Thursday, April 06, 2017

What Happened in Syria?

What caused the chemical calamity in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria on April 4, 2017?
Developing Story - Interim Summary (updated April 6, 2017 5:00 PM UTC):

The Rootclaim analysis finds that this was unlikely to have been a deliberate attack by the Syrian Arab Army. It was most likely either a deliberate attack by opposition fighters or an unintentional release of opposition chemical weapons caused by a Syrian Air Force attack.

This outcome is based primarily on the following factors:

In considering the Starting Point there are hardly any useful statistics, as such attacks are very rare. There is only one known prior large scale use of sarin gas on civilians in Syria (Ghouta 2013). Rootclaim's analysis found that the evidence strongly indicated it was an attack by the opposition. Thus, the basis for the Starting Point leans moderately in favor of an opposition attack.

This inclination is strengthened when considering the further requirement that in order to carry out a chemical attack, the Syrian government would have needed to have successfully evaded the internationally supervised destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal.

In evaluating the possibility of an unintentional release of opposition chemical weapons, the analysis considers the frequency of sarin use by the opposition, and the likelihood that a government attack could cause the chain of events necessary for an accidental sarin release. The result indicates that while requiring a rare coincidence, there were enough opportunities for this to occur, making it a viable option.

Subsequently, the specific evidence of this case is considered. So far, no evidence has surfaced that significantly supports or contradicts any of the hypotheses. The limited geography of the attack and the Syrian government claims somewhat raise the likelihood of an unintentional release.

Note: This is a developing story. Rootclaim will continue to incorporate and assess relevant evidence as it becomes available. Use the “Propose new evidence” option below to add information that is relevant to this analysis.

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