The Khan Sheikhoun Ambush

The Horror

The videos are harrowing. Children lying wet in the mud, choking like beached fish. Among them are the usual White Helmets fakers and con men, but this is clearly not just one of their chicken-blood-and-chalk-powder B-movies. They treat their “patients” roughly, dumping them unceremoniously on the ground, flipping them like carcasses, jerking a dying child’s head around for the camera like they’re putting a cantaloupe on display on a streetcart. Nevertheless, this time it’s mostly real.

Their “doctor” Shajul Islam, who claims they are victims of Syrian sarin, is a former ISIS terrorist who escaped a long sentence in Belmarsh prison thanks to the journalists he kidnapped & shot mysteriously declining to testify in a trial where they were the plaintiffs. He is clearly lying, as the victims show no sign of nerve damage, a fact backed up by Turkish doctors in Reyhanli. If the poison that killed so many of them were sarin, not only would there be no survivors, but the “aid workers” with no protective clothing would have suffered the same fate. They would have died in extreme agony and bone-snapping contortions, bathing in their own bodily fluids, as their nervous systems collapsed.

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A few victims did exhibit upper-limb contortions but nothing like what sarin would do. We’ll see that a favorite Al Qaeda chemical weapon, phosphine, produces such symptoms.

Most telling of all, sarin is odorless but multiple mainstream sources like AFP and The Telegraph have reported the presence of a strong stench of rotting matter – an odor that didn’t result in the death of those who smelled it, as it would with any self-respecting military chemical weapon.

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Yet, despite all the lies, they have been poisoned. By what, how, when, and where? And who are they? It’s hard to tell from the available photos since their Al Qaeda-affiliated sources downsized them to obliterate details like surface wounds or large pupils that would challenge their sarin story. Nor have they provided any record of the site of the chemical incident. The earliest point where we see the victims is several hours after the 6.30 AM airstrike that triggered the incident. They are lying in an open triage area inside the town waiting to be transported to the cave-and-bunker “hospital” outside of town.

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Hours after the early dawn airstrike that allegedly triggered the CW incident, victims are lying in an outdoor triage area.

Witnesses told The Telegraph that the airstrike hit Corniche Street in the north of the town. Al Qaeda propagandist Hadi al Abdullah staged a dog-and-pony show around a crater near the grain silos in the north of the town but what the crater contained was a bent and ruptured 122mm tube that might have come from a Grad rocket and a fuse plate from a larger weapon, none of them having any connection to aerial weapons. It is not known at this time whether Corniche Street is the street in front of the grain silo or a street branching off from it and going south, on which a building was hit by the airstrike, producing a cloud of smoke that differed from the other three in that it remained close to the ground.

The attack happened around 6.32am local time. A video distributed by opposition activists claiming to be of the moments after the air strike, which hit Corniche Street in a northern neighbourhood of Khan Sheikhoun, showed several large plumes of smoke.

The Telegraph, 5 April 2017

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The sidewalk next to Hadi al Abdallah’s showcase crater is pockmarked by shrapnel and the tree on top of it is totally shredded, clear proof that the munition that exploded there was conventional.

Later in the day, the choking and dying victims were carried on the backs of pickup trucks to the former Syrian Army Camp Khazanat refueling base southwest of the town where the White Helmets have set up a hospital for treating the Al Qaeda-affiliated Jaish al Izza fighters who hold the town. After the pandemonium of ineffective rescue and treatment efforts, the relatives of the victims arrived in the late afternoon, which tells us that at least some of the victims are bona fide and not hostages abducted during the battles raging at Hama, a short hop to the south.

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Camp Khazanat vehicle bunkers transformed into an Al Qaeda underground hospital

The bunker-and-tunnel complex was hit by an airstrike later on, destroying a warehouse next to the subterranean hospital’s entrance, where I and others initially mistakenly assumed that the chemical weapons that killed the townsfolk were stored. Apparently the building contained inocuous stores. The bunkers and tunnels of the White Helmet hospital don’t contain any more clues to the truth than this.

The Showcase Crater

The truth begins to emerge with the video shot by a drone operated by the Gaziantep-based Qasioun News Agency, which just “happened” to be hovering north of Khan Sheikhoun at daybreak, when a Syrian Su-22 fired 4 missiles at the town. Frames from the video spliced together by Eliott Higgins, the US- and Qatari-funded self-taught “expert” of military forensics, show clearly where the 4 missiles hit. By Higgins’s own geolocation, none of them hit the street in front of the grain silos in the north of the town. Though Higgins won’t admit it, Hadi al Abdullah’s widely-publicized performance around that hole in the ground is, like most of his “reporting,” a hoax.

There is, however, an impact geolocated at a building not far from the grain silo crater, producing a cloud of smoke on the Turkish drone video that doesn’t rise like the other other three and is a different color. A video of the location shows that the building has been destroyed, indicating that the munition used was conventional. A chemical weapon has a very small explosive payload, enough to disperse the chemical without burning it. It certainly can’t destroy a building.

