A chemical weapons expert responds to the Al Akhbar article ‘Questions plague UN report on Syria’

Brown Moses Blog: Earlier this week an article was published by Al Akhbar, Questions Plague UN Report on Syria, making a number of claims about the UN report, including “There is not a single environmental sample in Moadamiyah that tested positive for Sarin.” and “It is scientifically improbable that survivors would test that highly for exposure to Sarin without a single trace of environmental evidence testing positive for the chemical agent.“. This is then used to claim that the 140mm artillery rockets fired at Moadamiyah were not carrying Sarin, as widely reported, and that the trajectory of these rockets, as per the UN report, which crosses over with the trajectory of other rockets fired at Eastern Ghouta over the Syrian army’s Republican Guard 104th Brigade base, is indicative of nothing, as the munitions did not contain Sarin.

One of the chemical weapon experts quoted in the article is Dan Kaszeta, who has responded to the article with a FAQ he’ll be publishing online shortly.

Q: The article claims “not a single environmental sample in Moadamiyah that tested positive for Sarin.” – What is your reaction to this?

I consider this statement to be a misleading half-truth that “cherry picks” from the UN report. It is true in respect to the fact that no actual Sarin was found in the 13 environmental samples taken from Moadamiyah. But the samples show DIMP, IMPA, and MPA, all of which are strong indicators of Sarin. The environmental samples are clear indicators that Sarin was used because of the clear presence of chemicals that are clearly decomposition products (IMPA, MPA) and impurities (DIMP), all of which persist longer in the environment than Sarin itself. [Continue reading…]

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