Date of Report: July 25, 2020
Falling chlorine cylinders have taken many different forms in Syria – if one was inclined to believe the claims of the White Helmets. But no-variant has received as much media attention as the type found at Douma on the 7th April, 2018.
The two cylinders recorded at the scenes of both “Location 2”, the balcony, and “Location 4”, the bedroom (hereafter known as L2 & L4) are alleged to have been chlorine cylinders. This is due largely to the theory that yellow cylinders house chlorine and less due to the claims of some witnesses smelling chlorine or ‘smells resembling swimming pools’.
But are yellow cylinders by default chlorine cylinders? Or can they house other gases? And have similar types of yellow cylinders been recorded in the possession of either the government or the opposition?
This is a widely available image of the L2 cylinder found on the balcony at Douma. Both the L2 & L4 locations are said to have used the same type of cylinder.
I struggled for a long time to find similar cylinders either in government released video/imagery or from opposition sources. My aim was to attempt to ascertain in what setting they may have used given they’re clearly portable devices thus designed to be moved around. We see evidence of this in a video outside the Lataminah hospital as a lightly built man is handling the same type of cylinder into the back of van, with no help.
This video points to the cylinders being portable and similar to the “chlorine cylinders” in size and shape. But they’re blue and would seem to contain oxygen in this setting.
During the course of my investigation into Lataminah Hospital, I carried out in-depth research on all forms of social media looking for anything chlorine and hospital related. This lead me to tweets by Bild’s Julian Röpcke on an attack on a hospital in 2019.
Look at the last image. Here it is again.
Note the cylinders on the left? Note their colours? I decided to find out more on the incident therefore carried out a reverse image search on Yandex and found the incident to be in Idlib at Talmanes August 2019.
This also took me to a site that hosted several videos of the destruction.
Whilst watching the videos I noted other yellow cylinders in the hospital that caught my attention.
The middle image of the operating theatre shows a cylinder that, in the depicted setting, could only have been used for oxygen. Given that blue cylinders were apparently used for oxygen at Lataminah I needed to be sure of the use of the yellow cylinders in this setting.
I began studying the third image and something seemed quite familiar about it. I checked my notes on “Talmanes” and found a record I’d made on a report from Sky News’ Alex Crawford from a hospital there last year. I had even tweeted her about her report at the time.
I went back and watched Alex’s report and the White Helmet showing her around the ruins confirmed my suspicion that the yellow cylinders were indeed Oxygen cylinders. (Also note how effortlessly the cylinder is to lift, I will come back to this later.)
Something else struck me whilst watching Alex’s report. The cylinder in the theatre was missing.
Recall the theatre image provided above?
Yet the cylinder in the first room visited remained:
Why would one cylinder remain and another be removed? A theory could be that in the Sky News footage the cylinder above is distant and blurry and its colour and features are not easily discernible. But Crawford would likely visit the operating theatre and having an obvious big yellow cylinder sitting in full view might bring unwanted attention towards it and therefore lead to many questions; that I’m now asking. Maybe this is why Crawford’s report also doesn’t feature footage of the collection of cylinders in the third room (hereafter known as the Storage Room)?
Just to be certain the cylinder in the operating room did indeed contain oxygen, I took a closer look. Note the valve?
It’s very similar to this one.
This is what is known as a “Oxygen Regulator”:
With that, I believe the evidence is compelling that these yellow cylinders, in this instance, contain oxygen.
I looked again at the valve from the L4 cylinder (as the L2 cylinder’s is missing) to see what, if any, similarities it has to the cylinders in the storage room.
What I’m trying to highlight in the above image is the same box indentation on the valves with what seems to be the same oblong circle inside the box. The reason why the left image cuts short from displaying the entire valve is because the video footage quickly gets blurred, like this:
Comparing the valves we can begin to see they are quite similar:
Let me quickly clarify a few apparent discrepancies between both.
Red: Left image shows the circular threaded port opened (below). Right shows a threaded port with a stop-end fitted.
Yellow: Left shows a circular collar. Right shows a hexagon nut. Both are manually operated valves with the only difference being that one is circular and one is hexagonal. I’m told by someone at BOC it’s akin to using a flat-head screw as opposed to a star-headed screw and depends on the handle being used.
OPCW-IIT – Cylinder Markings
The OPCW-IIT noted “cylinder markings” on the “chlorine cylinder” allegedly found at Lataminah on March 25, 2017, that are “consistent with having been fitted with a steel strap-in structure”.
I believe these markings to include the darkened band that wraps around the top of the cylinder.
The FFM and IIT claim this marking is caused by the fitting of a metal harness around the cylinder:
The problem with that theory for the OPCW is that if true, if the harness causes this marking on the top of cylinders, then how do they explain this?
We can say conclusively that yellow cylinders don’t by default equate to being chlorine cylinders. We can also say with certainty that the White Helmets were in possession of, and using, the same type of yellow cylinders that were found at Douma in 2018.
A long held argument by those denying staging at Douma is how hard it would be to carry one of these cylinders up or down flights of stairs. I have shown how easily they can managed in videos from Lataminah and Talmanes. Two men would have no issues lifting and carrying a cylinder a distance.
I also find it interesting that Alex Crawford failed to show the ‘Cylinder Storage Room’ and that as she entered the hospital theatre the yellow cylinder, that would have then been in full view of her camera, had been moved whilst nothing else in the room appears disturbed in a significant manner?
The very idea that any military in the world would drop a chlorine cylinder from a helicopter is quite literally preposterous in military terms and to anyone with a decorum of common-sense. But to actually rely on the cylinder valve breaking for it to release its contents is even more ludicrous. Especially when we are told that same military had M4000 sarin bombs that would have cleared the entire block if deployed. Instead, we are told, the Syrians decided to shelve the M4000 and favoured 2 chlorine cylinders dropped from helicopters. And if you question that lunacy, it’s you that’s the conspiracy theorist!
This is the Truth, in a Post-Truth World.