Last Update 20:6
Saturday, 20 April 2019

Chemical weapons agency to investigate alleged Aleppo attack

Reuters , Tuesday 27 Nov 2018
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1409
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1409

The global chemical weapons agency will investigate an alleged gas attack in Syria's Aleppo on Saturday that reportedly wounded up to 100 people, the head of the agency said on Monday.

The Syrian government, which accused rebels of firing chlorine, asked the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to the city, Fernando Arias, the OPCW's new head, said.

Arias said the OPCW had asked the United Nations department of security to say whether it was safe to deploy a team to Aleppo, where government forces two years ago ousted rebels from the last pocket of territory that they controlled.

U.N. war crimes investigators, who have a standing mandate to examine all human rights violations committed in Syria, are also collecting information and asking sources for any evidence, a U.N. official in Geneva said.

"Once they have something concrete and credible that meets their standard of proof, they will be able to report publicly," he said. The panel has attributed 33 documented chemical attacks to the government since 2013, while the perpetrators of six others have not been sufficiently identified.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the WHO had "received unconfirmed reports of patients arriving in health facilities in Aleppo with symptoms that may be consistent with exposure to chemical agents".

Under new powers granted in June, the OPCW will be able not only to determine whether a chemical weapons attack occurred but also to assign blame. That responsibility had fallen to a joint U.N.-OPCW mission until Russia blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution to extend its mandate a year ago.

Past investigations by the joint mission found that Syrian government forces had used chlorine and sarin several times in the civil war, while the radical Islamist militant group Islamic State was found to have used sulphur mustard gas once. Other rebel groups have not been found in formal reports to have used banned toxic munitions.

A health official in Aleppo said victims had suffered breathing difficulties, eye inflammation and other symptoms that suggested the use of chlorine gas.

Chlorine is a widely available industrial chemical, but its use as a weapon is banned internationally. Investigators concluded in previous reports that Syrian government forces had used helicopters to drop barrel bombs full of chlorine onto rebel-held areas.

Reports of the Aleppo attack overshadowed meetings at the OPCW in The Hague, where 193 member countries gathered to discuss the agency's future.

On the same day that a ceremony was held to honour victims of such banned weapons, major powers swapped allegations about who was to blame for the resurgence in their use in Syria.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.