THE HAGUE, Netherlands - A toxic chemical, almost certainly chlorine, was used "systematically and repeatedly" as a weapon in attacks on villages in northern Syria earlier this year, the global chemical weapons watchdog said Wednesday. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said that a report by a fact-finding mission it sent to Syria based its conclusion on dozens of interviews with victims, physicians, eye-witnesses and others. The report does not apportion blame for the chlorine attacks on three villages in northern Syria, OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan said.
The report was not immediately published in full. Chlorine is a toxic industrial gas that is not specifically classified as a chemical weapon. The attacks earlier this year came as Damascus and the OPCW were involved in a complex mission to remove Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons and precursor chemicals from the country. The OPCW said the fact finding mission would continue its work as there was "a spate of new allegations" of chlorine attacks in Syria in August.
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