OPCW Confirms Syria Govt.’s Claim on Chemical Weapons

OPCW Confirms Syria Govt.’s Claim on Chemical Weapons
Tue Jan 5, 2016 11:50:44

The international chemical weapons watchdog says it has found traces of the sarin gas which the Syrian government says has been used by militants.

The announcement follows an investigation carried out by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at the request of Damascus.

The results published in a monthly report on Syria said the mission had found indications that some people in the country had been exposed to chemical weapons.

“In one instance, analysis of some blood samples indicates that individuals were at some point exposed to sarin (a deadly type of gas used in chemical weapons) or a sarin-like substance,” said Ahmet Uzumcu, the head of the OPCW.

Uzumcu, however, said further investigation would be necessary to determine when or under what circumstances such exposure might have occurred.

The Syrian government has said the militants have deployed chemical weapons in 11 instances.

Damascus surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons to a joint mission led by the UN and the OPCW following an attack outside the Syrian capital two years ago.

The country continues to stay alert to chemical attacks which the government blames on foreign-backed militants, wreaking havoc since 2011.

Last month, the country’s official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that government troops had seized chemical attack equipment from a militant field hospital in the western port city of Latakia.

The equipment discovered at the facility in the city’s northern suburbs was of the type required to operate chemical weapons, SANA said.

It cited a field commander as saying that the nature of the equipment suggested militants had been planning to carry out chemical or biological attacks and blame the government.

Also last month, Ahmed al-Gaddafi al-Qahsi, former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s cousin, said the chemical weapons used in Ghouta some two years ago had been stolen from Libya and later smuggled into Syria via Turkey by militants, Press TV reported.

S/SH

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