposed 
22 September 2013
Author of Mint Press article turns out to be Jordanian student

Manufacturing credibility 
25 September 2013
Reflections on the Mint Press 'rebel chemicals' affair

Lavrov cites mystery reporter Ababneh 
26 September 2013
Mint Press article is first item in Russia's 'evidence' 

Ababneh trail leads to Iran 
2 October 2013
Mystery journalist re-surfaces

Syria and its chemical weapons 
12 October 2013
Destruction of government's stockpile begins

Investigating chemical weapons in Syria 
10 December 2013
Upstart challenges veteran reporter Seymour Hersh

Syria chemical attacks: a question of sources 
11 December 2013
What Seymour Hersh missed 

Sarin in Syria 
14 December 2013
Latest UN investigations are inconclusive

Questions for the Syria Sarin sceptics 
16 December 2013
Although the regime denies chemical attacks, no one has yet come up with a more plausible explanation

Syria sarin attacks 
5 March 2014
UN Human Rights Council suggests sarin used in Ghouta came from Syrian government's stockpile

Why chemical weapons in Syria must not be ignored 
7 April 2017
The importance of the Chemical Weapons Convention

Former British ambassador in Syria has links to Assad family 
23 April 2017
Ex-diplomat Peter Ford disputes reports of regime atrocities

​Syria's hexamine: a smoking gun 
27 April 2017
The Khan Sheikhoun attack, and a chemical clue

Syria, Seymour Hersh and the Sarin denialists 
1 July 2017
Journalist's denial of sarin use is contradicted by lab tests

Syria and Sarin: who was Hersh's anonymous source?
4 July 2017
Hersh's source confused fertiliser with pesticide

Syria agrees that Sarin was used in Khan Sheikhoun
5 July 2017
Regime provided a positive sample

Chemical weapons in Syria: the search for culprits begins
7 July 2017
UN's "Joint Investigative Mechanism" will try to identify perpetrators 

Did Syrian rebels acquire sarin? If so, how?
17 July 2017
A look at the ways rebels might have obtained sarin – but probably didn't

Syria accuses US and UK of supplying chemical weapons to rebels
17 August 2017
Regime says riot control chemicals were found in Aleppo

Chemical weapons in Syria: what is the Assad regime hiding?
6 September 2017
It's now known that Syria's weapons declaration to the OPCW was incomplete

Seymour Hersh wins award for discredited article about Syria
7 September 2017
Flawed article about Syria gets a prize

Syria and sarin: Seymour Hersh pulls out of award ceremony
21 September 2017
No reason given for journalist's non-attendance

Seymour Hersh accepts 'truth-telling' award, but not for articles on Syria
25 September 2017
Journalist collects award after citation is amended

Exonerating Assad: how reports twisted Mattis's comments on sarin in Syria
9 February 2018
Newsweek gets it wrong

Sarin in Syria: Newsweek is at it again
19 February 2018
Ian Wilkie returns, with another article disputing sarin attacks

The Syrian conflict's anti-propaganda propagandists
24 February 2018
Campaign dressed up as "rigorous academic analysis"

Manufacturing doubt over chemical weapons in Syria
27 February 2018
Syria lauds erroneous Newsweek article at UN Security Council meeting

Russia-friendly 'Syria propaganda' group names more supporters
6 March 2018
Group says it intends to bid for research funding

From Syria to Salisbury: Russia's propaganda game
15 March 2018
Here come the false flags again

'Propaganda' professors switch focus from Syria to Britain and Russia
18 March 2018
Assad's defenders dispute nerve agent attack on Skripals in Britain

9/11 truther joins Syria 'propaganda research' group
19 March 2018
New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller is latest recruit

Chemical weapons in Syria: the problem is obvious, the solution is not
12 April 2018
Military options have "serious limitations"

Syria: logic in a land of make-believe
16 April 2018
The regime's calculations are different from those of a western democracy

Syria propaganda and the mysterious 'Sarah Abdallah': a Hizbullah connection?
20 April 2018
Prominent Twitter personality has a puzzling past

