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Syria asked to probe chlorine gas use

Posted on Apr 27 2014 | IANS

Damascas, April 27 : The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) urged the Syrian government to form a fact-finding mission to look into the allegations of chlorine gas use in rebel-held areas, an official said Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Syrian government and militant groups traded accusations regarding an alleged chlorine gas attack on the rebel-held area of Kafr Zaita in the central province of Hama, Sigrid Kaag, OPCW-UN joint mission's special coordinator, said.

Two people were killed and 100 others suffered suffocation in that incident, Xinhua reported.

The opposition activists accused the Syrian government troops of using the poisonous chlorine gas on many rebel-held areas, a claim that was totally dismissed by the government.

French President Francois Hollande also said recently that Syrian government forces used chlorine gas in a series of attacks in Syria, though he acknowledged that he had no clear proof that chlorine weapons were used.

The UN Security Council called for an investigation into the allegations last Wednesday, as the council members expressed "grave concern" over such claims.

Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denied the accusations by the rebels and their Western backers as "absolutely baseless."

Such accusations have come at a time when the Syrian government is delivering on its pledges to remove its chemical weapons, and the country is bracing for presidential elections slated for June 3, he said.

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