Watchdog confirms chemical weapon use in Syria's Douma

Watchdog confirms chemical weapon use in Syria's Douma

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 Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In its report released Wednesday OPCW said "that chlorine was released from cylinders" in the Ali Talil neighborhood of Saraqeb in the northern province of Idlib.

The team's conclusions were based on finding two cylinders "which were determined as previously containing chlorine". Patients at medical facilities shortly after the incident also showed signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine and other toxic chemicals.

Eleven people had to be treated for breathing difficulties on February 4 after Syrian regime raids on Saraqeb, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at the time. Western observers said the use of helicopters in the attack suggested Syrian government involvement since the opposition did not have access to helicopters.

Douma probe ongoing: Another OPCW investigative team is now assessing evidence from the Syrian town of Douma to determine whether an April 7 attack that left 40 dead used chlorine and sarin gas. "Such actions are in direct conflict with the unequivocal prohibition on the use of toxic substances contained in the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons".

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

About the attack with the use of chlorine gas near the city of Saraqib announced on 6 February, the head of the press service of the U.S. Department of state Heather Nauert.

Russian Federation and the Syrian regime has refuted claims they carried out the attack, yet repeatedly obstructed and delayed access to the scene by the inspectors, raising suspicions they have tried to destroy evidence.

The FFM was set up in 2014 with an on-going mandate to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria. However, its mandate is only to verify whether chemical weapons have been used, not to establish responsibility.

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