Chemical weapons agency finds ‘chlorinated’ chemicals in Syria’s Douma

In this April 16, 2018 file photo, a Syrian youth places breads inside his jacket as authorities distributed bread, vegetables and pasta to Douma residents, in the town of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack, near Damascus, Syria. (AP)
Updated 07 July 2018

Chemical weapons agency finds ‘chlorinated’ chemicals in Syria’s Douma

  • Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites
  • The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons during the country’s long civil war but the previous joint inquiry of the United Nations

THE HAGUE: A preliminary report by the world’s chemical weapons watchdog said “various chlorinated chemicals” were found at the site of an attack in Douma, Syria, in April that killed dozens of civilians and prompted air strikes by Britain, France and the United States, it said on Friday.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) sent a fact-finding mission to Douma in mid-April, roughly a week after the April 7 attack in the enclave near Damascus.
“Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites,” it said, indicating that chlorine may have been used as a weapon.
The OPCW said that its team was continuing its work to establish the significance of the results.
“The organization should move quickly to finish its investigation and determine whether a chemical weapon attack occurred” in Douma, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“In the meantime it should apply its new authority to determine responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” it said.
Last week, the OPCW’s member states voted to give the agency new powers to assign blame for attacks. That role had been carried out in Syria by a joint OPCW-United Nation mission, but a renewal of its mandate was vetoed by Russia in November.
The OPCW has documented systematic use of banned munitions in Syria’s civil war, including nerve agent sarin and sulfur mustard gas. It has not assigned blame for the attacks.
In Douma, OPCW inspectors visited two sites where they interviewed witnesses and took samples, which were split at their laboratory in the Netherlands and forwarded to affiliated national labs for testing.
Two samples recovered from gas cylinders at the scene tested positive for chlorinated organic chemicals, the report said.
Washington and other Western governments blamed Syrian government forces for the attack in Douma.
The Syrian government denies using chemical weapons during the country’s long civil war but the previous joint inquiry of the United Nations and the OPCW found the Syrian government used the nerve agent sarin in an April 2017 attack and has also several times used chlorine as a weapon. It blamed Daesh militants for mustard gas use.


Turkey says ready to send troops to back Libya unity govt

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Turkey says ready to send troops to back Libya unity govt

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday he was ready to send troops to Libya if requested by the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.
"On the issue of sending soldiers... If Libya makes such a request from us, we can send our personnel there, especially after striking the military security agreement," he said in a televised appearance, referring to a deal signed last month with Libya's Government of National Accord, led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.