LONDON (Sputnik) – Riam Dalati, a BBC Syria producer, has said that the footage of people being treated after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Syrian city of Douma was staged.
Dalati wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the issue had been investigated for six months.
he journalist pointed out that no fatalities had occurred at the hospital, adding that the attack in Douma had happened but sarin had not been used there. However, Dalati noted that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would look into whether chlorine was used at the scene.
Truth is @James__Harkin got the basics right in terms of #Douma‘s “propaganda” value.
The ATTACK DID HAPPEN, Sarin wasn’t used, but we’ll have to wait for @OPCW to prove Chlorine or otherwise.
However, everything else around the attack was manufactured for maximum effect. https://t.co/abRvSIMV1L
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm)
Everything else around the attack was fabricated, according to Dalati.
The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on the issue, said that Moscow is awaiting the BBC’s official position after a statement by one of its producers about footage after an alleged chemical attack in Douma.
“The culmination of this theatre of the absurd may be considered the statements by a producer from Britain’s BBC, who confirmed, based on his own research, the staged nature of the footage with the direct participation of the ‘white helmets'”, Maria Zakharova said.
She added that Moscow wants to hear the company’s position as a whole, because it actively covered those events.
The White Helmets group published a video after the reported attack in Douma, which is located in the Damascus neighbourhood of Eastern Ghouta, in early April 2018. The video showed local residents, both adults and children, being treated in the hospital after the alleged attack.
But never approached the block of flats and curtailed access immediately after #Doumatakeover.
I can tell you that Jaysh al-Islam ruled Douma with an iron fist. They coopted activists, doctors and humanitarians with fear and intimidation.
— Riam Dalati (@Dalatrm) 13 февраля 2019 г.
However, within a few hours, Dalati made his Twitter account private.
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 on alleged chemical weapons production facilities in Damascus.
Western states have repeatedly accused the Syrian authorities of having carried out the Douma attack, while Damascus has 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.
Moreover, prior to the Douma incident, the Russian Armed Forces warned of a provocation using chemical weapons in the Syrian city by militants.
Notably, back in April, 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 had been filmed. Diab said, among other things, that children were given food for participating in the video.
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.