Confirmed the February attack by chlorine in Saraqib

OPCW inspectors collecting samples in Douma the scene of the chemical attack

OPCW inspectors collecting samples in Douma the scene of the chemical attack

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed on Wednesday that chlorine was likely used in a February attack in Saraqib, Syria.

Chlorine was possibly used as a weapon in the rebel-held northern Syrian town of Saraqeb in early February, the worldwide chemical weapons watchdog has said.

In response to persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks in Syria, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) was set up in 2014 with an on-going mandate "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic".

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In line with its mandate, the OPCW did not say which party was behind the attack on Saraqeb, which lies in rebel-held territory in the province of Idlib.

The OPCW is also investigating a suspected chemical attack on April 7 in the Douma enclave near Damascus, which prompted missile attacks by the US, France and Britain.

It has not issued a report on that attack yet.

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The Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons has said samples show a high probability that chlorine gas was used in an attack in Syria.

Last month, Russian Federation held a press conference close to the OPCW headquarters in The Hague, at which it produced witnesses that claimed no chemical weapons attack had occurred, and that any choking had been due to dust inhalation.

The move averted threatened USA air strikes by the previous USA administration after about 1,000 people died in an August 2013 sarin gas attack.

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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 chemical weapons agency has not named anyone but activists accuse the Syrian regime, saying its forces targeted the rebel-held area. Rebels were found to have used sulphur mustard once on a small scale.

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