Chlorine was likely used in a chemical attack in Syria’s Douma last April, the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a new report released on March 1.
“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 April 7, 2018. This toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine. The toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine,” the OPCW’s report reads.
The international organization said the FFM conducted a number of on-site visits and analyzed a range of inputs including witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical samples analysis results, toxicological and ballistic analyses, and additional digital information from witnesses.
The tunnel that had appeared in videos and photographs released by Syrian opposition activists was among the sites visited by the FFM. The videos and photos showed bodies of victims of the alleged chemical attack.
The visit debunked the earlier’ claims of anti-government sources as no bodies were found in the tunnel by the FFM. Furthermore, the samples collected from the tunnel showed no trace of toxic chemicals.
“Samples for analysis were collected in the tunnel following the sampling plan, but no chemicals relevant to the allegation were found,” the FFM said in its report.
The OPCW also stressed that its team found no traces of any designated chemical weapon agent during its investigation in Douma.
“[We] did not observe any major key precursors for the synthesis of chemical weapons agents, particularly for nerve agents such as sarin, or vesicants such as sulphur or nitrogen mustard,” the report reads.
U.S. officials had expressed confidence that both chlorine and sarin gas were used in Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma. The claims regarding the Sarin are now confirmed to be northing but lies.
“While the available information is much greater on the chlorine use, we do have significant information that also points to sarin use,” the CNN quoted a senior administration official on April 14 of 2018.
The U.S., France and the UK used the alleged chemical attack as a pretext to launch a missile strike on several military bases and research facilities in Syria. Back then, the mainstream media jumped to support the strike and accused the Damascus government of using chemical weapons.
The OPCW refrained from identifying the party responsible for the incident, despite earlier being granted such powers. However, its report noted that the FFM found a gas cylinder similar to the one used in the attack in an abounded warehouse of the militants who once controlled Douma.
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