The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed the use of banned weapons in two attacks in central Syria last year
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – In a damaging report into two attacks in central Syria last year, the international chemical weapons watchdog, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued its report, confirming the use of banned weapons.
The OPCW said in a news released on Wednesday that the banned nerve agent sarin and toxic chemical chlorine were “very likely” used as weapons in the two Syrian attacks in late March 2017.
Further, the chemical weapons watchdog said that its Fact-Finding Mission probing the alleged attacks in Syria found that “sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in the south of Ltamenah” in Hama province on March 24.
Adding that the Fact-Finding Mission also found that chlorine was very likely used a day later at and near Ltamenah Hospital.
It said in its official statement, “The conclusions for the 24 March and 25 March incidents are based on separate witness testimony, epidemiological analysis and environmental samples. The collection of information and material, interviewing witnesses, as well as analysis of samples required a longer period of time to draw conclusions.”
The OPCW added that the findings have been sent to the United Nations Security Council and state parties of the Chemical Weapons Convention.
The OPCW is not authorized to apportion blame for chemical attacks.
However, the recent report is the latest in a series of reports from the watchdog confirming the use of toxic agents in the Syrian civil war.
The report released on Wednesday comes at a time when the watchdog is preparing to release potentially damaging
findings of its fact-finding mission on a suspected chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7 this year.
The attack that left hundreds of people with grave injuries and killed dozens of civilians led to a series of coordinated strikes from the U. S., France and the U. K.
The strikes targeted facilities associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program.
Before that, in April 2017, the U. S. President Donald Trump authorized a missile strike on a Syrian airbase following a chemical attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun.
The attack was blamed on the Syrian government.
However, Syria and its allies, Russia and Iran, have repeatedly denied that the country’s government has used chemical weapons.
Devastated by a civil war since 2011, millions of people have been driven from their homes in Syria.
For years now, the U. S. has kept troops in the country, with a primary mission to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.