Blog archive: Syria

  • 1st April 2021
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    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. "Berlin Group 21", whose website was registered on 10 March, is promoting a "statement of concern" which accuses the...
  • 29th March 2021
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    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. In a lengthy email correspondence with the supposed Russian agent, Prof...
  • 2nd February 2021
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In just six years a small team of investigators at the Bellingcat website have chalked up some remarkable achievements. One was their naming of Russian agents who poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal with Novichok in Britain – followed, a couple of years later, by identifying those behind a similar...
  • 30th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Towards the end of each month the director-general of the OPCW issues a report headed "Progress in the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme". There have been 86 of these reports over the last seven years but what they reveal is not so much progress as a lack of it. More than...
  • 27th November 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    When the 193 countries that are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention hold their annual meeting next week they will face a tricky question regarding one of the members. The general assumption of the Convention is that if countries are willing to sign up to it they are also likely to comply...
  • 6th October 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An interesting situation is developing at the OPCW – the global chemical weapons watchdog – regarding Syria and Russia. Last July the OPCW's executive council set a 90-day deadline for Syria to provide further information about its chemical weapons programme – some of which it was supposed to...
  • 11th August 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Jordan – so far the most successful of the Arab countries in controlling the coronavirus – has reported a sudden spate of new cases which appear to have a connection with Syria. On Monday health minister Saad Jaber said 24 locally-occurring infections had been detected during the previous...
  • 15th June 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Regional round-up ● Saudi Arabia reported 4,233 new Covid-19 infections yesterday – the kingdom's highest daily total so far. Around 40% of the new cases are in the capital, Riyadh, and according to the health ministry they were found mainly "among young people who may not have been...
  • 9th June 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Syria has imposed a lockdown on the town of Ras al-Ma'ara following a cornavirus outbreak there which has so far resulted in 20 people becoming infected. This is the largest cluster of related cases reported by the Syrian authorities since the pandemic began. According to government figures...
  • 25th May 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    If official reports are to be believed it's now more than three weeks since any Syrian living under the Assad regime's rule has become infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus. Although confirmed cases in regime-controlled areas have now risen to 106 the most recent 63 of them were all...
  • 9th April 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    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: "At...
  • 3rd February 2020
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Rebels in Syria used a gas chamber to murder dozens of civilian captives, a university professor has claimed. The claim – which is not supported by any evidence – formed part of a Powerpoint presentation that Edinburgh University professor Paul McKeigue showed to a meeting in London last month...

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