Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Media accused of pro-protester bias in Ferguson

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Reporter’s IS captors taunted family, asked for €100m ransom

    Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    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)