Report | 2 March 2018 | by Helena de Jong0
New Details of the February 1st 2018 Chlorine Attack in Douma, Damascus
By Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat.
The report was created in partnership with Syrians for Truth and Justice (STJ). The research for this publication was supported by PAX.
On February 1 2018 Douma city was shelled with poisonous gases for the third consecutive time in less than one month, and according to many testimonies STJ obtained through its network of field reporters and Bellingcat’s analysis of open source material, five rockets, loaded with chemical substances believed to be chlorine gas, landed in the densely populated area in the western neighborhoods of Douma, resulting in the suffocation of three civilians, including a woman.
Syrian regular forces had twice previously used poisonous gases on Eastern Ghouta. The first time was on January 13, 2018, where the area that links Harasta and Douma cities was shelled with poisonous gases causing injuries to six civilians, including women and children, examined in an earlier report published by STJ. The second incident occurred on January 22, 2018, where residential neighbourhoods in the western northern region of Douma were shelled with poisonous gas resulting in the injury of 21 civilians, including women and children. STJ published a joint report with Bellingcat concerning that incident.
According to Bellingcat, the munitions used in the February 1 attack are Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions (IRAMs), based on modified Iranian 107mm rockets. The standard warhead has been replaced with a large pressurized gas cylinder, and tail fins have been added to the rocket. The munition matches exactly with the design of munition used in the January 22 2018 chlorine attack in Douma, Damascus, as well as chlorine attacks that took place in Damascus in early 2017. In some cases, rockets from the 2018 attacks share the same lot numbers, indicating they are from the same manufacturing batch. This strongly indicates that the rockets used in the 2018 attacks would have originated from the same source.