May 23, 2018

OPCW says chlorine was likely used in Syria's Idlib in February 2018

16 May 2018, 05:39 | Taylor George

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirms chlorine use in February attack in Syria

A global arms watchdog confirmed that chlorine was

To the OPCW, added that the mandate of MOFS is to establish the facts of use of chemical weapons or toxic chemicals and is not meant to establish responsibility for the alleged attack. The document was also submitted to the Security Council through the United Nations secretary-general.

"The FFM [fact-finding mission] determined that chlorine was released from cylinders by mechanical impact in the Al Talil neighbourhood of Saraqib", the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement from its headquarters in the Netherlands.

Environmental samples also "demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine in the local environment", said the organisation, based in The Hague. Only Syrian government forces are known to have helicopters.

About 11 people were treated after the attack on February 4. for mild and moderate symptoms of toxic chemical exposure, including breathing difficulties, vomiting and unconsciousness, the report said.

Recall, April 7 volunteer organizations in Syria reported chemical attack on the city of Douma, which killed dozens of people, including children.

The Syrian government produced a three-page denial of responsibility, and failed to answer a further set of OPCW questions sent on 14 March.

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The team exhumed bodies and gathered more than 100 environmental samples now being analysed in different OPCW-designated labs.

The use of chemical weapons has become systematic in Syria's seven-year war, but political rifts between Western powers and Russian Federation have hamstrung the United Nations and the OPCW, leaving them unable to act against violations of global law.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu resolutely denounced the use of toxic substances as weapons by anyone for any purposes and under any circumstances, saying that such actions directly contradict the strict ban for the use of poisonous substances enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The FFM's report on the Saraqib incident has been shared with States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The Douma chemical attack in April prompted missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain against chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

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