OPCW to exhume bodies of Douma attack victims

Global chemical arms inspectors are preparing to exhume some bodies of victims in the Syrian town of Douma as they work to verify an alleged chemical attack, AFP reported Thursday (May 3rd).

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) chief Ahmet Uzumcu told the Financial Times the organisation's fact-finding mission had already gathered over 100 "environmental samples" since gaining access to the site north-east of Damascus on April 21st.

The OPCW's mission to Douma was launched after an April 7th onslaught horrified the world and prompted retaliatory strikes on Syrian military installations.

But inspectors, in a bid to find further evidence of alleged chlorine and sarin use in the deadly attack, are now looking at "ways to exhume and take some biomedical samples", Uzumcu said.

"It is a very sensitive process," he said. "That is why they are very cautious. Although our experts have been able to attend some autopsies in the past, this is going to be the first time we have exhumed bodies."

The OPCW confirmed to AFP that inspectors are looking to conduct autopsies on the bodies, adding that the fact-finding mission "is continuing to explore all avenues for collecting evidence".

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