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OPCW confirms chlorine use in February attack in Syria

AFP  |  The Hague 

A global arms watchdog on Wednesday confirmed that was "likely used as a chemical weapon" in a February attack on the Syrian town of

A fact-finding mission by the determined that "was released from cylinders by mechanical impact in the Al Talil neighbourhood of Saraqeb" on February 4, an OPCW statement said.

The team's conclusions were based on finding two cylinders "which were determined as previously containing " Environmental samples also "demonstrated the unusual presence of chlorine in the local environment," said the organisation, based in However, in line with its mandate the watchdog did not say which side in seven-year civil war was responsible for using chlorine.

Eleven people had to be treated for breathing difficulties on February 4 after raids on the town of Saraqeb, the Britain-based for Human Rights said at the time.

Mohammad Ghaleb Tannari, a doctor in a nearby town in province, also told AFP at the time that his hospital had treated 11 people.

"All the cases we received had symptoms consistent with inhaling the toxic chlorine gas, including exhaustion, difficulty breathing, and coughing," he said.

The OPCW said its team had interviewed witnesses, and found that a "number of patients at medical facilities shortly after the incident showed signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to chlorine." "I strongly condemn the use of as weapons by anyone, for any reason, and in any circumstances," said OPCW

"Such acts contradict the unequivocal prohibition against " An OPCW fact-finding team is also currently awaiting the results of its difficult mission to the Syrian town of Douma, after medics and rescuers said 40 people died in a chlorine and sarin attack on April 7.

The team exhumed bodies as well as gathering over 100 environmental samples which are being analysed in different OPCW-designated labs.

and have accused Syrian volunteer rescue workers of staging the April 7 video footage at the behest of the and its allies.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 15:25 IST