Chlorine gas "was likely used as a chemical weapon" in an attack in the northern Syrian town of Saraqeb in February, the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Wednesday. "Such acts contradict the unequivocal prohibition against chemical weapons enshrined in the Chemical Weapons Convention".
The OPCW said its Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) has "confirmed that chlorine was likely used as a chemical weapon on February 4, 2018 in Saraqib, Idlib Governorate, Syrian Arab Republic".
The OPCW does not have the power to attribute responsibility for attacks, and the United Nations body that did have the power to attribute blame has been closed after Russian Federation used its veto to block the renewal of its mandate.
OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said: "I strongly condemn the use of toxic chemicals as weapons by anyone, for any reason, and in any circumstances".
On this incident, MOFS prepared a report which was circulated on Tuesday among the States parties to the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons.
Samples taken from the soil, canisters and impact sites tested positive for other chemicals, bearing the "markers of the Syrian regime", said Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a biological and chemical weapons expert working in Syria.
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Poison gas was released from cylinders and used as chemical weapons.
The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria; it does not include identifying who is responsible for alleged attacks. She then noted that this is the sixth such case in the last 30 days. Nauert did not provide any other details of the incident and pinned the blame for it on the Syrian government without any evidence.
OPCW inspectors collecting samples in Douma, the scene of the chemical attack.
The OPCW is also investigating a suspected chemical attack on April 7 in the Douma enclave near Damascus, which prompted missile strikes by the United States, France and Britain.
The regime had agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2014, following global outrage over a sarin gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in August 2013 that killed hundreds in the worst attack of its kind for a quarter of a century.