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Sputnik News — April 20, 2018

Hassan Diab shown in Al-Jazeera’s coverage of the alleged chemical attack. Click to see the full-size image

One more Syrian boy, 10-year-old Mustafa, who was portrayed as a victim in a video of the alleged chemical attack’s aftermath in the city of Douma, told Sputnik that the kids had been given cookies and bags of potatoes for their featuring in the staged filming.

Mustafa, thereby, entirely confirmed the account of the events shared by another minor participant of the footage, which was used to justify the Western countries’ military action against Damascus.

Earlier in the week, 11-year-old Syrian boy, Hasan Diab, and his father told the Rossiya 24 TV channel that the kids got dates, cookies and rice for featuring in the video. The boy said that he was in a basement in Douma with his mother when someone shouted to go to the hospital. When they came, somebody grabbed him, poured water on him and put him on a bed with other people in order to shoot a video. The man added that there was no chemical attack in the city.

Mustafa lives in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. He long refused to talk to Sputnik correspondents, since Jaish al-Islam* militants, who used to control the major part of the area for years, insisted that people from the government-controlled areas hate children and aim to kill them. The scared boy declined to speak to the camera. Correspondents only managed to take a picture of him from a distance. After a while, the kid got settled and started speaking out.

“[We] Kids were gathered near the hospital and told that we would get cookies and bags of potatoes if we did everything right. Some people brought large packets, but we were not aware what was inside. Then, we were poured with water from [hoses]. Then, the grown-ups grabbed kids and ran to the hospital. There, we were being filmed. Later, we were given the promised food and told that we were allowed to play since we were behaving well and did what we were told,” Mustafa said.

The boy said that Jaish al-Islam militants pledged to give the kids sweet dates if they followed their instructions.

The kid also shared details about children’s plight in the areas of Eastern Ghouta that had been held by militants.

“Usually, we were not allowed to visit schools and play. We had to work. If they [militants] saw some of the kids play, they shouted at them and sent them home,” Mustafa noted.

Reports about the alleged chemical attack in Douma emerged on April 7. The European Union and the United States have said the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad were behind the attack, however, Damascus has refuted the allegations, saying the alleged attack was staged by the Jaish al-Islam group to create a pretext for foreign intervention in Syria.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said the goal of the reports was to provide cover for terrorists and justify the use of military force against Assad.

*Jaish al-Islam — terrorist group, banned in Russia

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