Chlorine likely used in February attack in Idlib, Syria-weapons agency

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.

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

A global arms watchdog on Wednesday confirmed that chlorine was "likely used as a chemical weapon" in a February attack on the Syrian town of Saraqeb.

"Apparently, the incident on 4 February this year, as chemical weapons were used chlorine, which was sprayed in the air from the cylinders as a result of mechanical influence", - noted in the organization.

Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Hussam Edin Aala rejected the accusation, saying, "Syria can not possibly be using chemical weapons because it very simply has none in its possession".

"This was the role created by the UN security Council, the Joint UN and OPCW to investigate chemical attacks in Syria, whose mandate expired in December 2017", - reminded in the organization.

The group said it came to its conclusion based on the presence of two cylinders at the site, which were determined to previously contain chlorine, along with witness testimony and environmental samples that demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine.

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

In a brief statement Ahmet Üzümcü, the head of OPCW, said: "I strongly condemn the use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, for any reason, and in any circumstances".

"These chemicals were detected in previous sarin attacks, Khan Sheikhoun, East Ghouta and no doubt Douma", Bretton-Gordon said.

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

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a "foul smell after regime helicopters struck several areas of the town in Idlib province, causing five civilians to suffer from suffocation". France and the United States stated that the evidence of use of chemical weapons in the Duma.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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