Chlorine suspected in February chemical attack on civilians in Syria

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But the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) did not, in line with its mandate, say who was responsible for using the banned gas on February 4. Moscow has also become increasingly critical of the OPCW's neutrality and working methods, especially after its experts found that a military-grade nerve agent had been deployed in the Salisbury attack on Russian former double-agent Sergei Skripal.

About 11 people were treated after the attack on February 4 for mild and moderate symptoms of toxic chemical exposure, including breathing difficulties, vomiting and unconsciousness, the OPCW said in a report on its findings. Damascus denied the White House's charges.

Ahmet Uzumcu, OPCW director-general, harshly criticised the chemical attack.

The OPCW added that "the FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria".

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"Such acts contradict the unequivocal prohibition against chemical weapons".

The group said it came to its conclusion based on the presence of two cylinders at the site, which were determined to previously contain chlorine, along with witness testimony and environmental samples that demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine. It targeted civilians in the Saraqeb in Idlib province, which has been under rebel control since 2012.

Outcomes are additionally awaited from a tough mission by an OPCW fact-finding workforce to the Syrian city of Douma, after medics and rescuers stated 40 folks died in a chlorine and sarin assault on April 7. The French government is due to hold a ministerial-level conference in Paris on Friday to build an alliance of countries determined to reconstruct an accountability mechanism for chemical weapons use, if necessary outside the confines of the UN. The organization has not yet issued a report on that attack.

The Douma assault triggered a wave of punitive missile strikes in opposition to alleged chemical weapons services in Syria by the US, Britain and France.

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