#BreakingGhouta

An investigation revealing the deliberate destruction of eastern Ghouta, Syria.

The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) has assembled a team of open source researchers and investigative journalists utilizing the latest methodologies in rigorous open source, social media, and digital forensic research to expose the facts on the ground in the latest atrocities committed against Syrian civilians, specifically the all-out attack on eastern Ghouta.

We are proud to announce the result: Breaking Ghouta.

From February 18 through April 8 a total of 16,934 documented strikes hit eastern Ghouta, an average of 345.6 per day. On February 21, 2018, the heaviest day of attacks in eastern Ghouta, 1,658 strikes were recorded.

The majority of these attacks used traditional weaponry. However, some involved more pernicious methods.

The evidence is irrefutable and available to everyone.

In Ghouta, at least six suspected chemical weapon attacks took place during the government’s campaign to recapture the suburb. Five of these attacks have been verified by examining images and witness statements collected following the attacks. The deadliest attack occurred on April 7 and precipitated Douma’s surrender a day later, as well as prompting international outcry.

On five days during the offensive, local activists documented multiple cluster munition attacks. Most of eastern Ghouta’s population centers were hit, injuring and killing individuals who appeared to be mostly civilians. The targeting of hospitals also continued in eastern Ghouta, with attacks on Arbin Surgical Hospital on March 20 and Hamdan Hospital on April 7. Incendiary weapons appear to have been used in at least 25 attacks during the ground operation against eastern Ghouta, with the weapons being deployed primarily against urban areas behind the front-lines. At least two of these events appear to have caused mass civilian casualties, killing over 100 people in total.

The offensive concluded with the largest forced population transfer recorded throughout the conflict, with the displacement of 66,369 people from their homes in eastern Ghouta to the rebel-held north.

The evidence won’t let us forget.

Read the full report here.

Watch the trailer here.