Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad reaches for T-Mobile

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Air Algerie investigation continues

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Dozens of youths trampled to death on Conakry beach

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll tops 700

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

UNRWA official breaks down over Gaza deaths

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults - Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Renault's women drivers ad deemed sexist

Read more

FOCUS

Constitution prohibits Aung San Suu Kyi to run for president

Read more

  • Israel and Hamas 72-hour ceasefire begins

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Dozens killed and injured in Taiwan gas blast

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over spread of Ebola

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

Middle east

Watchdog to probe Syria chlorine attack claims

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-29

The world's chemical weapons watchdog is to launch an investigation into the alleged use of chlorine gas in a recent attack on a rebel bastion in Syria, the organisation said Tuesday.

The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Ahmet Uzumcu, announced "the creation of an OPCW mission to establish facts surrounding allegations of use of chlorine in Syria", a statement said.

He told a meeting of the body's executive council at its headquarters in The Hague that the mission would leave soon.

"The Syrian government, which has agreed to accept this mission, has undertaken to provide security in areas under its control," the statement said.

"The mission will carry out its work in the most challenging circumstances."

The new probe comes after France and the United States alleged that President Bashar al-Assad's forces may have unleashed industrial chemicals on the rebel-held village of Kafr Zita in central Hama province this month.

France made the first claim last week with President François Hollande saying his country had "information" that Assad's regime was still using chemical weapons, despite a disarmament deal agreed last August in the wake of deadly sarin nerve agent attacks outside Damascus.

The United States has said it is investigating the allegations.

"We have indications of the use of a toxic industrial chemical, probably chlorine, in Syria this month, in the opposition-dominated village of Kafr Zita," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on April 21.

Conflicting accounts

There have been conflicting accounts of the alleged chlorine attack on Kafr Zita, with the government and the opposition trading blame.

Activists have also reported other chlorine gas attacks, most recently in Idlib province, in the northwest, last week.

Syria has handed over or destroyed all but around eight percent of its chemical material under the terms of the US- and Russian-brokered disarmament deal, which averted the threat of US military action last year.

It was supposed to have handed over all of its stockpile by Sunday, but the remainder is still being held at one site in the war-torn nation.

Syria was not required to declare its stockpile of chlorine - a toxic but weak agent - as part of the disarmament deal as it is widely used for commercial and domestic purposes.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Syria’s bloody conflict continues to rise, with reports Tuesday of separate attacks in the cities of Damascus and Homs in which dozens were killed.

A mortar attack on a mainly Shiite district of central Damascus killed at least 14, the state news agency SANA reported.

A religious school was one of the buildings hit in the attack, said SANA.

Shortly after, at least 37 people were killed when two car bombs exploded in a government-held district of the central city of Homs, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-04-29

  • SYRIA

    Dozens killed in Homs, Damascus attacks

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria misses self-imposed deadline for destroying chemical weapons

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    US probes new claims of chemical weapons use in Syria

    Read more

COMMENT(S)