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Syrian regime elite unit dumped chlorine on rebel-held town in 2019 attack


DELIL SOULEIMAN / AFP via Getty Images

A report by a chemical weapons watchdog concluded that a helicopter controlled by the elite Syrian military unit “Tiger Forces” dropped a bottle of chlorine on the rebel-held town of Saraqib. in February 2018.

There are reasonable grounds to believe that at approximately 9:22 p.m. on February 4, 2018, during the ongoing attacks on Saraqib, a Syrian Arab Air Force military helicopter under the control of the Tiger Forces struck the is from Saraqib by dropping at least one cylinder. », Indicates the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. “The bottle ruptured and released a toxic gas, chlorine, which dispersed over a large area, affecting 12 named people.

The dozen people exposed to the chemical suffered from skin irritation, chest pain and nausea, the report noted.

Criminal complaint filed against Assad and his henchmen in Germany for chemical weapons attacks

Witnesses told the OPCW that on the day of the attack, “they heard the sound of a helicopter between 9:15 pm and 9:22 pm, and one or two objects falling and touching the ground.” A person who had stayed in a nearby shelter “said he went to see what had happened and started to feel sick as he approached the area in the direction of the sound source.” Video evidence obtained by the OPCW confirmed the testimony.

Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the Assad regime has categorically denied ever having used chemical weapons in the conflict.

The OPCW report was based on interviews with the victims and medical staff who responded to the incident, samples from the scene examined by toxicologists, and satellite images obtained by the team who identified several “Points of impact”.

In response to the investigation, the Syrian authorities alleged that White Helmet rescuers had worked with jihadist groups to “stage” the incident in order to “lay charges against the Syrian Arab Army”. The watchdog group found no evidence to support this claim.

Syria’s infamous Tiger Forces is a pro-government, Russian-backed, intelligence-led air militia “widely regarded as the most powerful and brutal of the four branches of intelligence,” according to the Middle East Institute. The unit’s founder has been accused of ordering the murder of hundreds of protesters at the start of the decade-long conflict in Syria.

Monday’s report is the OPCW’s second investigation into the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war. The former confirmed the use of a sarin nerve agent and chlorine against civilians in a March 2017 attack on the town of Ltamenah, killing three people and injuring 32, who suffered from vomiting, breathing difficulties and foam in the mouth.

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