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    Barrels with chlorine

    Islamic State Suspected of Using Syrian Toxic Gas: Russian Foreign Ministry

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    Damascus warned the OPCW on December 15 that Islamic State had seized several industrial objects in Syria where chlorine-containing substances were stored.

    MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik) — Data submitted to the global chemical weapons watchdog by the Damascus government provides serious grounds to suspect the radical Islamic State group of using chlorine in terrorist attacks, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

    According to the ministry's statement, Damascus warned the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on December 15 that armed groups had seized several industrial objects in Syria where chlorine-containing substances were stored.

    "So, there are serious grounds to suspect members of the armed Syrian opposition, first of all the so-called Islamic State, of the use of those toxic chemicals for terrorism purposes," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

    The ministry welcomed the move by Syrian authorities stating that by informing the OPCW Damascus "reaffirmed its commitment for close cooperation with international community across the full range of issues dealing with Syria's fulfillment of its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention." Moscow expressed hope that the OPCW would take the information provided by Syria into account.

    Syria has been engulfed in a bloody internal conflict since March 2011 with the Syrian Army fighting various insurgent groups, including the Islamic State jihadists.

    In August 2013, an unprecedented chemical attack killed almost 1,500 civilians in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Both insurgents and the Syrian authorities blamed each other for the attack. However via Russia's mediation Syria agreed to get rid of its toxic arsenal.

    In October, the UN Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said that 97.8 percent of chemicals removed from Syria earlier this year had been destroyed.


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