The United Nations commission investigating possible war crimes in Syria issued a report on June 20, one which condemns the events but is allegedly far more cautious than drafts of the report leaked to the New York Times.
In the 23-page report on the siege mounted against the densely populated suburb close to the capital Damascus, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic details the events that led to its recapture by pro-Government forces in April this year, following a “dramatically escalating” military campaign.
The drafts obtained by the New York Times painted a far more frightening picture of chemical weapons use in eastern Ghouta. The report meticulously detailed six chemical weapons assaults on civilians from January through April 7, the date of the deadliest assault. In what appeared to be a first, it also implicated Iranian-supplied weaponry.
Read the report: 180620 UN HRC Report on Ghouta CWA Investigation (pdf)
Much of this detail, a full seven pages of it, was summarized into two paragraphs in the final document.
A member of the commission, Hanny Megally, stated that many of the details in the early draft needed additional corroboration. “We thought we need to do some more work on this, it’s an ongoing investigation,” Megally said. “So we thought, let’s keep it short.”
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