Robert Fisk was on the ground in Syria and actually talked to the local people.
He talked to a doctor who said the dreadful images of civilians pouring water over each other had nothing to do with chemical weapons.
The cause was lack of oxygen.
People in Douma had been hiding in improvised bomb shelters for a long time. Winds blew dust into those shelters. The result was that the people who were hiding from the fighting around them had trouble breathing.
At one point a ‘white helmet’ (a very questionable organisation that claims to help Syrian but has been reported as taking part in killings and supporting western propaganda, see below*) yelled: ‘chemical attack’. At that point people started pouring water over each other and the images went around the world. Without waiting for more clarity the UK, the US and France started bombing, a financially costly affair that accomplished very little. It also sparked a debate on the legality of these actions.
Crazy as it sounds, the UK’s Prime Minister, May, defended her actions, vowed to increase the Defense budget, at a time that the country is plunged in austerity measures weakening the country’s healthcare, educational system and aggravating poverty. She said the bombardment was in the country’s national interest, without specifying in what way this benefits the UK. To deter the use of gas is a weak argument, since the UK is not under any military threat whatsoever. She also made sure to criticize Russia. You might get the idea that the conflict in Syria has very little to do with any concern for the lives of Syrian civilians. The attack seems to have caused no deaths, but then again, the attack was also ineffective. You might almost say that this was a loud form a saber rattling, but with huge risks.
Her main opponent, Corbyn, would like to see a law passed that prohibits aggressive actions overseas without consulting Parliament.
You can read Robert Fisk’s article here.
*the White Helmets were founded by former U.K. intelligence officer and mercenary, James Le Mesurier, and have received hundreds of millions of dollars from the governments of the U.S., the U.K. and Qatar.