Pentagon Doubts US Attack Destroyed Syria’s Chemical Weapons Capacity

Officials claim no civilians killed, despite one attack targeting apartment complex

Pentagon officials offered a briefing Thursday saying they believe they have evidence that there were “elements” of sarin nerve gas at the sites that US-led coalition forces bombed on Friday evening. Officials said they hurt Syria’s ability to research chemicals, but probably didn’t eliminate their chemical weapons capacity.

Syrian apartment complex struck by US missiles

No evidence was offered for either. This gives the impression that Pentagon officials are still trying to sell the attack on Syria a week later. In particular, claiming that Syria retains some capacity that might nerve as a pretext for more US attacks in the future. If nothing else it allows the US to make such allegations, as they did in Douma, irrespective of the evidence.

The Pentagon is clearly not being forthright on the details of the Friday attack. Officials also claimed Thursday that no civilians were killed, despite images clearly showing one of the strikes doing major damage to an apartment complex near a research facility.

The Pentagon further claimed not a single of the 105 missiles was intercepted Friday. Again, videos showing interceptions were released almost immediately after the attacks. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also claimed 65 of the 105 were intercepted.

The US never offered any real proof Syria had chemical weapons or that Syria had attacked Douma with them in the first place. They rather declared them to be a fact before attacking. That leaves them trying to continue the narrative going forward, once again without solid evidence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.