Monday 29 April 2013

Links Between Alleged Chemical Attacks In Saraqeb, Idlib, and Sheikh Maghsoud, Aleppo

Today there's been fresh reports of an alleged chemical attack on the town of Saraqeb, Idlib, with photographs and videos from the scene posted online

One thing that stood out was this image, of one of devices supposedly used to deliver the chemical

What stands out about this is it appears to be a very strong match to the remnants of devices that were supposedly used in an earlier attack in Sheikh Maghsoud, Aleppo, for example

Note the large ridge, and these two features

Also note the top of the item in the Saraqeb images, and this image

There's also been a video posted online showing what is supposedly the attack occurring, and this does not appear to match to any form of attack I've seen in Syria before, and looks very much like something falling through the sky producing smoke/gas (h/t James Miller of EA Worldview)

This leads me to believe the same devices and chemical were used in both attacks, but as yet it's unclear what the chemical and device is.

Update April 29th 2013 Something else that links the two attacks is the description of the earlier attack, via Mohammed Aly Sergie
Some survivors said the canisters were dropped from a helicopter, but others didn't hear rotors. Doctors don't know what the chemicals were
Update April 29th 2013 Another video has been uploaded showing the victims, and a much clearer shot of the device used

This extra detail on this video seems to prove that the devices used in both attacks were identical.

Update April 30th 2013 Thanks to Anita McNaught of Al Jazeera English for sending me this new video show the canister much more clearly

Related posts
A Great Example Of How Not To Write About Chemical Weapons And Arms In Syria

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  1. Hi there, is it at all possible these are canisters for some very potent type of tear gas, which can cause similar symptoms and also lead to death in some cases?

  2. Regarding the last Sheikh Maqsud photo with the gloved man holding two triggering mechanisms:

    The one on the left matches the first SM and Saraqeib, and it possibly is a screw-on to the polymer canister.

    I believe the chemicals are held in binary form in this can. The grenade handle is just a mechanism tied to the delivery projectile that when the polymer canister is ejected from the delivery mechanism, the metal grenade handle activates the trigger mechanism, which then causes the chemicals to mix and react. You can see 4 drilled holes in the polymer canister which is where the combined chemicals escape as a gas as the canister descends.

    How do the canisters get ejected from the delivery mechanism? Possibly a small explosive charge does the trick and which then causes the triggers to activate and mix the chemicals in each canister. The polymer canister from Saraqeib shows burn marks.

    One mystery about this photo is why is the man holding two triggers and why are they so different? Were more than one canisters retrieved from the SM event? The right hand trigger appears metallic, or is that burnt polymer?

    If this was dropped from a helicopter, then possibly it were just one or a few canisters, triggered by hand by pulling the metal handle, activating the trigger and the the chemical reaction, and then letting go of the device.

  3. These canisters are dropped from helicopters one at a time as the video shows one descending. This is just a test for western nerves. Once Assad sees the "green light" it will come in clustered delivery projectiles or bombs, tens at a time.

    They are taking one canisters which has the two chemicals in binary form, and after manually activating the trigger, dropping it from the helicopter. There is a cable attached to the trigger which is probably how they activate it while it is outside the helicopter for safety.