Syria ‘completely rejects’ watchdog report on 2018 chemical attack | Syrian war news

The OPCW report indicated that at least one Syrian Air Force helicopter dropped poison gas on the rebel-held town of Douma.

Syria has rejected a report by the global chemical weapons watchdog that blamed Damascus for a 2018 poison gas attack that killed 43 people, calling it “false”.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that a report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) alleging that the Syrian government was responsible for the chlorine attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma has no evidence.

“Syria completely rejects the report,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.

“The report lacks scientific evidence”, it states, condemning the “false conclusions”.

In the OPCW report, investigators said there are “reasonable grounds to believe” that at least one Syrian air force helicopter dropped two cylinders of poison gas on the rebel-held town of Douma.

The use of chlorine in weapons is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention and international humanitarian law.

Damascus and its ally Moscow said the April 7, 2018 attack was staged by rescuers at the behest of the United States, which subsequently launched airstrikes on Syria along with the United Kingdom and France.

The OPCW rejected claims that rebels and emergency workers organized the attack.

His team “thoroughly followed the lines of inquiry and scenarios proposed by the Syrian authorities and other foreign countries, but failed to obtain any concrete information to support them.”

Emergency workers said at the time that they treated people who were suffering from breathing problems, foaming at the mouth and other symptoms.

Survivors and activists described to Al Jazeera in 2018 how they struggled to breathe and continued to suffer the effects of the attack.

The Douma case sparked controversy after two former employees leaked it and accused the Hague-based watchdog of changing its original findings to make them sound more convincing.

But the OPCW said its investigators “considered a number of possible scenarios” and concluded that “the Syrian Arab Air Force was the perpetrator of this attack.”

Damascus has denied using chemical weapons and insists it has surrendered its stockpile under a 2013 deal, prompted by an alleged sarin gas attack that killed 1,400 people in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

Syria’s voting rights at the OPCW were suspended in 2021 due to its refusal to cooperate after it was accused of multiple chemical attacks.

Nearly half a million people have been killed in the conflict in Syria that began in 2011 and displaced about half of the country’s pre-war population.

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