How "Ian56" keeps the false flags flying on Twitter
21 April 2018
In Ian Shilling's world conspiracies are the norm

Syria: Why tales of a western 'regime change plot' don't make sense
22 April 2018
The historical narrative promoted by Assad's defenders is simply wrong

Vanessa Beeley — the Syrian conflict’s goddess of propaganda
3 May 2018
She's the Assadists' favourite journalist but her reports are basically crap

Assad defender Vanessa Beeley to speak at union-backed festival
7 May 2018
Programme shows Beeley as the only speaker on Syria

Telling it like it isn't: John Pilger and the Syria truthers
22 May 2018
Investigative journalist regurgitates false Russian claim without checking

Can the international ban on chemical weapons survive the Syrian war?
25 June 2018
OPCW member states to hold special session

Seymour Hersh on Syria: "There's no such thing as a chlorine bomb"
27 June 2018
Reporter gives bizarre TV interview

Ban on chemical weapons is reinforced by today's crucial vote
27 June 2018
Following vote, OPCW will seek to identify perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria

OPCW finds possible use of chlorine, no evidence of sarin, in Douma
7 July 2018
Fact-Finding Mission issues preliminary report

Chlorine as a weapon in the Syrian conflict: an overview
2 August 2018
Sarin is more lethal, but chlorine appears to be used far more often

Ex-ambassador calls for Syria sanctions to be lifted
16 August 2018
Lords and bishops join in lobbying effort

Why airstrikes in Syria won't solve the chemical weapons problem
29 August 2018
Using the law is slow, but likely to be more productive in the long run

False flags and Russia's failed predictions in Syria
12 September 2018
Rebels accused of planning faked chemical attacks

Syria conflict: unanswered questions about the Douma 'chemical attack'
13 September 2018
UN commission suggests chlorine was dropped by helicopter

Peter Hitchens and an imaginary battle over chemical weapons reports
19 September 2018
"If official reports don't justify punitive attacks on Syria, new reports then appear, which do provide justification"

Libyan warlord's PR man joins panel on Syria
19 October 2018
 "European Centre for the Study of Extremism" provides key speakers

Syria chemical attacks: Russia fails in move to obstruct investigation
21 November 2018
New OPCW team will seek to indentify perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria

OPCW's Douma investigation points to gas cylinders dropped from the air
2 March 2019
Fact-Finding Mission's final report on Douma

How a yellow cylinder became a propaganda weapon in Syria
17 March 2019
PCW finds no evidence to support claims of a rebel "chemical weapons lab"

Five years on, inspectors still doubt that Syria has disclosed all its chemical weapons
9 May 2019
"Gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies" persist

Leaked document revives controversy over Syria chemical attacks
16 May 2019
Internal memo conflicts with OPCW's official report on Douma

OPCW and the leaked Douma document: what we know so far
21 May 2019
Arguments hinge on technical analysis

US threatens 'strong, swift response' to use of chlorine weapons in Syria
23 May 2019
Warning follows unconfirmed report of attack

Leaked OPCW document: where’s the conspiracy?
25 May 2019
Source says leaked document came too close to attributing responsibility

Syria refuses visa for chemical weapons investigation chief
25 May 2019
Regime says it does not recognise OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team 

Russia issues new challenge to OPCW over Douma report
28 May 2019
Critique of Fact-Finding Mission's report echoes content of leaked document

OPCW replies to Russian and Syrian critiques of its Douma report
29 May 2019
Organisation doesn't normally engage in public debate about its investigations

OPCW chief speaks about the Douma leaked document
13 June 2019
New details emerge

Syria, Russia and the politics of chemical weapons
12 July 2019
Obstruction over investigations in Syria threatens to jeopardise the OPCW's effectiveness

Political pressures expected as new team starts investigating chemical attacks in Syria
15 July 2019
Investigation and Identification Team has initial list of nine cases

Syria 'truther' heads fundraising campaign to sue British Labour Party
14 August 2019
Bristol University professor David Miller – a member of the "propaganda professors" group which defends the Assad regime against accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria and disputes Russia's use of a nerve agent against the Skripals in Britain – is behind a new campaign to sue the British Labour Party.