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The four impacts are clearly visible, smoke rising in the still air from the heat of the explosion, heat that would be absent if the missiles were tipped with chemicals (because the heat would destroy them). Note that the third smoke cloud from the left looks quite different than the others and would legitimately merit further investigation.

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That smoke cloud corresponds to a bombed building barely 200 meters from Hadi al Abdullah’s fake chemical weapons crater. Why then didn’t the “reporter of the year” take the short stroll to claim his “chemical weapons” Pulitzer prize there?

Then we have the Pentagon’s own strangely low-quality, barely legible graphic that was the supposed justification for the US Tomahawk missile strike on the Al Shayrat airbase of Homs, from where the Su-22 that attacked Khan Sheikhoun took off.

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Pentagon graphic claiming to “prove” that the Syrian air force attacked Khan Sheikhoun with chemical weapons is entitled “Alleged Chemical Attack.” A close examination of the graphic reveals why the Pentagon had so little confidence it its own claim.

Chrisitian Triebert, a recent addition to Bellingcat who is an experienced and serious conflict analyst, unlike the couch-bound Higgins, pasted the Pentagon’s low-resolution radar flight track as accurately as possible on a larger map. The result shows us that almost all military flights from Al Shayrat circumvented Khan Sheikhoun and none of them were recorded in the north of the town, where the Pentagon and Al Qaeda’s showcase crater is located.

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So now we have video from a Turkish quad drone that was manifestly launched in anticipation of the airstrike (not having the range to loiter), the Pentagon’s own radar track, and two witnesses filmed in front of a bombed-out building geolocated at 200m from Hadi al Abdullah’s crater, all telling us that the April 4 early morning airstrike hit a totally different area of the town than the crater bandied about by Al Qaeda’s media man and his Pentagon support team.

The Ambush

Now let’s get to the part where the story becomes one of an ambush. How did the Turks know when there was going to be an airstrike on Khan Sheikhoun to have a short-range quad drone up & running to record it? Former DIA Colonel Patrick Lang tells us:

ANALYSIS by retired Col. Patrick LANG

Donald Trump’s decision to launch cruise missile strikes on a Syrian Air Force Base was based on a lie. In the coming days the American people will learn that the Intelligence Community knew that Syria did not drop a military chemical weapon on innocent civilians in Idlib. Here is what happened.

  1. The Russians briefed the United States on the proposed target. This is a process that started more than two months ago. There is a dedicated phone line that is being used to coordinate and deconflict (i.e., prevent US and Russian air assets from shooting at each other) the upcoming operation.

  2. The United States was fully briefed on the fact that there was a target in Idlib that the Russians believes was a weapons/explosives depot for Islamic rebels.

  3. The Syrian Air Force hit the target with conventional weapons. All involved expected to see a massive secondary explosion. That did not happen. Instead, smoke, chemical smoke, began billowing from the site. It turns out that the Islamic rebels used that site to store chemicals, not sarin, that were deadly. The chemicals included organic phosphates and chlorine and they followed the wind and killed civilians.

You don’t need to be a former DIA officer to know that Russia and the US brief each other on the targets they will hit in Syria. It’s what kept this F-15 and A-10 flying south of Idlib from running into Russian air-to-air or S-300 missiles. It’s called deconfliction. The US knew – until deconfliction was suspended by Russia after the US Tomahawk strike – where the Russian and Syrian air forces would operate as a matter of course, being regularly notified by the Russians who assumed that they were after the same enemies: ISIS and Al Qaeda, not the Syrian government.

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USAF A-10 and F-15 over the southern countryside of Idlib on November 12, 2016

That’s of course until the US pulled a fast one and told the Turks that the Syrians were going to hit what it knew was an Al Qaeda chemical weapons factory. The Russians and Syrians had discovered several of these in East Aleppo, such as this one in Masakeen Hanano visited by RT reporter Lizzie Phelan:

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Phosphine, a favorite chemical weapon of Al Qaeda-aligned jihadis in Syria, capable of producing the exact symptoms seen in Khan Sheikhoun.

None of these chemical weapons, nor the great many times they were fired at both civilians and government forces, nor the great many victims they made, were ever acknowledged by the UN’s relevant authority the OPCW, as the US always blocked the evidence supplied, somewhat naively, by the Russians from being reported. The US was now going to bankroll this supression of information that had generated the near-universal belief that any chemical weapons had to come from the government side, despite the fact that the OPCW had declared all Syrian chemical weapons destroyed on January 4, 2016.

The ambush was prepared first of all by supplying the first responders with Level A hazmat suits and gas masks. Shajul Islam, who appeared to know exactly what was in store for the town, expressed his relief:

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I could be wrong but I don’t think the White Helmets knew what was coming because their shock and anger appeared genuine. Tellingly, they totally forgot to don their new hazmat suits. However Hadi al Abdullah, who had prepared his crater coverup scenario and brought along some of his trusted extras to liven the scene, was probably in the loop as well.

Shajul Islam, Probably an Mi6 Asset

Next, Shajul Islam was ready to say the s-word and the usual suspect NGOs – MSF, Amnesty, etc. – were waiting for the signal to underwrite the “sarin” judgement. At this point it might be useful to look back at who this Shajul Islam character is.

