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Syria: Fresh analysis findings confirm use of sarin gas in Khan Sheikhoun’s attack

Civilians receive treatment after Assad Regime forces carried out a chemical attack in Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017. ( Bahjat Najar - Anadolu Agency )
Civilians receive treatment after Assad Regime forces carried out a chemical attack in Idlib, Syria on April 4, 2017 [Bahjat Najar/Anadolu Agency]

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has revealed that either sarin gas or a similar substance was used in the attack that killed around 90 persons in Syria’s Idlib on 4th April.

“The bio-medical samples collected from three victims during their autopsy were analysed at two OPCW designated laboratories. The results of the analysis indicate that the victims were exposed to sarin or a sarin-like substance,” OPCW stated in a press release issued on Wednesday.

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The findings were reached by an OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, which was formed on 5th April to examine preliminary assessments about the use of chemical weapons in an attack on the Khan Sheikhoun area in southern Idlib.

The results of the analysis reached by the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission concur with those of other analyses conducted in Turkish and British laboratories.


“The results of these analyses from four OPCW designated laboratories indicate exposure to Sarin or a Sarin like substance. While further details of the laboratory analyses will follow, the analytical results already obtained are incontrovertible,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü said on Wednesday, addressing the organisation’s executive council, which was held at The Hague, Netherlands.

On 5th April, the World Health Organisation also announced in a statement that the victims of the Khan Sheikhoun attack had symptoms that are likely to have resulted from a chemical attack.

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“The likelihood of exposure to a chemical attack is amplified by an apparent lack of external injuries reported in cases showing a rapid onset of similar symptoms, including acute respiratory distress as the main cause of death,” WHO said in its statement on 5th April. “Some cases appear to show additional signs consistent with exposure to organophosphorus chemicals, a category of chemicals that includes nerve agents,” the organization added.

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