US blames Assad regime for chemical attack, promises $4.5m for OPCW investigations
27 September 2019
The United States has concluded that the Assad regime carried out a chemical attack in north-western Syria last May, secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday. He also announced that the US will provide $4.5 million to the OPCW "to help its investigations of continued chemical weapons use in Syria".

MIT professor Postol resigns from science journal in spat over article on Syria
17 October 2019
An emeritus professor at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has angrily resigned from the board of a science journal after it declined to publish a paper he co-authored about a nerve agent attack in Syria.

Former OPCW chief denounces official investigation of alleged chemical attack in Douma
24 October 2019
A former head of the chemical weapons watchdog OPCW has accused the organisation of "irregular behaviour" during its investigation of an alleged chemical attack in Syria last year, according to reports circulating on the internet.

Whistleblower versus watchdog: the political machinations over chemical weapons in Syria
21 November 2019
An anonymous whistleblower who recently emerged from inside the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has spoken of "huge internal arguments" over one of its investigations in Syria.

The leaked OPCW email: what does it show?
25 November 2019
A leaked email discusses two unpublished drafts of a report on the suspected chemical attack in Douma which are said to have caused "huge internal arguments".

The Douma whistleblower and the long wait for leaked documents
11 December 2019
Eight weeks ago a whistleblower claimed to have documents showing "irregularities" in the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Syria. Since then, only one document has surfaced. Where are the others? 

Revealed: OPCW whistleblower made false claims about 'suppressed' Douma report
15 December 2019
A document released by WikiLeaks on Saturday shows that two key allegations reportedly made by the OPCW whistleblower are untrue. 

How a reporter who made mistakes became a hero on the internet
17 December 2019
Newsweek reporter Tareq Haddad announced on Twitter that he had resigned from his job after editors rejected his "newsworthy revelations" for "no valid reason". Almost instantly – and without waiting to find out more – Twitter users and "alternative" websites rushed to support him ...

Leaked OPCW documents: what they really show about the Douma investigation
23 December 2019
Recently-leaked documents disprove claims by a whistleblower that the OPCW doctored a draft report of its investigation into a suspected chemical attack in Syria. They also cast doubt on claims that the views of staff were systematically ignored. They do, however, confirm a dispute involving one staff member who was eventually suspended and escorted out of the office.

The Douma chemical weapons investigation and the role of Ian Henderson
2 January 2020
Many of the recent claims about "irregularities" in the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Syria revolve around an employee called Ian Henderson. His exact role has been a matter of dispute but now leaked documents give a clearer picture.

Douma investigation: a look at the leaked OPCW minutes
17 January 2020
On 6 June 2018, four staff from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons met a group of toxicologists in connection with the investigation of a suspected chlorine attack in Douma, Syria.

False flags and fakery: the battle of narratives in Syria
18 January 2020
Banned chemical weapons have been used repeatedly during the Syrian conflict and in most cases, if not quite all of them, the Assad regime is the obvious suspect. Nevertheless, President Assad insists his regime has never used such weapons.

Russia steps up its campaign to discredit OPCW investigations
21 January 2020
On Monday, Russia stepped up its campaign against identifying the perpetrators of chemical attacks in Syria with a specially-convened meeting at the UN.

Former British special forces chief discusses Douma affair on Russian TV
27 January 2020
A former Director of Special Forces in the British army appeared on Russia's RT channel on Sunday, talking about the OPCW's investigation of a suspected chemical attack in Douma, Syria.

The OPCW whistleblowing affair and the 'inimitable' Dr Whelan
30 January 2020
The mystery author of the OPCW toxicology document is identified as Dr Brendan Whelan.

In search of 'Alex', the elusive OPCW whistleblower
31 January 2020
Whistleblower "Alex" turns out to be Brendan Whelan

Douma victims were murdered in a gas chamber, professor claims
3 February 2020
Rebels in Syria used a gas chamber to murder dozens of civilian captives, a university professor has claimed. The claim is not supported by any evidence.

