BBC Syria producer Riam Dalati, who wrote on Twitter that he could prove the video of the victims of the alleged chemical attack in Douma being treated in hospital was staged, was expressing his own opinion and did not deny the fact of the attack itself, the broadcaster’s spokesperson told Sputnik on Thursday.
“The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen”, the BBC spokesperson said.
On Wednesday, the journalist tweeted that he could “prove without a doubt” that the Douma hospital footage had been staged and no fatalities had occurred in the hospital. He said the attack did take place but without the use of sarin gas and that the nature of any chemical used would have to be verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Previously, the RT broadcaster reported that Dalati had already expressed his skepticism about the Douma hospital video in a Twitter post. However, the journalist subsequently deleted his tweet, citing a breach of editorial policy.
The same month, Hassan Diab, 11, who was featured in the White Helmets video, in an interview with a Russian media outlet alongside his father, gave a detailed description of how the footage of people treated in the hospital was filmed. Diab said, among other things, that children were given food for participating in the video.
Moreover, Douma residents, interviewed by Sputnik, were unable to confirm that the attack had taken place there. They said they knew nothing about it and were not aware of anybody having been affected by toxic chemicals.
The reports about the attack and the publication of the footage by the White Helmets were followed by missile strikes carried out by France, the United Kingdom and the United States targeting alleged chemical weapons production facilities in Damascus.
Western states have repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of having carried out the Douma attack, while Damascus denied any involvement in the incident. The Russian Foreign Ministry has said that the claims about the alleged use of toxic chemicals by the Syrian government were aimed at justifying external military action.