Chemical weapons factfinders show up in Syria

The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) visited one of the sites in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic today to collect samples for analysis in connection with allegations of chemical weapons use on 7 April 2018.

The OPCW will evaluate the situation and consider future steps, including another possible visit to Douma.

The United States, France and the United Kingdom responded by launching airstrikes against Syria in after the suspected chemical weapons attack, but an independent German parliamentary report, the Syrian government and its ally Russia have condemned the attack as a violation of international law.

Some Americans have criticized the Trump administration for initiating the airstrike without congressional authorization but few members of either party in Congress have spoken out.

Testing to determine the truth is considered essential, since various parties have disputed the events.

The samples collected will be transported to the OPCW Laboratory in Rijswijk and then dispatched for analysis to the OPCW’s designated labs.

Based on the analysis of the sample results as well other information and materials collected by the team, the FFM will compile their report for submission to the nations that are signed on the Chemical Weapons Convention for their consideration.

Set up in 2014, the on-going mandate of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission is “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

As the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1997 – and with its 192 States Parties – it is the most successful disarmament treaty eliminating an entire class of weapons of mass destruction.

Over 96% of all chemical weapon stockpiles declared by possessor States have been destroyed under OPCW verification. For its extensive efforts in eliminating chemical weapons, the OPCW received the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace.


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