Interim OPCW report finds chlorine used in Syria's Douma-document

The report said chlorine traces were found in two of four investigated locations

The global chemical weapons watchdog says in an interim report on the suspected chemical attack in Syria's Douma last April that "various chlorinated organic chemicals" were found at the site.

"The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected either in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples from the alleged casualties", the OPCW said.

But it added that the fact-finding mission also found "along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals". These results are reported in Annex 3.

"Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is ongoing", the OPCW added.

The fact-finding team was still working on the "provenance" of the cylinders which will require a "comprehensive analysis" by experts, the OPCW said.

The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons during the country's long civil war, but a previous joint inquiry of the United Nations and the OPCW found that the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in an April 2017 attack, and also used chlorine several times.

The OPCW's fact-finding mission was launched amid worldwide outrage over images of adults and children appearing to be suffering from the effects of a toxic weapon attack.

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The gruesome footage from the attack horrified the world and prompted unprecedented Western strikes on Syrian regime installations.

The purported chemical incident in Douma allegedly took place on April 7.

The FFM also issued a report on July 2, 2018, addressing allegations of chemical weapons use in Al-Hamadaniya, Syria on October 30, 2016, and Karm al-Tarrab, Syria on November 13, 2016.

Daraa is seen as the cradle of the uprising that sparked Syria's seven-year war, and the government retaking full control of it would be a symbolic victory for President Bashar Al-Assad.

The two locations where no traces were found, a warehouse and a facility, were suspected of being used for the production of chemical weapons. The West said that the Syrian forces carried out this attack with chemical weapons and launched a retaliatory attack a week later.

It said the two incidents had happened in neighbourhood of Al-Hamadaniyah, on Oct 30, 2016 and in the area of Karm al-Tarrab, a few weeks later on Nov 13, 2016.

The US strongly condemned the chemical attack, and said that Russian Federation, given its continued support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, must be held responsible for what happened.

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