Foreign Ministry calls on OPCW to investigate the use of toxic gasses by terrorists in Aleppo

Damascus, SANA – The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry on Tuesday sent two identical letters to the UN Secretary-General and the head of the Security Council on the crimes committed by armed terrorist groups using toxic gasses including chlorine gas in several areas in Aleppo city, demanding that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) send experts to investigate these crimes.

In the letters, the Ministry said that it has become evident to the Syrian government that the UN and the OPCW pay no attention when terrorist groups use chemical weapons against the Syrian people, and at the same time they cause a ruckus when it comes to baseless allegations accusing the Syrian government of such things.

The Ministry said that terrorist organizations like Jabhat al-Nusra and groups affiliated to them – groups which some states label as “moderate opposition” – committed crimes using toxic gasses including chlorine has in several areas in Aleppo, with the Syrian government announcing on November 13th, 2016 that terrorists in eastern Aleppo fired mortar shells containing chlorine on al-Nairab area, causing scores of injures, including cases of asphyxiation among 30 military personnel, in addition to injuring innocent civilians, including women and children.

The letters asserted that terrorists fired shells containing toxic gasses on residential neighborhoods in Aleppo more than once, including on October 31st when they targeted al-Hamadaniye neighborhood and al-Assad suburb with toxic gases, causing 48 cases of asphyxiation, while on November 3rd terrorists targeted with toxic gases including chlorine the area of Manian west of Aleppo, causing 8 cases of asphyxiation.

The Ministry noted that all the people injured in these attacks were rushed to hospitals in Aleppo for treatment, where the doctors said that these victims inhaled toxic materials that include chlorine gas.

The letters noted that the Russian authorities said on Friday that they have verified with incontrovertible proof via tests at the specialized and OPCW-recognized labs that the shells fired by armed groups contained toxic gases, including chlorine.

The Ministry said that the Syrian Arab Republic condemns the use of chemical weapons by any side at any place and any time, noting that the toxic gases used by terrorists from ISIS, al-Nusra, and other terror organizations in Syria and Iraq and which may be used in other places in the world are provided to these terrorists by certain regimes and governments including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, something which Syria informed the UN and the OPCW of in several documents.

The letters concluding by reiterating Syria’s demand that the OPCW, as the international organization concerned with this issue, send its experts to Syria to investigate the cases in which terrorists used toxic gasses as per the OPCW’s obligations according to its charter and in compliance with transparency and integrity in investigation, stressing that this issue mustn’t be politicized because hiding or falsifying facts and adopting resolutions under threats and extortion will not protect humanity from the use of WMDs by terrorists.

Hazem Sabbagh

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