Sunday, 27 May, 2018

OPCW finds "likely use of chlorine as chemical weapon" in Saraqib, Syria

OPCW confirms chlorine gas used in February attack in Syria's Idlib Syria: chlorine 'probably' used by Assad regime in Idlib attack, says UN
Ellis Copeland | 16 May, 2018, 23:25

Aspects of the evidence gathered at Saraqeb and Douma are very similar, weapons experts said. The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria.

Russian Federation will not allow the mandate to be renewed unless the United Nations security council - on which Russian Federation has a veto - is empowered to reject or endorse the body's findings.

Before the panel's mandate ran out late a year ago, it also found the Syrian military to blame for at least three chemical attacks in villages in 2014 and 2015.

Environmental samples also "demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine in the local environment", said the organisation, based in The Hague.

Attack: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, reported government airstrikes on rebel-held Saraqeb on February 4, adding 11 people had to be treated for breathing difficulties after the attack.

Though the OPCW, per its usual mandate, does not suggest a responsible party, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been accused of launching the strike.

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

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons examined two canisters that were dropped on Saraqib, Syria in February and found they tested positive for chlorine. The town has before come under suspected chemical attacks, including in 2016 and in 2013.

I strongly condemn the continued use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, for any reason, and in any circumstances.

The team exhumed bodies as well as gathering over 100 environmental samples which are being analysed in different OPCW-designated labs.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu harshly criticized the chemical attack.

Assad regime forces have carried out 215 chemical attacks against the opposition since 2011, killing almost 1,500 people, including 187 children and 244 women, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR).

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