New OPCW report blames Assad regime for three chemical attacks in Syria
9 April 2020
Syrian government forces carried out three chemical attacks on a rebel-held village in 2017, according to a new investigation by the OPCW. Based on the available evidence, that is the only conclusion that can "reasonably be reached", it said in a 82-page report published on Wednesday.

Syria faces chemical weapons deadline as Russia wrangles with OPCW
6 October 2020
Last July the OPCW set a 90-day deadline for Syria to provide further information about its chemical weapons programme – some of which it was supposed to have provided seven years ago. The deadline expires tomorrow and in the likely event that Syria fails to comply the OPCW will then face the question of what to do about it.

Syria's non-compliance over chemical weapons causes a dilemma
27 November 2020
When the 193 countries that are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention hold their annual meeting next week they will face difficult questions over how to respond to Syria's non-compliance.

'Outstanding issues' fuel suspicion that Syria is hiding chemical weapons
30 November 2020
OPCW says there are 19 issues still to be resolved before Syria's chemical weapons declaration can be considered complete and accurate. 

Chemical attacks in Syria: new group joins campaign to discredit OPCW
1 April 2021
A newly-formed group has joined the campaign to discredit investigations of chemical weapons in Syria and has recruited a former high-ranking UN official to its cause.

The professor and the 'Russian agent': my complaint to Edinburgh University
29 March 2021
It emerged last week that a university professor who spreads conspiracy theories about chemical weapons in Syria has been passing information to someone who he mistakenly believed was working for Russian intelligence. 

Prizes galore! Assad supporters win awards for 'integrity' – with help from a piano tuner in California
3 July 2021
The Serena Shim awards for "uncompromised integrity in journalism" are a puzzle. No one seems to know who the judges are or where the substantial prize money comes from. 

How four tonnes of a sarin-linked chemical 'disappeared' in Syria
6 July 2021
Four tonnes of a chemical supplied by a German firm and supposedly intended for making pharmaceuticals vanished after arriving in Syria, according to a Swiss newspaper investigation.

Syria tells OPCW that Israel has destroyed the Douma cylinders
24 July 2021
Two gas cylinders that formed crucial evidence in connection with a suspected chemical attack in Syria have been destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, according to the Syrian authorities.

Alleged Israeli strike on Syria chemical weapons site hampers OPCW investigations
26 July 2021
Syria's claim that crucial evidence relating to chemical weapons was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes has been greeted with widespread scepticism: it sounds too convenient to be true.

New e-book investigates disinformation campaign over chemical attacks in Syria
17 September 2021
My new e-book tells the story of the disinformation campaign surrounding chemical weapons attacks in Syria: how it began, the ideas that drove it, and how it was choreographed with assistance from Russia.

Syria escalates non-cooperation over chemical weapons
28 September 2021
Syria's Assad regime is stepping up its effort to obstruct OPCW investigations. 

Syria falls silent over claim that Israel destroyed evidence in Douma chemical weapons investigation
29 October 2021
Syria's Assad regime is resisting calls to substantiate its claim that Israel has destroyed evidence relating to an alleged chlorine attack on Douma in 2018.

Did Israeli bombing destroy evidence of chemical weapons in Syria?
14 December 2021
A report in the Washington Post yesterday appears to confirm Syrian claims that Israel bombed chemical weapons facilities in the country last June – thus destroying evidence sought by OPCW investigators.

How a book about propaganda succumbed to a pro-Assad propagandist
23 December 2021
The Research Handbook on Political Propaganda is a new book described by its publishers as "a crucial resource for both scholars and students". It has 29 chapters by different authors presenting academic studies of propaganda in a variety of countries. There is one chapter, though, that stands out from the rest – for the wrong reasons.

Man arrested in France on suspicion of sending chemical weapons supplies to Syria
27 December 2021
A man suspected of supplying equipment to the Syrian army – including components that could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons – has been arrested in the south of France after arriving there for a holiday.

Academic publisher removes conspiracy theorist's chapter from new book
31January 2022
A new book containing a chapter by a prominent defender of Syria's Assad regime has been withdrawn from sale, the publisher confirmed today.