Chlorine. Chemical Weapons. Syria's Ghouta - All There in OPCW Report

Published March 2nd, 2019 - 01:00 GMT
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district. (AFP/ File)
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district. (AFP/ File)

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Friday said it found “reasonable grounds” that chlorine was used as a weapon in the Douma district of Eastern Ghouta, Syria in 2018.

The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the OPCW issued its final report on the investigation regarding the "incident of alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon" in April last year.

"The FFM’s [Fact-Finding Mission] activities regarding this allegation included on-site visits to collect environmental samples, conduct witness interviews and gather data," the OPCW said in the report.

It also analysed a number of inputs including witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses and additional digital information from witnesses, according to the report.

"Regarding the alleged use of toxic chemicals as a weapon in Douma, the evaluation and analysis of all the above-referenced information gathered by the FFM provide reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018," it said.

The report revealed the toxic chemical contained "reactive chlorine" and was likely "molecular chlorine".

The report has been shared with States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which will soon receive a briefing at OPCW headquarters in the Hague. It was also transmitted to the UN Security Council through the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

In July 2018, the FFM issued an interim report on the investigation regarding the allegations of chlorine use in Douma.

"The FFM has previously determined that the use of chlorine, sulfur mustard, and sarin as chemical weapons took place in other incidents in the Syrian Arab Republic."

Following the persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks in Syria, the OPCW formed the FFM 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.”

The OPCW, an implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, with its 193 member states, oversees the global endeavour to permanently eliminate chemical weapons.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

This article has been adapted from its original source. 


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