One Building, One Bomb: How Assad Gassed His Own People

Syrian officials say there wasn’t a chemical attack. What really happened?

We created a virtual crime scene to investigate this bombing. Explore the scene in augmented reality.

On April 7, a chemical bomb was dropped onto the balcony of a multistory building in Douma, a neighborhood near Damascus, Syria. At least 34 people were killed.

The United States and its European allies blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and launched airstrikes to punish him.

Syrian officials still deny that bombing took place, and their Russian allies said that the attack was staged.

The investigation uncovered many pieces of evidence that contradict Mr. Assad and his allies. Here are some of the things we found:

Key pieces of evidence

1 Indentation near the nose.

2 Black corrosion from chlorine gas.

3 Lattice imprint on the bomb.

4 Bomb’s rigging found in the debris.

The dents in the bomb’s nose, the lattice markings and the rigging that could be seen in the debris are evidence that the bomb was dropped from an aircraft. Because the Syrian military controls the airspace over Douma, it would be almost impossible for the attack to have been staged by opposition fighters who do not have aircraft.

The black corrosion is evidence supporting the charge that chlorine was used in the attack. The corrosion is similar to that which is caused when metal is exposed to chlorine and water.