Choudari-Bakri_webcastThe main characters of the story are Omar Bakri’s apprentice-jihadi (and like him, one of Londonistan’s Mi5 asset luminaries) Anjem Choudari, who took over Her Majesty’s jihad business after the old Afghanistan/Bosnia hands of Al Mouhajiroun had either been jailed or offshored like Bakri. Choudari set up Sharia4Belgium, taking advantage of the disarray of the security services in that crisis-ridden country. Choudari and his Belgium rep Fouad Belkacem reeled in angry young Muslim men – a lot of those in racist Europe – and showed them how the Koran wasn’t just an ordinary religious text but a recipe for religious war.

Shajul Islam, an East London kid, was one of Choudari’s converts. As Sharia4Belgium neared the end of its service life with a police crackdown appearing on the horizon, a batch of apprentice-jihadis were taken to Syria under the wing of Amr al Absi, a Syrian former comrade-in-jihad of Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq. Amr and his brother Firas set up shop in 2012 at the Bab al Hawa border crossing, which they took over from the FSA and over which they hoisted the first ISIS flag in Syria.

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Al Absi gang flying the ISIS flag at Bab al Hawa, July 29, 2012

As bad luck would have it, two Western “journalists,” John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans were just crossing over from Turkey at this time to show the world what wonderful democracy-loving people the thieving FSA cannibals were. The hardcore Salafists of the Al Absi gang had no sympathy for the FSA or for the Crusader journalists doing their PR, so they kidnapped them and began to discuss how they would execute them on live video. Shajul Islam was just as gung-ho about beheading the kuffar as all the rest. However their camp was eventually attacked by Turkish intelligence, who freed the two journos. Amr al Absi’s big brother Firas was killed, starting the feud between the FSA and ISIS.

When Al Absi lost Bab al Hawa, he joined forces with a bunch of Georgian Chechens led by Tarkan Batirashvili aka Abu Omar and eventually convinced Omar to give baya to Abu Bakr Baghdadi, head of ISIS.

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Amr al Absi (circled) with the US-trained future top military commander of ISIS Abu Omar.

Cantlie and Oerlemans, returning home, told Scotland Yard about the South London NHS doctor jihadi who had kidnapped and terrorized them, so that Shajul Islam was duly arrested on his return and put on trial for terror offenses. However British intelligence was in no mind to lose such a valuable asset so Cantlie and Oerlemans were persuaded not to testify and the terrorist walked. His doctor’s license was, however, taken from him in a secret hearing.

Neither of the two journalists will ever be able to tell this story, however, as Oerlemans was killed by a sniper and Cantlie ended up in an orange ISIS jumpsuit.

And so it was that Shajul Islam ended up as Her Majesty’s Physician to Al Qaeda in Idlib, in close contact with various Mi6 front NGO’s and the DGSE’s very own MSF, casting the sarin stone at the Syrian government to create a pretext to bomb the Syrian airbase that was pivotal in the Syrian military’s push towards the Euphrates, where US troops are setting up bases and appearing in growing numbers.

As such, the Khan Sheikhoun ambush bears a great resemblance to the September 2016 bombing of Syrian forces at Deir ez Zor by US aircraft. Both operations, no doubt masterminded by the same shifty US Lt Gen Stephen Townsend, aim to weaken the Syrian government’s hand east of the Euphrates, where the US intends to set up a buffer zone between Syria and its Shiite allies in Iraq and Iran.

Postscript: Was the Ambush also a Mass-Murder?

Professor Emeritus Theodore Postol of MIT just published a paper entitled “A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria” that refutes the entire White House intelligence report of April 11 as amateurish, false, misleading, and not a genuine intelligence product. Postol’s main argument is that what Hadi al Abdullah’s showcase crater contains is not an aerial or artillery munition but an improvised sarin explosive device consisting of a 122mm artillery rocket-type pipe sealed at both ends and filled with sarin, which was ruptured by an explosive placed on top of it.

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This hypothesis if verified would make Hadi al Abdullah not only an Al Qaeda propagandist but possibly a mass murderer. There are however obvious problems with the hypothesis. While the IED theory seems likely, the problems of producing and deploying sarin remain. The Aum Shinrikyo sect constructed a veritable chemical factory to produce their sarin and despite releasing it in 5 closed subway cars only managed to kill 12 people. Even supposing that the Khan Sheikhoun sarin was supplied by a major industrialized country and not locally made, it’s unlikely that such a small quantity released in the open on homes with doors and windows closed would cause dozens of deaths. Adding to this the odor reported by many witnesses, we have to conclude that even if there were sarin in that pipe, it wasn’t the only chemical weapon involved in the mass deaths.

That said, whatever evidence may have existed in that crater is now so tainted that we will never know. For example, the circular fuse plate reminiscent of those on the East Ghouta chemical rockets of 2013 that was most likely planted there is now gone.

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The fuse plate in the crater was probably placed there to suggest that the pipe fragment was similar to the chemical rockets that hit Ayn Tarma in Damascus’s East Ghouta contryside on August 21, 2013. It is now gone.

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