There is “compelling evidence” that chlorine gas was used “systematically and repeatedly” in the villages of northern Syria earlier this year, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said yesterday.
“The descriptions, physical properties, behaviour of the gas, and signs and symptoms resulting from exposure, as well as the response of patients to the treatment, leads the mission to conclude with a high degree of confidence that chlorine, either pure or in mixture, is the toxic chemical in question,” the organisation said in a statement.
The group, based in The Hague, the Netherlands, said that the fact-finding mission’s report proved that chlorine was used in Talmanes, Al-Tamana – in the Idlib province – and Kafr Zeita – in the Hama governant.
The fact-finding team went to Kafr Zeita in May to investigate the reports and gather evidence in the wake of the alleged use of chemical weapons there, but soon withdrew, after the convoy of its inspectors was attacked, forcing the mission to conduct interviews with witnesses in an unspecified safe place outside of Syria.
According to the OPCW statement, the report establishes the main findings of its investigations through dozens of interviews with victims, doctors and witnesses, in addition to the documents, including video recordings, medical records and other evidence which has been collected since the publication of the first report that was released in June.
The report notes that after the establishment of the fact-finding mission in late April, there was a significant decrease in the alleged attacks with chlorine gas, which was reported last May, June and July, indicating that a series of new allegations were issued last August.
The OPCW did not accuse any specific party of using toxic chlorine gas.