Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

OPCW finds "likely use of chlorine as chemical weapon" in Saraqib, Syria

EPA-EFE  Bart Maat EPA-EFE Bart Maat
Sammy Stanley | 16 May, 2018, 23:24

The Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has confirmed that chlorine gas was dropped on a rebel-held town in Syria in February.

In a statement released Wednesday, the global chemical weapons watchdog said it determined chlorine was "released from cylinders by mechanical impact" on neighborhoods in Saraqib during the February 4 attack.

The team's conclusions were based on finding two cylinders "which were determined as previously containing chlorine".

To the OPCW, added that the mandate of MOFS is to establish the facts of use of chemical weapons or toxic chemicals and is not meant to establish responsibility for the alleged attack.

A suspected chemical attack on April 7 in the Douma enclave near Damascus prompted missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain against alleged chemical weapons facilities in Syria.

It has not issued a report on that attack yet.

Overwatch now has 40 million 'players'
As far as more new content goes, players can check out a new batch of Anniversary skins, including eight new Legendary skins. The second Overwatch Anniversary Event will run as from next Tuesday, 22 May 2018, to 12 June 2018 on all platforms.

The use of chemical weapons has become systematic in Syria's seven-year war, but political rifts between Western powers and Russian Federation have hamstrung the United Nations and the OPCW, leaving them unable to act against violations of worldwide law. Western observers said the use of helicopters in the attack suggested Syrian government involvement since the opposition did not have access to helicopters.

The Syrian government denies the allegations.

Following delays, the OPCW was allowed to access the Douma site where it gathered more than 100 environmental samples.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu harshly criticized the chemical attack. Such attacks are illegal according to the Chemical Weapons Convention, he noted.

The move averted threatened USA air strikes by the previous USA administration after about 1,000 people died in an August 2013 sarin gas attack. The chemical weapons agency has not named anyone but activists accuse the Syrian regime, saying its forces targeted the rebel-held area. It now brings together 33 states and organizations which, through their membership, have expressed their rejection of impunity for those who develop and use chemical weapons.

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