http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/newsbriefs/2019/03/08/newsbrief-02

Chlorine used in attack on Syria's Douma: OPCW

The Syrian regime on Thursday (March 7th) rejected a report by the world's chemical weapons watchdog confirming chlorine was used in an attack against the Syrian town of Douma in April 2018, AFP reported.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said last Friday that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe toxic chemicals containing "reactive chlorine" had been used in the attack, which witnesses said killed 43 people.

It said two cylinders likely containing the chemical had smashed into a housing block in Douma, which was held by opposition fighters at the time.

The report was based on a visit to Douma by OPCW inspectors.

The team took more than 100 samples from seven sites in the town, to which the regime had denied them access for several weeks.

The OPCW said it reached its conclusions based on "witnesses' testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses from experts".

Friday's report also denied the Syrian regime’s claims that the gas came from an opposition chemical weapons facility and storehouse in the area.

The OPCW has investigated multiple chemical attacks during the eight-year war, and has previously confirmed the use of "chlorine, sulphur mustard, and sarin as chemical weapons" in other incidents.

The organisation previously had no mandate to assign responsibility for attacks, but has since been given powers to investigate responsibility for all chemical attacks in Syria back to 2014.

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