Chemical weapons watchdog confirms chemicals used in Syria attack

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THE Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — a global chemical weapons watchdog based in The Hague, The Netherlands — says lab analysis has confirmed the use of the banned nerve agent sarin and chlorine in an attack in northern Syria last year.

The OPCW, which is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention established in 1997, released a statement on Wednesday which said that the banned chemical nerve agent sarin was used south of the city of Ltamenah in the Hama governate on March 24, 2017.

It also “concluded that toxic chemical chlorine was very likely used as a chemical weapon at Ltamenah Hospital and the surrounding area on 25 March 2017”.

The OPCW’s fact-finding mission and team is not mandated to apportion blame for chemical attacks.

The organisation says its findings were based on witness testimony and analysis of samples.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has refused to admit that chemicals were used in the attacks and has shifted blame to the West for the prolongation of the war.

Half a million Syrians have been killed since the conflict began in 2011, while 11 million have been forced from their homes in a country whose population stood at 23 million when the conflict began.

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