OPCW: Syrian Regime used chlorine gas during attack on Saraqeb city

THE HAGUE — The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in a statement that it has concluded that units of the Syrian regime’s air force had used chemical weapons in Saraqeb, Idlib, on 4 February 2018.

The OPCW explained that the barrel bomb dropped by a Syrian regime helicopter exploded and spread chlorine gas over a wide area and injured 12 people, noting that its investigators questioned 30 witnesses, analyzed samples taken from the attack site, examined symptoms of the victims and medical staff, and analyzed satellite images.

OPCW investigators also noted that the orders issued to launch the attack on Saraqeb in 2018 came from senior officials, and there was no indication that independent actors had conducted the attack.

Although no specific leadership hierarchy had been revealed, regime forces appeared to have made decisions about the use of chlorine at the command level, said the OPCW.

The organization published its first report on chemical weapon usage in Syria a year ago. That report covered the use of sarin and chlorine gas by the Syrian regime in 2017 in the northern Syrian town of Latamneh.