Daily Israel Report

Chlorine Gas a Loophole in OPCW Agreement?

Claim: International agreement banned sarin gas, but not chlorine - leading Syria to use the loophole in more attacks.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 4/23/2014, 8:37 AM

UN chemical weapons experts in Syria.
UN chemical weapons experts in Syria.
Reuters

The Assad regime in Syria faces renewed scrutiny Wednesday, after multiple reports have surfaced alleging another chemical attack on the Syrian people. 

On Tuesday, opposition groups cried foul after evidence surfaced that a new attack had been waged in the town of Talmenes in Idlib Province, not far from Aleppo. Over 100 people were said to have been killed in the attack - this time, by chlorine gas. 

The international operation to destroy Syria’s stockpile of deadly chemicals is a joint Russian-U.S. plan that was endorsed by the UN Security Council in September. 

The resolution was a last-minute measure to prevent an American strike on Syria in retaliation for the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons in an attack on a Damascus suburb in August that left hundreds dead.

However, the August attack - as well as the agreement to destroy Syria's arsenal - included sarin gas, not chlorine, according to Al-Arabiya. The revelation, while yet unconfirmed, has led some countries to consider applying to the UN for an official investigation into the full extent of chemical weapons use in Syria. 

Reports Pile In

The reports are the latest in several claims that chemical weapons attacks in Syria have continued despite the operation to remove them by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 

Last week, rights groups claimed that the Syrian government dropped "explosive barrels that produced thick smoke and odors and led to cases of suffocation and poisoning" on the village of Kafr Zita. Damascus blamed the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front for the attack, which allegedly killed two people. 

Earlier this month, Israeli officials also claimed that another chemical attack had been launched in Syria - this time, in Damascus's eastern Harasta neighborhood.  

In February, opposition groups claimed the government had killed at least a dozen people with chemical weapons in the town of Deraya.

One month earlier, a group of activists and refugees went to the White House over claims of another gas attack in Damascus; the US has not acted on the charges. 

The Noose Tightens 

The US has officially opened an investigation into claims of more chemical attacks in Syria, it was announced last week, after multiple reports and video evidence began to show a distinct trend. 

Meanwhile, Syria has come under fire from the international community, after the OPCW noticed discrepancies between Syria's listed arsenal and facts on the ground.

While Syria consented to submit a "more specific list" to the watchdog group on Thursday, some analysts now claim that the "forgotten" chemicals could be the culprit for recent chemical attacks.