The Hague: The fact-finding mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) claimed Wednesday that it has found compelling evidence that a toxic chemical was used "systematically and repeatedly" as a weapon in villages in northern Syria earlier this year.
The fact-finding mission (FFM) was established in late April this year to investigate chlorine attacks in Syria. In its first report published June 17, the FFM said that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in the Syrian conflict.
In its second report published Wednesday the FFM stated that "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 FFM to conclude with a high degree of confidence that chlorine, either pure or in mixture, is the toxic chemical in question", Xinhua reported.
The report also noted that chlorine was used in attacks on the villages of Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zeta, all located in northern Syria. In May this year, the FFM inspectors came under attack, which prevented the team from visiting Kafr Zeta. The FFM then decided to carry out witness interviews in a safe location outside of Syria.
According to the OPCW, there was a decrease in reported chlorine attacks in the months of May, June and July, but there was a spate of new allegations in August. OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu asked the FFM to continue its work.