Chlorine gas likely used in Saraqib attack, chemical weapons watchdog finds

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirms chlorine use in February attack in Syria

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

OPCW is investigating various reports of chemical attacks, including one on Duma in East Ghouta on April 7, which activists claim killed dozens of people. The team's conclusions were based on finding two cylinders that were determined as previously containing chlorine. "It does not include identifying who is responsible for alleged attacks".

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 organization also found an "unusual presence of chlorine in the local environment".

On Feb. 4, the White Helmets search-and-rescue group and a medical charity reported that several people suffered breathing difficulties after a suspected chlorine gas attack on Saraqeb, days after the Trump administration accused President Bashar Assad's government of producing and using "new kinds of weapons" to deliver poisonous gases. Only Syrian government forces are known to have helicopters.

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

In the statement, the OPCW's Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu was quoted as saying: "I strongly condemn the continued use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, for any reason, and in any circumstances".

"Such acts contradict the unequivocal prohibition against chemical weapons enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention", he added.

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

Banned chlorine munitions were likely dropped on a Syrian neighborhood in February, an global body on chemical weapons said on Wednesday, after laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the toxic chemical. The scale of the attack prompted the UK, France and the United States to mount cruise missile strikes on what it said were Syrian government chemical weapons sites.

Damascus joined the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the use or production of toxic arms, in 2013 under a deal brokered by the United States and Russian Federation.

Latest News