Infowars, one of the nation’s top peddlers of conspiracy theories, is promoting the idea that Syrian rebels orchestrated a “false flag” chemical weapons attack in order to encourage foreign military intervention in the country, echoing the claims of the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
This weekend, aid groups reported that dozens of people were killed in a chemical attack in the rebel-held city of Douma in Syria that reportedly involved the use of a toxic nerve gas. Last year, United Nations investigators found the Syrian government to blame for a similar chemical attack, but the BBC reported that Syria’s state propaganda outlet is denying the Assad regime’s involvement and claiming reports of the Sarin gas attack “were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.”
Many world leaders criticized the Syrian government for the “barbaric” attack, including President Trump, who criticized “President Putin, Russia and Iran” for backing Assad:
Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018
Yesterday, conspiracy theory architect Alex Jones echoed the Assad regime and called the chemical attack a “false flag” launched by Syrian rebel forces that was meant to keep the U.S. and other world powers engaged in Syria’s civil war.
“It has every hallmark of a false flag. And why does it have every hallmark of a false flag? The Russians have announced they’re pulling out a month ago, the United States announces it’s going to pull out a week ago—President Trump. The globalists openly want to keep us there and break the country into three parts. This is a big, big deal,” Jones said.
He added, “It’s so obvious that they’re trying to suck us into a war.”
Infowars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson also uploaded his own video defending the Assad regime from accusations that it was behind the chemical attacks in Douma.
“With the Syrian army and Russia on the verge of defeating ISIS and jihadist rebels in the town of Douma, they launch a massive chemical weapons attack that brings global condemnation, inviting massive U.S. airstrikes across the country and we’re just supposed to swallow this entire narrative without question,” Watson said. “No. That’s insane.”
Watson took a second to clarify that he believed the attack did happen and that people did actually die before he claimed that “it makes absolutely no sense for the Russians or Syrians to be behind this attack.”
“Why does almost every chemical weapon attack happen when the Syrian army is about to close in on a rebel stronghold? And what’s the evidence here? Unverified footage from the White Helmets—a group with direct links to the very jihadist groups that benefit from this chemical weapons attack,” Watson said.
David Knight, who hosts the Infowars morning program, questioned whether Trump’s condemnation of the Assad regime was evidence that the president was being “gaslighted” about the attack and insinuated that Trump may be assassinated if he resists calls for military action.
“I don’t know whether President Trump is being gaslighted, whether he really believes this or whether he knows what happened to JFK,” Knight said, “as he’s not playing along with this—or is he fooled by what is going on? But nevertheless, it is dangerous.”
Infowars also ran cover for the Assad regime after last year’s gas attack and promoted the “#SyriaHoax” narrative alongside other conspiracy theorists like Mike Cernovich. It was later revealed the campaign could be traced back to a pro-Assad propaganda outlet.