Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chlorine gas likely used in attacks in Syria this year, international weapons inspectors say

By Anne Gearan, WashPost, June 18 at 4:14 PM

International weapons inspectors have issued preliminary findings that chlorine gas was used in a “systematic manner” in Syria this year, long after the government of President Bashar al-Assad had pledged to give up other toxic weapons such as sarin.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission said this week that evidence “lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used.”

The OPCW investigation followed French and U.S. allegations that Assad’s forces may have used industrial chemicals against rebel-held areas this spring.

The agency also said that a deadline to remove Assad’s declared stockpile of chemical weapons from Syrian soil is unlikely to be met. International inspectors have removed about 92 percent of the declared material, including sarin, but have not been able to get the necessary cooperation and clearances to extract the final 8 percent.

(More here.)

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