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Report: OPCW Watchdog Attributes 2015 Syria Chemical Attack To ISIS

Above photo: Anas Al-Dyab/Agence France-Presse.

The report shows ISIS units deployed sulphur mustard gas via their artillery munitions on the town of Marea.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) stated on 22 February that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that ISIS perpetrated chemical weapons attacks on the town of Marea, close to Aleppo, in 2015.

The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) of the watchdog determined that ISIS militants utilized sulphur mustard in attacks across various parts of the town on 1 September 2015.

According to a OPCW report, ISIS units deployed sulphur mustard gas via their artillery munitions on the town of Marea between 9:00 and 12:00 pm. OPCW’s report stated, “The chemical agent was delivered using one or more artillery guns.”

IIT discovered that 11 people who were exposed to a “black, vicious substance” present in projectiles at the attack location exhibited symptoms that aligned with sulphur mustard exposure.

The recent report emerges amid ongoing accusations by the international community that the Syrian government conducted chemical attacks within its borders, allegations that Damascus vehemently denies.

In 2014, Syria relinquished its chemical weapons arsenal to a collaborative effort between the US and the OPCW, which then supervised the dismantling of these weapons.

Damascus asserts that the chemical attack was “staged” to exert pressure on and discredit President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Last August, Syria’s UN representative affirmed that Washington provided chemical weapons to extremist militant groups in the Arab state’s western provinces in addition to training them for false-flag operations.

David Schenker from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) also previously noted that Washington used Al Tanf as a training ground for armed opposition groups in Syria, acting as a strategic asset in the extended discussions on the nation’s future.

According to a Reuters report, in 2018, Syria’s former foreign minister, Walid Muallem, noted that OPCW previously disclosed allegations of the Syrian government using chemical weapons against its civilians were devoid of any evidence.

However, the OPCW retracted its statement following pressure from the US. Several political commentators, including Noam Chomsky, reiterated that the organization had “suppressed” information indicating that the chemical attack by the Syrian government on Douma in 2018 did not occur.

More recently, US journalist Seymour Hersh reported in 2021 that a classified US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) briefing in June 2013 indicated that Al-Nusra Front maintained a sarin production cell and was attempting a large-scale production effort in Syria.

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