OPCW confirms chlorine gas used in February attack in Syria's Idlib

EPA-EFE  Bart Maat

In what is likely to be seen as a dry run for a more controversial report later this month, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found that the February attack on the neighbourhood of Saraqeb was caused by the dropping of two cylinders that had contained chlorine on to a field in the town.

Banned chlorine munitions were likely dropped on a Syrian neighbourhood in February, an global body on chemical weapons said on Wednesday, after laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the toxic chemical.

State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert reported about the attack with the use of chlorine gas near the city of Saraqib on February 6.

"I strongly condemn the use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, for any objective and under any circumstances, said the Director General of the OPCW Ahmet üzümcü, commenting on the conclusions of the experts of the organization".

The FFM is required to study available information relating to allegations of use of chemical weapons in Syria, including information provided by the Syrian Arab Republic and others.

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

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The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria; it does not include identifying who is responsible for alleged attacks.

The FFM's report on the Saraqib incident has been shared with States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Russia, which supports Assad in the Syrian conflict, chemical attack denies and considers it a production of the West to justify a military strike on Syria. "Attribution was part of the mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism, set up by the UN Security Council, which expired in November 2017", the organization said.

Syria and Russian Federation accused volunteer rescue workers of staging the Douma attack at the behest of the USA and its allies.

Poison gas was released from cylinders and used as chemical weapons.

The Syrian government has been accused multiple times of carrying out chemical weapons attacks on civilians since the civil war began in 2011.

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